New MTD project tests components’ efficiency at speed of light

The accuracy of a West Midlands engineering firm’s components will be tested to the limit after they secured a major contract to supply parts to a facility similar to the Large Hadron Collider.

Midland Tool and Design is producing the components for The Paul Scherrer Institute’s SwissFEL (Free-Electron Laser) facility, which is designed to create intense, short flashes of x-ray light and fire them at extremely high speeds along a 700m tunnel.

Beginning in 2015, the experiments will be similar to those at the Large Hadron Collider, which fire tiny particles at each other at the speed of light in an attempt to recreate the Big Bang and discover exactly how the universe was created.

SwissFEL scientists believe their investigations will eventually enable them to develop better drugs, more efficient energy systems or ultra-fast computers and data storage devices.

MTD has been asked to manufacture large laminations for magnets which will be used to focus and intensify the lasers as they travel through a linear accelerator.

Their MD Darren Booton said: “SwissFEL is a very ambitious project and it’s a coup for us to be involved.

“Our components could help find the answers to some fundamental questions like how we create environmentally-friendly supplies of energy, and how to develop drugs to eradicate infectious diseases.”

Midland Tool and Design was established in 1969 and specialises in supplying precision engineering components to a wide range of companies in aerospace, medical and automotive engineering.

They currently employ 35 people at their headquarters in Tipton, West Midlands.

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