The maintenance and upgrade work during the Long Shutdown 1 (LS1) of the LHC has brought to light a practical challenge for CERN technicians: cutting a wide range of pipes of stainless steel in conditions of limited accessibility and absence of space around the pipes. Traditional pipe cutting tools are quite large and bulky and are adapted to only a small range of pipe diameters. Facing that challenge, Didier Lombard, Group Technician in EN/MME came up with a creative solution and built a prototype in his spare time: a chain tightened around the pipe, a motorized mill/saw cutting tool and a manual displacement of the tool along the chain around the pipe. This results in a more compact solution, with the additional advantage of more universal use, adapting itself to a wide range of diameters. The KT Fund now supports the industrialization of this concept by funding the further engineering and developments of the machine. With a motorized drive around the pipe, a compact design and improvements in the usability of the machine, this compact cutting machine becomes interesting for companies with similar requirements, such as heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) installations, or companies seeking a universal alternative to having a wide range of cutting equipment of different diameters.
Industrialisation of a compact, universal, orbital pipe cutting equipment
2014 - 2015