CERN, Geneva - Switzerland
Lowering of CMS detectors

Scope of works performed

Lowering of 15 segments of the CMS detector, weighing between 250 t and 1,920 t. Lowering distance 97 m.


4 lifting/lowering units type SMU 580/550 completed by automatic coilers and a computerized level control unit.


CERN European Center for Nuclear Research



Main Contractor

VSL (Switzerland) Ltd.
Heavy Lifting Department

Project Description

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. The large Hadron Collider (LHC) is a giant scientific instrument, a ring shaped particle accelerator and detector, installed about 100 m underground.

VSL Heavy Lifting was contraced to lower 15 segments of the CMS detector into the cavern by means of a gantry crane equipped with hydraulic strand lowering units. The scope of contract included design, rental, erection, operation and dismantling of the ganrtry crane and of the custom made attachment pieces for the 15 loads, which weighed between 250 t and 1,920 t.
The gantry had 28 m span and 25 m free height. It consisted of a portal frame made up of standard tower segments and 200 t of custom made steel structures. The average speed of lowering was 10m/hour, therefore the lowering of a segment independently of its weight, took about 10 hours.

To our great pleasure VLS Heavy Lifting has been awarded the Crystal Award by CERN CMS Collaboration, on April 24, 2008 - their highest industry award for extraordinary contractor achievements.

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