South Pole telescope uses Meyer-manufactured cryostat
Cold Facts (Summer 2006, Vol. 22, No. 3)
Meyer Tool & Mfg., Inc. continues to support the efforts of the astrophysics community with the completion of the Secondary Cryostat for the University of Chicago and the South Pole Telescope (SPT) Project. This complex shaped cryostat, a welded aluminum vessel consisting of upper and lower weldments joined via an o-ringed flanged joint, will provide the vacuum containment for instrumentation cooled to cryogenic temperatures. The complex shape and tolerances of the Secondary Cryostat were taken in stride by Meyer's engineering and manufacturing personnel. Ed Bonnema, Meyer VP of Operations, said, "While we've never quite seen a vessel with the custom intersecting formed conical, cylindrical and spherical shapes, our team of engineers and experienced manufacturing specialists were able to translate the idea into reality. I believe the customer to be very pleased with the end result."
The Secondary Cryostat required close communication between the multiple forming subcontractors and Meyer engineering and manufacturing personnel to ensure that the component parts could be machined by Meyer to allow precise fit up for welding. Critical internal features had to be premachined prior to welding and remain within allowable limits after welding. Critical external features were machined after welding and had to be referenced to locations of the internal features. The angled front mounting plate in the Upper Weldment was 2" thick and required full penetration welds at the apex of the angle between the two plates that comprise it. The weldment was leak tested and certified to 1x10-9 std/cc helium by Meyer's inspection department. Finally, the exterior of the vessels was dry powder coated.