The search for fundamental answers about the nature of the universe and its composition is at the epicentre of the ambitious DUNE project. It will focus on the study of neutrinos, elusive particles that may provide answers to many of the mysteries of the universe. When completed, LBNF/DUNE will be the largest experiment ever built to study the properties of neutrinos.
In this context, CERN has entrusted ERREKA to be part of the DUNE (Deep Undergorund Neutrino Experiment) facility, the most important fundamental physics project of the last decade in the USA, which is expected to be operational in 2026.
ERREKA has been selected as the entity responsible for addressing the fastening challenges associated with its junction technology for the neutrino detector structure. The structure must hold 34,000 tn of liquid argon at -184Cº, which is being built deep in the Sanford Lab, located in South Dakota at 1500 m below ground.
This remote detector, designed to be the largest of its kind, will be dedicated to recording neutrino interactions with unprecedented precision. These neutrinos, originated at Fermilab in Illinois and launched 1,300 kilometres to Sanford Lab, will be studied by approximately 1,000 scientists and engineers from 30 countries who will actively participate in this major experiment.
The ERREKA solution involves the management of a total of 90,000 fasteners crucial to the complete build-up of the particle detector structure. ERREKA will closely monitor each of these bolts, some of which will be equipped with the innovative ERREKA Digital Bolt technology. This technology will not only provide direct load measurements, but will also enable continuous monitoring of the bolted joint throughout its service life by means of load inspections.
It is anticipated that the first fastener samples shipped by ERREKA will be available for testing in March, with completion of the order scheduled for October 2024. The execution of the DUNE experiment is scheduled to start in 2026.
For ERREKA, this innovation challenge represents a commitment to diversification and business transformation, and it values the trust placed in us by the scientific community, both from the perspective of the robustness of our products and engineering when it comes to critical applications and from the perspective of reliability in the fulfilment of our commitments.
Arkaitz Etxezarreta, director of ERREKA’s Smart Fastening business, said: “Participating in an experiment that could be a milestone in the history of physics is a challenge and a source of pride for everyone in our cooperative. We are ready, backed by years of innovation and the constant delivery of advanced solutions in various sectors”.
ERREKA is today an asset of our territory, an open, agile, multi-localised innovation platform that promotes the creation of new businesses and the transformation of existing ones, faithful to cooperative principles.
Part of the MONDRAGON Corporation, Erreka currently has a workforce of more than 500 people and a turnover of more than 75 million euros in the last financial year. Erreka has 6 production plants on 3 continents and currently 71.4% of total sales are international.
With its 4 business lines; Plastics, Smart Fastening, Health (Medical + Care) and Connected Access, Erreka has diversified its range of services and products, basing its diversification strategy on open innovation. It is currently immersed in inorganic growth projects, with the aim of investing in companies, initiatives and startups for the future.