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A photo from inside the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo Credit: CERN)

Case Study: NIU’s Production Punch for the Large Hadron Collider

During the summer of ’21, Emergnt was contacted by Dr. Iman Salehinia, an engineering research professor at the University of Illinois in Dekalb. Dr. Salehinia and his research group was collaborating with CERN in designing the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland

– a piece of particle physics research equipment which happens to be the largest machine in the world. Dr. Salehinia had been working with his grad students on a piece of production equipment for a portion of the Collider- a cavity lined with tens of thousands of photosensitive “tiles”. Prior to being installed and used, the tiles needed to be stored in a specialized “wrapper” for protection. Thus, Dr. Salehinia’s team had designed a custom Production Punch- a piece of machinery used to punch out the wrappers in the required shape.

Since the graduate student who created the CAD files for the device had since graduated from the group, Dr. Salehinia sought the help of the expert CAD designers at Emergnt to modify the CAD models and produce new, up-to-date production drawings for the device’s parts.

While many of our projects involve our design team creating CAD models from scratch, this project presented unique challenges in that we worked with the already-existing CAD files to preserve design history and save the research group money. This comes with its own challenges, as each CAD Designer utilizes the software differently. If a CAD Designer is unfamiliar with or cannot interpret the design history of an assembly, it’s very easy to ruin the files outright while attempting to modify them.

Fortunately, as an experienced professional CAD Designer, I knew to spend time understanding the design history of the files. During this phase, I also spent time discussing the design history with Dr. Salehinia to determine if some features could be adjusted for easier modification in the future. After studying the design history, I was able to easily make the modifications requested by Dr. Salehinia to models.

Once part and assembly changes were finalized, I produced a new set of production drawings for every part in the assembly. These drawings detail the design, specs, and tolerances to the manufacturing responsible for machining and assembling the Production Punch. The drawings, which featured ordinate and dimensions and GD&T, were completed quickly and with few revisions.

Emergnt worked with Dr. Salehinia’s schedule as a college instructor, conducting virtual design reviews at his convenience. We ultimately came in well below our estimate for the project, and Dr. Salehinia expressed his satisfaction in working with us. This project was a great example of how our on-demand team can collaborate with other engineering & research groups on small tasks to more efficiently accomplish larger goals!


A rendering of the production punch from the CAD assembly.