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Central Institute for Engineering, Electronics and Analytics (ZEA)
Engineering and Technology (ZEA-1)

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ZEA-1 – Technology for World-Class Research (certified by TÜV)

Archimedes only needed a bath tub to discover the principle of buoyancy – or so the story goes. Things are not quite that easy for modern scientists. Today, researchers generally need technically sophisticated experimental facilities, expensive laboratory instruments, and complicated measuring techniques. But the necessary components are rarely available "off the peg". Whether pressure chamber, magnetic field sensors, optical waveguides, or durable glass-metal sleeves: researchers often waste time in a fruitless search for such items in laboratory equipment catalogues, especially if size, shape and measuring range, temperature stability, and other properties are predefined by the experimental plan. There is usually only one solution: do it yourself. And this is where the trouble starts for the experimenter.

Foto der Basis des Cooler Synchrotron COSYCOSY, das Protonen Cooler Synchrotron des Forschungszentrums Jülich. Das 184 m lange Stahlrohr- und Vakuumsystem sowie die ca. 220 m langen Extraktionsstrecken wurden von ZEA-1 ingenieurtechnisch entwickelt und gebaut.

After all, it's rare that a physicist, chemist, biologist, or medical scientist has been trained to solder, weld, work glass, calculate complex circuits, lay cables, or plan facilities. Forschungszentrum Jülich realized this many years ago and responded to the problem. The Central Institute for Technology (ZAT) began work on 1 January 1974. Back then, ZAT had some 100 employees. Today, the institute boasts around 180 men and women from a wide range of industrial trades as well as engineers and scientists. Their mission 40 years later remains the same despite the fact that ZAT was reorganized and renamed ZEA-1 (Engineering and Technology) on 1 January 2013, becoming a subinstitute of ZEA Central Institute of Engineering, Electronics and Analytics. ZEA-1 develops, plans, procures, and constructs all equipment, instruments, and processes required by Forschungszentrum Jülich for which there are no technical or commercial solutions. When research from the campus in the middle of Stetternich Forest is commended throughout the world then ZEA-1 is sure to have played a part.

Herstellung einer Verzahnung in technischer Keramik mit Ultraschall-Schwingläppen Herstellung einer Verzahnung in technischer Keramik mit Ultraschall-Schwingläppen

Almost every component and device that leaves ZEA-1 is a prototype in its own way fulfilling a whole range of requirements in a novel manner, whether it be for measuring technology, data processing, fabrication, or safety. Examples include the proton cooler synchrotron COSY, with the magnetic spectrometer “Big Karl” at the Jülich Nuclear Physics Institute (IKP), crystal growing furnaces for solid-state physics, a device for deep-sea sampling, and a skin irritation stimulator for medical research. All new equipment is based on the conceptions, requirements, and ideas of the scientists in the institutes. Depending on the aim of research, the engineers and planners at ZEA-1 develop feasible concepts. The first result is usually a whole pile of technical drawings and documents, on the basis of which ZEA-1 procures all of the necessary components, including software, from commercial companies and specialist suppliers, or – more frequently – it fabricates the parts in its own workshops. ZEA-1 is appropriately equipped and organized for all engineering-related fields. It doesn't matter whether it's a small one-off job – a cooling circuit, for example – or a large-scale project like the TEXTOR nuclear fusion project. Competent teams of engineers, technicians, and skilled craftsmen are willing and able to deal with new challenges.