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Reuter-Stokes Delivers to NIST Despite Challenges of the Pandemic

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Helium-3 Detector 8Pack module

On June 25, 2020, Reuter-Stokes completed and shipped the Helium-3 Detector 8Pack module system valued at $1.2M for installation on the NG-3 Very Small-Angle Scattering (VSANS) target station at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg, MD.This completes a year-long design, procurement and manufacturing effort started in July of 2019 that also included COVID-19 impacted acceptance testing in March 2020.

COVID-19 had a significant impact on this project as a system build of this nature requires travel to customer locations, close proximity in manufacturing spaces to safely move large, heavy equipment and timeliness of procured product. Because NIST, similar to Reuter-Stokes, has been under essential-only guidelines since the start of the pandemic, this project resulted in the suspension of several operations at NIST including the necessary preparation for installation at the VSANS target station that was scheduled for commissioning in July 2020.

As a result, NIST was concerned that the resulting impact to their schedule would be further delayed by a COVID-impacted build plan at Reuter-Stokes. However, with the help of the Crisis Management Team and plant leadership at Reuter-Stokes, the project team was able to develop and execute a plan that not only kept the project on time to the customer’s initial expectations but did so with everyone’s safety as the top priority.

NIST subsequently announced their return-to-work plan that enabled them to continue with their installation preparation.The remaining task for this project was the commissioning of the system, which NIST was able to schedule in August 2020 in large part due to the support of Reuter-Stokes.

NIST is a long-time Reuter-Stokes customer and a recipient of a number of Helium-3 Detector 8Pack modules since the product was developed10+ years ago. The Neutron Scattering market consists of more than 50 laboratories and research facilities in 22 countries. Neutron scattering is a means to study the structure, dynamics (movement of atoms) and the compositions of materials. These facilities operate a large-scale neutron source (usually a research reactor or spallation source) that provides thermal neutrons through a target station to a series of research instruments. To best serve this customer base, Reuter-Stokes offers a combination of Helium-3 filled position-sensitive proportional counters (known as Position Sensitive Detectors or PSDs) along with the NeuAcq™ Electronics System and the Helium-3 Detector 8Pack module. The Helium-3 Detector 8Pack module combines high-efficiency neutron detection with high-speed electronics in a sealed enclosure. This product enables cutting-edge science in all-vacuum, partial-vacuum and non-vacuum instruments in an easy-to-install module.