ASG, a successful privatization
Electrosynchrotron, superconductivity, high-energy physics. ASG Superconductors, a company owned by Italy's Malacalza family, was born from a tradition of scientific excellence where the human factor is at least as important as technological innovation. The company was established in 2001, following the privatization of the magnets unit of the Ansaldo industrial group, and is today a world leader for its capabilities in the design, construction and testing of superconducting magnetic systems.
The Origins - more than 60 years of history
ASG's history is one of excellence at the frontiers of technology. Starting in the 1950s - when the magnets unit of Ansaldo participated in the construction of Italy's first electrosynchrotron in Frascati, for the National Institute of Nuclear Physics - through numerous projects based on resistive magnets. The company has always been involved in research projects that call for strong competences in the manufacture of magnets. Over the following years, ASG became one of the leading European companies in terms of its abilities to design and build large superconducting magnets.
The Origins - the technological turning point
The "technological turning point" came in 1971, when it decided to assess the technical feasibility of alternators with superconducting rotor winding. A true technological turning point for the company, as demonstrated by the fact that the firm was invited to participate in every nuclear fusion project to take place in Europe, from the 1970s to the end of the last century. For example, the company supplied dipoles and superconducting coils for CERN's Super Proto Synchrotron project. The capabilities of its technicians and resources, along with productive capabilities, rendered ASG one of the suppliers of choice of magnets for high-energy physics through the end of the last century. Among the technological challenges successfully resolved: supplying the dipoles for the Elettra project in Trieste and the Hera project in Hamburg, as well as the quadrupoles for the ESRF project in Grenoble and bars and quadrupoles for the LEP accelerator at Geneva's CERN.
The new century - privatization and the big projects
In 2001, with the arrival of Malacalza family as share-holder, the company was privatized. This represented a major step towards greater flexibility in operations and decision-making, accompanied by challenges presented by scientific research. ASG won an order to build over 400 magnets for CERN's LHC as well as for its main particle detectors, the CMS and ATLAS. The company also won an order to supply non-planar magnets for the W7-X nuclear fusion center and - in the medical field - won an order to build the first magnet for magnetic resonance (MRI) free of cryogenic liquids. Fast on the heels of its success, ASG created two new start-ups, Columbus Superconductors and Paramed. The former produces MgB2 cables for transporting and storing energy while the latter operates in medical technology through magnetic resonance machines.
In 2010 and 2012 ASG notched up another pair of success stories when it was selected, respectively, as the supplier of superconducting coils for the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor) and JT-60SA nuclear fusion research projects. ITER is the world's largest demonstration fusion reactor, that will be built to illustrate nuclear power's potential as a virtually limitless source of safe and environmentally sustainable energy.
In recent years ASG also built a new, 28,000+ square meter plant in La Spezia dedicated to the production of maxi coils for the ITER project and opened a new base in Newcastle [UK] dedicated to the Superconducting Fault Current Limiter (SFCL) systems market.
The new plant in La Spezia