Inventing a thingamajig for NuMI's "mission impossible"
Vladimir Sidorov, an Accelerator Division engineer, and Jerry Judd from the Particle Physics Division's Mechanical Support Department measure a piece of the thingamajig, a device created to help NuMI/MINOS collaborators replace a key piece of equipment.
Sometimes, it takes doing the nearly impossible to keep physics experiments running smoothly. It also takes a sense of humor. And a thingamajig.
Crews in Fermilab's NuMI/MINOS experiment recently extracted and replaced a difficult to access piece of equipment using a homemade device.
They replaced the experiment's hadron monitor, a key piece of equipment that helps to align and monitor the beam quality.
In order for particles to get to the hadron monitor, protons enter the experiment, collide with a graphite target and then break apart. Another piece of equipment then focuses these resulting particles into a pipe, called the decay pipe, where the particles decay, or transform into other particles. The monitor is located in front of the decay pipe, an area where workers can't go and that is difficult for machines to access.
"The hadron monitor wasn't designed to be replaced, and now we have to replace it. This is a challenge," said NuMI Shutdown Coordinator Mike Andrews before the repair.
|A remotely operable device created by a cross-division team of engineers and technicians was used last month to extract and replace the NuMI experiment's hadron monitor.
When problems started to exist with the hadron monitor two years ago, NuMI/MINOS collaborators solicited the help of an expert team of engineers and technicians from the accelerator and particle physics divisions to conceive, design, and create a device that could remotely extract and replace the monitor.
The answer was an Erector Set-looking device with no name. The one-of-a-kind 3,000-pound device stood about 14 feet tall, was 5 feet long and 5 feet wide, and had its nickname, thingamajig, scrawled on its center steel beam in permanent marker.
"We didn't know what to call it," said Al Legan of the Accelerator Division Controls Department.
Legan, who used to work on manipulators and fixed-target experiments, designed seven motors for the device-one for each of its movable parts. He worked with Vladimir Sidorov, an Accelerator Division engineer, and Jerry Judd from the Particle Physics Division's mechanical support department.
Sidorov designed the device's structure and mechanics, while Judd was responsible for the device's assembly. Both previously worked on the Main Injector's collimator system.
The expert team spent six months working in constant communication to create the device-sharing designs and ideas via e-mail and in person.
Personnel who worked on the device: Greg Stradal, PPD; Otto Alvarez, PPD; Wojciech Blaszynski, PPD; Ralph Ford, AD; Shaun Langford, contractor; Tony Busch, AD; Mike Andrews, AD; Al Legan, AD; Mike Coburn, AD; Patrick Hurh, AD; Ban Galan, AD; Dave Erickson, PPD; Vladimir Sidorov, AD; and Jerry Judd, PPD.
-- Rhianna Wisniewski