DMC worked with AML, a company in the manufacturing industry, to update and restore functioning to the control system software for their superconducting magnet. The system was designed to control current levels of magnetic fields for the purpose of directing, focusing, and controlling, a particle accelerator beam.
DMC was brought on to the project by Argonne National Laboratory and worked with three groups to deploy the solution – coordinating between them and aligning on a joint solution. Our engineers initially performed tests at Argonne by rewriting the LabVIEW control designed by AML. We we worked with physicalists form GANIL, a French research lab.
The solution required controlling the amount of current that runs through an inductor to change the properties of the magnetic field it creates. Physicists can determine the properties of their desired magnetic field and then use the system to vary the amount of current running through the coil to obtain their desired result. This magnetic field is then used to focus a particle beam.
DMC’s LabVIEW team revised the existing codebase to restore functioning. Setting the rate of increase was important as increasing the current too quickly would cause the temperature to rise beyond safe levels. AML defined the desired rate of increase, and DMC created an algorithm to control the set point and the rate of temperature change.
Once the current has reached the specified level, the system holds the current at the desired level until the user ramps the current level down. The rate of decrease is determined and controlled as well. Additionally, DMC interfaced with the system’s quench detection functionality to ensure the magnet shut down in the event of overheating or cooling.
Testing required raising the full current to 400 amps. Intermittently heating and cooling the magnet and working with a cryogenic system was essential. DMC worked with the AML team, the magnet team, and the cryogenic team to test the magnet.
The system was complex, and there were only small windows to test due to the precise timing required to heat and cool the magnet to safe and functional levels. Together with AML’s physicists, DMC determined what was needed to control the magnet, performed tests, and finally, ran the system.
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