Particle accelerators, such as those capable of triggering nuclear reactions, are generally used for scientific and research purposes. Some experimental particle colliders have generated concern due to safety issues. Many of the larger accelerators are buried underground to maintain safety standards as the synchrotron radiation is so intense.
Accelerators are comprised of the machines and equipment which generate and accelerate particles, vacuum systems, cooling systems, shielding systems, power generation systems (in some cases) and equipment monitoring systems. Additionally, there are computer and electronic systems which control the operation of the accelerator and analyze the data produced, controlled by the end-user or operator.
The operator works from a control room which is manned by between a team of competent technicians. When a beam is delivered, it must be monitored to ensure its quality meets the specifications.
The operator has many diagnostics tools at his disposal. Should a problem occur, the operator is in charge of solving it or at least, in charge of coordinating the finding of a solution. Many technical and decision-assisting procedures have are required. In addition, the crew on shift is fully responsible for documenting all their observations, actions and problem solving.
Logging and control software for this industry needs to address several issues:
- There are many system components and there needs to be an easy way to link different systems together so that these (often very different) systems can interact effectively and so that all feedback data can be stored and analyzed in a central location.
- There is a need to store large amounts of information and to be able to access this information quickly and easily, meaning the logging application must store the information in a standard relational database and must support various kinds of advanced queries.
- There is also often a need to collect real-time information from equipment systems and store it, as well as a need for capturing manually entered information. Also needed is an elegant means of coordinating this information together so that it can be stored in reports and communicated at shift handovers.
- As safety is a concern in this industry, and for maintaining a safe operating environment, it is necessary to analyze all unplanned incidents as quickly and as thoroughly as possible as well as continuously monitoring potential hazards.
- The logging system should be able to dynamically store relevant information from all sources on the facility and immediately report on any out-of-normal data. Special reports must also be created and sent out when a critical event occurs.
Applications such as the j5 Operator Logbook, Handover Logbook, Work Instructions and the j5 Reporting tools are ideally suited to handle the demands and requirements of this environment with accuracy and efficiency, ensuring a smooth- running and well-coordinated operation. j5 offers features such as the Hazard Management and Incident and Near Miss applications to ensure that safety concerns are reliably dealt with, ensuring security and confidence in operations.
j5 also meets the many other requirements in the particle accelerator industry:
- It reliably collects real-time and historical information from equipment systems and it has an advanced means of capturing manually entered information.
- It integrates seamlessly with Tango and EPICS.
- It has an elegant means of coordinating this information together so that the information can be analysed, stored and distributed to the relevant parties using reporting tools.
- Reporting tools and advanced filtering techniques mean that generating and distributing the many different report types is effortless and simple.
- It boasts both a time-proven logical architecture and enormous flexibility to meet the needs of the vastly different applications, and scalability means new applications can be quickly designed, implemented and commissioned and then added to the structure where non-standard, site-specific applications are required.
- With support for LDAP authentication, j5 enforces the strict security requirements ensuring that only authorized personnel may access the system via a comprehensive authority based structure centered on user groups.
To cater for the specific needs of the industry, St James Software has developed a range of applications and modules. Which modules a plant chooses, obviously depends on the setup and architecture of the plant and hence its specific needs. The following is a typical example:
The plant will first install a basic standard j5 setup, consisting of:
They may then choose to purchase some of the industry-relevant optional extras such as:
We are proud to boast an installation at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, a joint research facility supported by 19 countries situated in Grenoble, France.