Super model

Published 20th June 2015

Sitting in front of a huge 3D computer image of a 30 m cell for the new accelerator, Bernard Ogier zooms right in to show the millimetre-sized ridges on an absorber. As part of the Drafting and Procurement Unit, his job is to create 3D models of the machine using the Solidworks computer-aided design software, right down to the tiniest components. With the Upgrade Project in the design phase, he, along with olaugther units of the ISDD’s Mechanical Engineering group, is working flat out to design the new machine

The Drafting Process

Each member of the team has a responsibility for modelling different parts of the accelerator, such as the girders, vacuum chambers, magnets, RF, cable trenches, water cooling pipes, etc, and work is dispatched accordingly. Following a request from the work package leader that a piece of equipment be installed, the first task is to conduct studies of how the component will integrate with the rest of the machine. For components that are commercially available, a 3D model with the dimensions is obtained from the manufacturers and slotted into the model. Other parts, such as absorbers, are designed by Bernard and his colleagues.

First I look at how the electrons will pass through the component,” he explains. “Then I add bellows, valves and absorbers where needed to stop the beam damaging the equipment. I also check there is enough space to install and remove the equipment without interfering with the neighbouring components.”  The increased number of magnets and much smaller vacuum tubes in the upgraded machine mean he is dealing with some tricky mechanical restraints. “I have a physical space limit and a number of components that must fit into that space, so it’s like a big game of Lego, he laughs. Once the studies have been completed, the design is passed to the Mechanical Engineering group to make any calculations necessary, such as mechanical stresses or deformations, etc. The design is then returned validated or with modifications. Next, technician Michèle Soulier performs an assembly test to check that everything fits together correctly and there are no collisions. Once approved, the design can be sent to external companies for manufacturing. When the equipment finally arrives, the team often checks that all the components can be mounted correctly in-situ.

“We are advancing well – we have completed the work on integrating the RF cavities into the machine, for example, and they should be delivered by the manufacturers in autumn,” says Bernard. “As we are the first in the project process, we need to finish our other studies so that the rest of the components can be made as quickly as possible”. With this, Bernard zooms back out, to continue designing the 32 cells of the ESRF’s next top model.

Photo caption: The image shown is the straight section of cells 5, 7 and 25, where the RF cavities will integrate into the rest of the machine.