When SCADA is the right solution

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Throughout Cosylab’s past work of developing supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) solutions, we’ve noticed a lack of understanding of the SCADA role in a system when we are asked to provide a SCADA solution. This lack of understanding poses a risk when it comes to whether our customers will find our solution useful for their work in the end or not. Since it is in our best interests to provide useful solutions to our customers and since this is also what we strive for, I’ve decided to share what I see as a role of a SCADA. In the case when a SCADA is really the right solution for the given problem, then I list the questions that need to be asked to design a SCADA solution that will be useful. My ultimate aim is to bring clarity to those thinking about whether they need a SCADA or not.

Control System for Lasers at HiLASE

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We present the current state of the HiLASE Centre control system developed in cooperation with Cosylab. The aim of the development is to build a control system which would be in charge of the operation of kW-class in-house developed laser beamlines. These beamlines deliver picosecond pulses with repetition rates between 1 kHz and 1 MHz and high-energy nanosecond pulses at 10 Hz. A generic control system architecture is presented, which can either support full-size development lasers or compact industrial versions. The EPICS control system work focuses on image acquisition and processing, vacuum control, provision of timing, archiving and user interfaces. HiLASE provides highlevel requirements, Cosylab complements them, provides the design of the solution and implementation. Delivery is performed during on-site visits where a test plan is executed for acceptance. This approach relieves HiLASE of the need to hire and manage their own team while retaining full control over the functionality through requirements and acceptance approval. Cosylab complements HiLASE with self-managed teams that deliver to specification.

A Novel Approach to Triggering and Beam Synchronous Data Acquisition

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SwissFEL, the new Free-Electron Laser facility is a 740 m long accelerator with the goal of providing pulses of light between 6 and 30 fs long at a wavelength of 1 to 7 Å at 100 Hz [1], [2]. To support shot-to-shot photon diagnostic [1] and link the measurements to other measurements along the machine that belong to the same machine pulse, a new triggering and data acquisition system was developed. A new protocol was introduced which allows deterministic triggering, configuration and data transfer via one full-duplex optical connection. The measurement data is stamped with an unique pulse identifier, delivered from the SwissFEL Timing System [2], [5]. A readout and control interface was developed to support data delivery to the Data Acquisition Dispatching Layer [1][3] and for controlling the system.

MYRRHA DAQ Development

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Cosylab has been contributing to the MYRRHA project since at least 2012. The recent work on the implementation of a generic data acquisition solution for the MYRRHA test stand at Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) was reported at IPAC19 in Melbourne, Australia. This article captures the key technical elements of the IPAC presentation.

The Accelerator Validating Antimatter Physics (AVA) Project

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The AVA project focuses on research but also emphasizes outreach and training for fellows. As partners come from industry, universities and research centers working on particle accelerators, the mentors on the AVA project have a wide range of expertise.

More than Just Integration

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Cosylab has been building control systems for big physics facilities since 2001 and been involved in fusion experiments since 2008 when we started working for the ITER CODAC division. As an objective viewer to a wide range of fusion projects, we have been able to consolidate some of this information into a paper that was peer-reviewed and accepted for publishing in the Journal of Fusion Energy [1]. This article presents some highlights of that paper.

Consulting on Timing Systems and Open Source Collaboration Tools at the Inception of CERN’s White Rabbit Project

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“Timing is everything!” Nowhere is this statement truer than at CERN. So, when CERN wanted to renovate their General Machine Timing System, Cosylab was called in to gather requirements using input from other Big Science projects like GSI (FAIR), INPL and ITER. These requirements helped shape the White Rabbit Timing System.

How ITER Standardized Large System Integration with CODAC Case Study

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ITER is the most complex science project in human history, designed to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion power.

EPICS Control System Upgrade for PANDA

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“Never change a running system!” is a piece of wisdom that is as true as it is incomplete, because one can equally add: “But don’t forget to change it before it stops running!” Eventually, every running system reaches a point when you start wondering if it is maybe time to replace it before it stops being a running system. The control system used in PANDA found itself in just this situation. This is how they got a new control system.