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Proceedings Paper

Future-oriented maintenance strategy based on automated processes is finding its way into large astronomical facilities at remote observing sites
Author(s): Armin Silber; Christian Gonzalez; Francisco Pino; Patricio Escarate; Stefan Gairing
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Paper Abstract

With expanding sizes and increasing complexity of large astronomical observatories on remote observing sites, the call for an efficient and recourses saving maintenance concept becomes louder. The increasing number of subsystems on telescopes and instruments forces large observatories, like in industries, to rethink conventional maintenance strategies for reaching this demanding goal. The implementation of full-, or semi-automatic processes for standard service activities can help to keep the number of operating staff on an efficient level and to reduce significantly the consumption of valuable consumables or equipment. In this contribution we will demonstrate on the example of the 80 Cryogenic subsystems of the ALMA Front End instrument, how an implemented automatic service process increases the availability of spare parts and Line Replaceable Units. Furthermore how valuable staff recourses can be freed from continuous repetitive maintenance activities, to allow focusing more on system diagnostic tasks, troubleshooting and the interchanging of line replaceable units. The required service activities are decoupled from the day-to-day work, eliminating dependencies on workload peaks or logistic constrains. The automatic refurbishing processes running in parallel to the operational tasks with constant quality and without compromising the performance of the serviced system components. Consequentially that results in an efficiency increase, less down time and keeps the observing schedule on track. Automatic service processes in combination with proactive maintenance concepts are providing the necessary flexibility for the complex operational work structures of large observatories. The gained planning flexibility is allowing an optimization of operational procedures and sequences by considering the required cost efficiency.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 August 2014
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 9149, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems V, 91492F (6 August 2014); doi: 10.1117/12.2056046
Show Author Affiliations
Armin Silber, European Southern Observatory (Germany)
Christian Gonzalez, Joint ALMA Observatory (Chile)
Francisco Pino, Joint ALMA Observatory (Chile)
Patricio Escarate, Joint ALMA Observatory (Chile)
Stefan Gairing, Joint ALMA Observatory (Chile)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9149:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems V
Alison B. Peck; Chris R. Benn; Robert L. Seaman, Editor(s)

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