• Proposal 526: Sumitomo Variable Speed Helium Compressor Analysis

  • Reviewer 3

proposal 526; reviewer3 version 2, 7/17/17

Grade: 7

Sumitomo Variable Speed Helium Compressor Analysis

1. Alignment with NA ALMA Partnership strategic goals; -- Good. Keeping the array running smoothly is fundamental.

2. Strength of the scientific case for the proposed ALMA upgrade concept; Comment on the relevance to the ‘ALMA 2030’ development documents. -- The science return from replacing all the helium compressors is small, perhaps amounting to 1 or 2 days a year of extra observing time. Replacing the compressors could provide significant OPERATIONAL benefits, in that it would allow faster restart of the compressors following a power failure in cold weather. Furthermore, if it turns out that the compressor speed, and hence power consumption, can be reduced without compromising cryogenic performance, there could be significant cost savings in terms of fuel for electrical power. Finally, since the existing compressors apparently are no longer manufactured, it makes sense to try out the new models before they are desperately needed as emergency replacements. It seems to me, however, that this proposal should be funded out of the operations and maintenance budget, not the North American development budget - hence I am giving it a relatively low score.

3. Quality of the upgrade conceptual design; -- If anything, the plan is overkill. The likelihood that the compressor will work is high, so rather than recommision the ESO cryogenic test facility, why not just install one of the new compressors on an actual antenna during the February shutdown?

4. Readiness for production in the context of the ALMA Development Plan (the aim is to support a range of upgrades including both those which can be implemented rapidly and those requiring longer-term research and development); -- Ready immediately.

5. Strength of the consortium organization (if applicable); -- Good.

6. Qualifications of the key personnel of the Study; -- Good.

7. Technical expertise, past experience (also in series production, if relevant) and technical facilities in the Institutes taking part in the Study; -- Good.

8. Assessment of the level of risk inherent in the design; -- Very low.

9. Strength of the Scientific Team supporting the Study; -- Not applicable in this case.

10. Level of support guaranteed by the Institutes; -- Good. Includes $20k in-kind contribution from Sumitomo.

11. Budgeted cost of the Study; -- OK.

  • Reviewer 4

Grade: 4

Title: Sumitomo Variable Speed Helium Compressor Analysis (PI: Ford)

1. Alignment with NA ALMA Partnership strategic goals;

Comment: This project aims to improve the operating efficiency of ALMA, which is one of the stated strategic goals. It also represents a direct partnership with a private industry, which is desirable in terms of strengthening the NA radio astronomy community.

2. Strength of the scientific case for the proposed ALMA upgrade concept; Comment on the relevance to the ‘ALMA 2030’ development documents.

Comment. This is NOT one of the areas identified by the ALMA 2030 development document.

3. Quality of the upgrade conceptual design;

Comment: The older model of the Sumitomo He compressor is no longer available, so adopting a replacement is inevitable. Certainly characterizing the newer replacement model is a required step before a larger quantity is acquired to replace or upgrading the existing hardware. Glad to see that the manufacturer is providing the required hardware, but it is not entirely clear if such a test should fall under this Development Upgrade program.

A main weakness of the conceptual design of this program is the lack of quantitative data on actual observing time lost due to the long startup delay that motivates this proposal. It is not clear where the thereshold value should be, but not having any real data takes away some creditability using this as a justification. Also, is this the only alternative to be considered? or should this study be more comprehensive, examining other potential replacements as well.

4. Readiness for production in the context of the ALMA Development Plan (the aim is to support a range of upgrades including both those which can be implemented rapidly and those requiring longer-term research and development);

Comment: The new He compressor is presumably already commercially available. The need for the replacement/upgrade does not seem urgent at the moment.

5. Strength of the consortium organization (if applicable);

Comment: This is a fairly comprehensive, multi-institutional team, including the company that will provide the hardware.

6. Qualifications of the key personnel of the Study;

Comment: good

7. Technical expertise, past experience (also in series production, if relevant) and technical facilities in the Institutes taking part in the Study;

Comment: good

8. Assessment of the level of risk inherent in the design;

Comment: good

9. Strength of the Scientific Team supporting the Study;

Comment: good

10. Level of support guaranteed by the Institutes;

Comment: good

11. Budgeted cost of the Study;

Comment: appropriate for the effort stated.

========================================================

  • Reviewer 12

Grade: 0.5

Title: 526 Sumitomo Variable Speed Helium Compressor Analysis

1. Alignment with NA ALMA Partnership strategic goals

Collaboration with ALMA operations and strategic goals are aligned. Directly addresses operating cost.

2. Strength of the scientific case for the proposed ALMA upgrade concept Comment on the relevance to the ‘ALMA 2030’ development documents.

Relevant in that it has the potential to reduce down-time and operating cost.

3. Quality of the upgrade conceptual design

The proposal is very well written and organized with a structured plan. Problem is stated well and benefit to ALMA operations is clear to see. High hardware cost is justified as the study proposal suggests that the purchased units could serve as spares at the ALMA site. Comparative analysis with existing spare, and testing at the high site, is an excellent approach. Care has been taken to address interface concerns. Using the ESO cryogenic facility is a bonus.

4. Readiness for production in the context of the ALMA Development Plan (the aim is to support a range of upgrades including both those which can be implemented rapidly and those requiring longer-term research and development)

The study aims to assess the suitability of exchanging compressors; given the manufacturer’s statement that this new model is a direct replacement, implementation could be done over a comparatively short term. 5. Strength of the consortium organization (if applicable)

6. Qualifications of the key personnel of the Study

Highly qualified

7. Technical expertise, past experience (also in series production, if relevant) and technical facilities in the Institutes taking part in the Study

Strong technical expertise and experience.

8. Assessment of the level of risk inherent in the design

Risk is appropriate to study.

9. Strength of the Scientific Team supporting the Study

10. Level of support guaranteed by the Institutes

Does not appear to be indicated within study.

11. Budgeted cost of the Study

Budget is justified and value stays within ALMA.

  • Reviewer 13

Grade: 1.0

Title: Sumitomo Variable Speed Helium Compressor Analysis

1. Alignment with NA ALMA Partnership strategic goals;

Comment: Insofar as the compressor enables ALMA operation for any and all science, the alignment is perfect. It seems prudent to evaluate this new compressor now, given problems with the present compressor at low temperatures. Further the present compressor is obsolete, and having a qualified replacement pre-evaluated is strategically very important.

2. Strength of the scientific case for the proposed ALMA upgrade concept; Comment on the relevance to the ‘ALMA 2030’ development documents.

Comment: see comment for 1.

3. Quality of the upgrade conceptual design; Comment: I found the study scope to be well articulated and logically justified. The in kind contribution of Sumitomo and their commitment and participation are positive factors.

4. Readiness for production in the context of the ALMA Development Plan (the aim is to support a range of upgrades including both those which can be implemented rapidly and those requiring longer-term research and development);

Comment: This is a pre-evaluation, the measures of success being the qualification of the new part.

5. Strength of the consortium organization (if applicable);

Comment: The consortium has all the needed elements from a diverse set of institutions: ALMA, NRAO, Sumitomo and APEX.

6. Qualifications of the key personnel of the Study;

Comment: I believe the team is well matched, in distribution and qualifications, to the project.

7. Technical expertise, past experience (also in series production, if relevant) and technical facilities in the Institutes taking part in the Study;

Comment: Good idea to use the existing and disused ESO Cryo Test facility.

8. Assessment of the level of risk inherent in the design;

Comment: No operational risk in this qualification exercise.

9. Strength of the Scientific Team supporting the Study;

Comment: Not sure why science support is critical, but Carilli seems to cover that base well.

10. Level of support guaranteed by the Institutes;

Comment: Sumitomo will support in kind, this is good.

11. Budgeted cost of the Study;

Comment: Seems appropriate and is well justified. This is not low cost relative to other studies I have evaluated, but the objectives seem worthwhile.

-- AlWootten - 2017-07-19
Topic revision: r1 - 2017-07-19, AlWootten
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