Mass production of fiber positioners have started /ファイバー配置用システムの量産を始めました


PFS will accurately position 2400 fibers to stars and galaxies on the sky in the field of view of about 1.3 degree diameter and deliver spectra for such a large number of objects at one exposure. The key component of this fiber positioning process is the actuator named “Cobra”.

In the previous article, we described our testing activities to characterize the prototype Cobras (here). Since then, we had made a few more sets of prototypes with minor design changes and repeated tests to ensure the durability of Cobra as required for 10-years or even longer operation, and recently confirmed it has been at an acceptable level with no expenses of other performances, so we gave a green signal of starting the mass production of Cobra.

“Mass production” means 2400 actuators are produced not during a short period of time but over many months. Initially, a small butch of them are produced with the production process confirmed and the production line optimized if needed. So far several tens of Cobras have been delivered to California Institute of Technology, but we expect the production rate to be increased soon up to 50 per week. After delivery and initial screening process by simple inspections and basic function tests, their performance will be characterized and calibrated for efficient fiber configuration, and integrated to the modules to be operated as a part of the PFS instrument.

IMG_20160302_142717 (2) IMG_2305 (2) (Delivered Cobras)


PFSは直径約1.3度の視野の中に2400本のファイバーを配置して、たくさんの銀河や星のスペクトルを一度に取得します。このファイバー配置で鍵を握るのが、「コブラ」と呼ばれるアクチュエータです。

以前、コブラの試験を紹介しましたが(こちら)、その後更なる試作と改良、試験を経て、長期サーベイ観測の遂行に欠かせない耐久性についても十分な性能を示すことが確認できたので、量産開始に踏み切りました。

2400個の「大量生産」ではありますが、短期間に2400個を一気に生産するわけではなく、長い期間をかけて生産していきます。始めは少数ずつ作成しながら生産プロセスを確認、製造ラインを必要に応じて最適化していきます。現在までにカリフォルニア工科大学へ納入されたコブラはまだ数十ですが、今後は生産レートが向上し最終的には毎週50本の納入が期待されています。納入後、初期検査と基本動作試験が行われた後は、効率の良いファイバー配置に必要な性能調査と較正を行いつつ、PFS で実際に運用するための「モジュール」に組み上げられていきます。

IMG_20160302_142717 (2) IMG_2305 (2) (届けられた「コブラ」)

 


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