Mass production of fiber positioners have started

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)

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