Through collaboration across teams, the Plug and Play functionality of ESS sample environment equipment was demonstrated for the first time. This system, provided by the Integrated Control System (ICS) division, will enable the streamlining of neutron experiment setups, enhancing the efficiency of ESS' shared pool of sample environment devices.
Recently, a Plug and Play (PnP) demonstration took place in the ESS on-site technical workshops (building B02) at the YMIR testbed for control and integration of instrument components.
The demonstration successfully showcased the Plug and Play functionality of a temperature controller, with more sample environment devices in line for testing.
Led by Nicklas Holmberg of the Hardware and Integration Group in ICS, this work was carried out in close collaboration with the Experiment Control and Data Curation (ECDC) group in the Neutron Scattering Systems (NSS) division and the Controls Infrastructure group in the IT division.
Sample environment equipment serves the critical purpose of modifying, controlling, and monitoring the environmental conditions surrounding a sample. This includes adjustments to temperature, pressure, electrical and magnetic fields, and more. At ESS, a shared pool of sample environment devices will be available to all neutron instruments. Utilising Plug and Play technology means that any piece of equipment can seamlessly integrate with any instrument, connecting to the ESS control system. This will simplify equipment integration into larger systems without the need for manual adjustments, simultaneously reducing setup times and minimising errors.
The recent demonstration of PnP functionality for sample environment equipment involved a temperature controller connected to a computer equipped with an EPICS IOC (Input/Output Controller) software. Upon connecting the computer to the YMIR network and powering up the system, the YMIR instance of NICOS (the user-facing control system) successfully controlled and monitored the temperature controller through the IOC interface. This procedure was replicated when the system was moved to the BIFROST instrument network, confirming the Plug and Play capability of the temperature controller.
With the successful execution of the PnP demo, the plan forward is to refine this technology to include all types of equipment used in ESS sample environments. The goal is to enhance reliability, incorporate additional features, and further improve adaptability.