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Copper interconnectivity is vital for the operation of the accelerator complex and experimental facilities at CERN. Cable assemblies run through a long, complex labyrinth of cable paths situated, oftentimes, in harsh environments suffering from ageing processes induced by ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, electrical, mechanical, thermal, and chemical stress factors. Their purpose is to establish long-lasting channels through which power, control signals and communication flow between the complicated and specialized systems installed both in underground and surface areas.
The recent reorganisation of the BE Department has seen the integration of a unit that can provide expertise and consultancy in the domain of cable assemblies: the Cabling Team, born and bred within the Experimental Areas Group under the auspices of the Hostlab project in particular for the LS2/LS3 upgrades of the LHC experiments.
The goal of this seminar is to show how cable assemblies, with a rich variety of cables and connectors as ingredients found at CERN, are critical systems that must be (i) specified according to the needs and considering the constraints and operation conditions of the final installation, (ii) assembled respecting specific methods, following the manufacturer specifications and only after careful sample qualification and (iii) installed subsequent to meticulous procedures and with great care including relevant acceptance tests.
The quality of these systems is a concern for everyone: from the assembler and installer to the system designer, up to the technical coordinator and accelerator operator. Their failing affects the functionality of integrated systems, can lead to accidents, delayed operation, lengthy investigations that initially rarely suspect cable assemblies as the first culprit and, of course, necessitate urgent and often complicated corrective actions and repair.
Through this seminar, the BE-EA Cabling Team wishes to raise awareness of the criticality of related expertise by conveying the lessons learnt tackling the challenges during the LS2 upgrades, as well as proposing good practices in preparation for the LS3.