22 July 2016 Laboratory and field testing results of the LMT/GTM primary surface actuators
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Abstract
With the final installation of the two outermost rings of the primary surface of the Large Millimeter Telescope/ Gran Telescopio Milimétrico (LMT/GTM), the project is also upgrading the primary surface actuators. There are commercial actuators that can approach the required operational accuracy and stroke, but the combination of the size and load requirements ultimately required a customized design. The new actuators fit within the volume constraints imposed by the tighter interior angles in the outer rings and are designed to support the operational and survival loading conditions even for the largest surface segments. Laboratory testing confirmed that the actuators should meet the precision, repeatability, load, and lifetime requirements.

However, the LMT/GTM is at a particularly difficult site for electromechanical systems. The high altitude has the usual effect of reducing cooling effectiveness for the drives and motors, and the ambient temperature hovers near freezing. Since there is a significant amount of precipitation during some times of the year, there are frequent freeze/thaw cycles. The constant formation and either sublimation or melting of ice, along with the associated high humidity, has been a challenge for the environmental protection of many devices at the LMT/GTM. Because there are a total of 720 primary surface actuators in the system, it is particularly important that the actuators, their local drive control boxes, and their cable connections be able to meet its specifications even under the site conditions.

To confirm the suitability of the actuators, the LMT/GTM procured an initial set of sixteen actuators for testing at the site. After laboratory testing, the actuators were installed into the outer two rings of the telescope and cycled during the early winter months of the 2015–16 scientific observing season. Because of the continuing installation activities in these two rings, they are not illuminated by the receivers, so field testing under actual operational conditions could be conducted without affecting the ongoing scientific observations. This paper presents the characterized performance of the actuators before and after testing, as well as a report on their environmental robustness.
© (2016) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
David R. Smith, Kamal Souccar, Gabriela Montalvo, César Arteaga Magaña, José Luis Hernández Rebollar, Arak Olmos Tapia, Daniele Gallieni, Paolo Lazzarini, Pierluigi Fumi, Enzo Anaclerio, "Laboratory and field testing results of the LMT/GTM primary surface actuators", Proc. SPIE 9912, Advances in Optical and Mechanical Technologies for Telescopes and Instrumentation II, 991214 (22 July 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2231807; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2231807
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