The Advanced Photon Source
a U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science User Facility

Installation is underway

Last time, I promised you this update, and here it is: The installation phase of the Advanced Photon Source (APS) project is officially underway.

It’s a simple statement, which doesn’t capture the excitement behind it. For more than a decade, the start of the installation period has been a milestone the entire team has been striving for. Getting here has taken thousands of hours of hard work from hundreds of people, and we could not be prouder.

Last month, a team of workers picked up the first module of the new APS storage ring — a module that weighs almost 25 tons — from our offsite facility. They carefully secured it to a truck and transported it to the APS storage ring tunnel, which sat empty and waiting. (If you haven’t seen the video of the empty tunnel that once held the original APS storage ring, it’s worth a look.) 

As you’ll see in the photos below, that module was then just as carefully unloaded, moved into the tunnel and installed in place. Then they went back and did it again. As of this writing we have more than 60 modules installed, and the team is averaging assembling two to three of them a day. The full storage ring consists of 200 modules — 120 of the larger ones shown below, and 80 smaller bridge modules that will sit between them.

We’re well on our way, in other words. Of course, the installation of modules isn’t the only work happening in the storage ring tunnel — every module has to be aligned with its neighbors and grouted into place, and then connected to new front end systems that have been built for each beamline, and there’s a host of other work, from power cable connections to utilities to water systems to optical systems to safety systems, that goes into creating the new beating heart of the APS.

Back in our offsite facility, the module assembly team is working steadily to complete all 200 modules and have them ready for installation. Their progress has been excellent — we now stand at more than 178 completed modules.

It took a tremendous team effort to get us to the start of installation, and it will take a tremendous team effort to complete it. Through attention to detail, cool heads (in summer in Chicago!) and strong teamwork, we have found solutions to the challenges that have arisen and will continue to do so as new ones arise. I’ve said it before, I’m very fortunate to be part of a great team.

I look forward to updating you again next month, reporting on the continued progress both on the accelerator and in the experimental areas where work continues to ramp up! As always, the latest news about the project can be found on the APS Upgrade web page.

Until then, be safe and be well.

Jim Kerby
Director, APS Upgrade Project


The first module of the new APS storage ring to be transported and installed, seen here in Building 981 before making its journey.

Workers use a specially weighted fork truck to lift the module, which weighs about 25 tons, onto a truck for its brief voyage to the APS facility.

The module arrives at the APS, safe and sound. The full trip is just less than three miles.

After a forklift is used to remove the module from the truck, workers enlist a specially crafted hydraulic roller, called a “power attack,” to carefully wheel it into the storage ring facility.

A clearer image of the hydraulic roller as the team maneuvers the module into place. The centers of the magnetic fields of each module must be aligned with those of its neighbors to within half the width of a human hair.

Published Date