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In this issue:
SLAC Welcomes New Communications Director
SSRL Looks to Future, Modifies Organizational Structure
Seen Around SLAC: Predictive Maintenance

SLAC Today

Monday - January 3, 2011

SLAC Welcomes New Communications Director

(Photo - Farnaz Khadem)
New Director of Communications Farnaz Khadem. (Photo courtesy Farnaz Khadem.)

Together with the start of the New Year, today SLAC welcomes a new director for the Office of Communications. Farnaz Khadem brings to the lab more than a decade of experience directing scientific communications efforts, primarily in the life sciences. She will lead development of SLAC communications strategy for both internal needs and external audiences, from the Department of Energy to the science-curious public.

"We're really excited to have someone with Farnaz's strategic vision join the laboratory and Operations Directorate senior management team,"  said Chief Operating Officer Alexander Merola. "She will help facilitate communication across the SLAC directorates, keeping all of us more well informed. Further, she well help us clearly define our external audiences and the messaging about the great science happening here."

"I'd also like to thank Mark Reichanadter for serving as acting communications director over the past several months," Merola said. "He's helped the group stay on target as well as prepare for a renewed focus under the new director."  Read more...

SSRL Looks to Future, Modifies Organizational Structure

On December 8, Stanford Synchrtoron Radiation Lightsource Director Chi-Chang Kao announced a slightly modified organizational structure for the SSRL Directorate at SLAC. The changes include removing the X-ray Research and Facilities Division and bringing the areas of research that were previously overseen by this division higher in the organization to become their own divisions. These new divisions are: the Materials Sciences, Chemistry and Catalysis, Structural Molecular Biology, Structural Genomics and Beam Line Systems divisions. The changes, Kao said, will increase the visibility of these research programs, bring up new leaders within the organization, and position SSRL to achieve the growth outlined in the SLAC agenda.  Read more...

Seen Around SLAC:
Predictive Maintenance

Picking up good vibrations? Vibration testing helps engineers spot potential maintenance problems before they turn into emergencies. (Photo by Catherine Meyers.)

Just as annual physicals are important for a person's health, regular check-ups are critical for keeping SLAC's science equipment and support systems running smoothly. And just as a doctor can use diagnostics tests, Facilities Division employees have a number of predictive maintenance tools, such as vibration testing, at their disposal.

"A new piece of equipment, such as a pump, should have very minimal vibration," while it's running, noted SLAC building engineer Joe Cobar. "When the vibration measurement of the equipment exceeds the tolerances and limits set by the manufacturer, it is a good indication that the equipment may be heading toward failure."

Mike Maguire tests equipment for vibrations. (Photo by Catherine Meyers.)

Engineers can track vibrations by attaching accelerometers—sensors that measure changes in motion—to key equipment components. A vibration data analyzer records the movements and plots the magnitude of shaking at certain frequencies.

"Dominant frequencies at one or two times the running speed of the equipment usually indicate unbalance, looseness or misalignment," said mechanical engineer Mike Maguire. "Higher frequencies usually indicate bearing or gear tooth deterioration."

Along with preventive maintenance (standard manufacturer recommended servicing) and proactive maintenance (analyzing potential failure modes and designing mitigating or redundant components into a system), SLAC's Facilities Division staff use predictive maintenance to plan when to fix or replace critical pieces of equipment.

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