ECIL manufactured power converters will build particle accelerator in Germany

The Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) has manufactured the most modern ultra stable high power converters for FAIR (Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research), an upcoming international accelerator facility at Darmstadt, Germany which creates a universe within the laboratory and generates extreme conditions like those during stellar explosions.

In order to create these conditions, small samples of matter will be bombarded with particles. The power convertors will provide energy to large number of magnets in the particle accelerator facility helping them to accelerate beams of particles- protons antiprotons and ions.

The beams will be delivered for research in nuclear physics, hadron physics, high energy heavy ion collisions, atomic and plasma physics.  

As part of the contract with FAIR, Germany, signed back in 2014, Electronic Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), Hyderabad, in collaboration with Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Variable Energy Cyclotron Centre (VECC), Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology (RRCAT), Bose Institute (BI) dispatched their first consignment of 67 ultra-stable power converters to Germany. Secretary Department of Science and Technology, Dr Ashutosh Sharma and Secretary DAE and Chairman Atomic Energy Commission, Dr K N Vyas, congratulated the entire team through skype.

Ten years back, when India took upon the project of making these power converters, they were given a set of very stringent specifications and a very limited budget to adhere to.

The pioneers in the making of these power converters from ECIL and other organizations put their heads together for three years to conceptualize the making of these power converters and it took subsequently 7 years to devise and manufacture each and every component of these power converters, from scratch.

These power converters are not identical, but are of different types, differing in their voltage capacity (100A-800A) and are highly stable (parts per million) and can withstand significant energy fluctuations durably. “The passion and perseverance of all the collaborators and consistent support from all organizations is the reason behind the successful making of these power converters”, says Sudhakar, Ex- Chairman and Managing Director of ECIL, who was one of the leaders involved in the Indo-FAIR project right from 2009.

Sanjay Chaube, Chairman and Managing director of ECIL and a former Rear Admiral, in his welcome address referred to this event as a memorable occasion in the history of Indian science and technology. He said, “Within a decade, we have shown that nothing is impossible.”

It is a dream comes true for Dr. Subhashis Chattopadhyay, Programme-Director, Indo-FAIR Coordination Centre (IFCC) at Bose Institute. Recounting the events at the beginning of India’s power converter exploration back in 2009, he said that at one point in time he was interested in studying neutron stars and that now this can be done through the accelerator which will be made in FAIR. He felt proud that India’s contribution is at the heart of the accelerator project, as these power converters are essential for building and running the accelerator and consequently, Indian scientists can carry out research pertaining to particle physics, as well.

Dr. Uday Bandopadhyay, Director Bose Institute, referred to the panelists at the day’s function as “Galaxy of stars” who have taken this Indo-FAIR project to its zenith. YS Mayya, Ex- Chairman and Managing Director of ECIL and PP Marathe, Associate Director, Electronics and Instrumentation Group, BARC, also echoed their pride and joy about this historical feat, congratulating all the engineers, administrators and others involved in the project for the last ten years.

With these power converters, India has indeed put itself at the very core of scientific research and discovery on the map of the world. ECIL, along with the collaborating agencies have set a praiseworthy example, and jettisoned India in the global race. It has shown that India with its bright minds and its diversity of thoughts and expertise, can overcome many a scientific challenge.

Chief Guest of the occasion Technical Managing Director of GSI and FAIR, Jörg Blaurock,. he emphasized that FAIR project, a visionary mega-science international collaboration of 9 countries, will benefit mankind as it will pave the way for novel scientific research for the future generations”.

He further said that the building will be starting next year and will continue in well-calculated phases and these power converters from India are essential in the first phase of accelerator assembly.

Dr Sanjay Ghosh, Senior Scientist Bose Institute , said,” I am incredibly impressed by our speed of production, as these 67 power converters were made in a matter of 2-3 months, something which people thought was impossible.” ECIL will be dispatching a total of 700 converters for the entirety of the Indo-FAIR project. With the success of these ultra-stable power converters, India will definitely hold the reigns to global electronic innovations in the near future.

Similarly some engineering parts were also installed while constructing the Indian beam line PETRA-III facility in Germany.