The IT String control room gets ready!

The IT String control room gets ready!

control room

The HL-LHC IT STRING Control Room (Image: Irene Garcia Obrero)

A room in SM18 (2173/1-S06) has recently been refurbished to become the control room of the HL-LHC IT String.

The HL-LHC IT String will test the collective behaviour of the components of the interaction zones, designed for the new High-Luminosity era of the LHC. New technologies and operating schemes (in terms of cooling, powering and protection of IT magnets and circuits) will prove their functionality in real conditions.

To pilot the STRING tests, an on-site control room must be equipped and adapted to ensure efficient operation of the test stand. From this environment, designated operators will be able to execute all tests foreseen in the HL-LHC IT String Validation Program. It will also serve as a gathering point for experts to analyse test results, as well as discuss the main topics for future tests.

In 2020, the SM18 room 1-S06 was selected as the best candidate for becoming the IT String test stand control room. Several aspects were considered:

  • Minimal distance to the equipment, especially to control and protection racks.
  • Easy access from the control room to the platform, where power converters are installed.
  • Direct overview of the test stand from the room's windows.
  • Quick exit from the building in case of emergency. 
  • Short path to the room for users, thus avoiding interaction with potential hazards in SM18 and minimise co-activities.


During the first half of 2021, the WP16 team drafted the specifications and budget for the control room, considering the needs of equipment owners and users.

Several activities were planned and executed during the second half of 2021, and in 2022, to adapt the room. As of today, the main refurbishment activities are:

  • Extending the control room to meet the southeast wall of SM18. For that purpose, a main beam of the building had to be cut off. Further, ventilation units had been relocated, and ducts rerouted.
  • Installing two windows in said wall, thus bringing natural light and air to the room, making it a pleasant work environment.
  • Laying a standard, carpet-type floor to minimise the noise.
  • Repairing deteriorated parts of the ceiling.
  • Deploying electrical and IT networks -including sockets- to connect computers, wall screens, lights, etc.
  • Installing office furniture, such as chairs (recovered from the previous meeting room), round tables, room dividers and desks with screen supports.
  • Installing a videoconferencing system which can conduct hybrid meetings (i.e., simultaneously including multiple persons on-site and on Zoom).
  • Repositioning of previous equipment and furniture, such as blackboards, projectors and air-conditioners.

These interventions have reshaped the space into a sunny, welcoming and well-equipped control room. Figure 2 shows the current configuration.


Fig. 2: Different perspectives of the control room (Images: Irene Garcia Obrero)

Small works are still planned in the upcoming months. These include, (among others) the procurement and installation of two wall screens to display relevant information of equipment status, ergonomic chairs for operation, and the necessary screens and computers.

Even if the operation of the HL-LHC IT String is not on the brink of starting, the control room is already serving the team, on-site, to follow up the installation of other equipment and infrastructure.

WP16 wishes to give a special thanks to HL-LHC and ARIES TNA, whose funding and support made all this possible - together with, (and for), the TE Department. The new control room will be of great value in the years to come!

By the WP16 HL-LHC IT STRING team

Photo collection: link