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Originally published in the December 2020 issue of the CTA Newsletter.

Meet George Pruteanu, the CTA Observatory’s (CTAO) RAM (reliability, availability, maintainability) Engineer. We asked him a few questions to learn a bit about him and the work he is doing to ensure the long-term performance of CTA.

Tell us about yourself and how you came into your present role?

I am originally from Romania, where I earned a B.Sc. in Electromechanical Engineering, with a major in automation industry, and gained several years’ experience in mechatronics design, engineering test responsibilities and lead a computer numerical control maintenance team. After immigrating to Canada, I worked for 15 years in the RAM field within the aerospace industry and more than two years in the transportation industry. In 2016, I joined the CTAO Project Office to implement a RAM process for the observatory.

What is RAM and why is it important to the CTA project?

For large-scale projects like CTA, it is relatively difficult to optimize the future maintenance and operational costs unless a RAM process is systematically implemented. In simple terms, the ‘reliability’ is a measurement of how often the system will fail, the ‘maintainability’ is how quick the system can be restored to its initial performance and ‘availability’ is the probability that the system will function when requested. Having control over these three characteristics, which are in a tight mathematical relationship and influencing each other, will give us a high confidence in the performance of our product over its lifecycle. In addition, an ‘Integrated Logistics Support’ process will be implemented to support the quick restoring of the system in case of malfunction, assuring particular availability requirements.

What are you working on now and what are its short- and long-term effects on the project?

RAM activities have a higher probability of success if a solid process is implemented within the initial stages of the project and continued over its lifecycle. Sometimes, the prioritization of these activities tends to be bypassed or postponed due to the demands of the project in other areas. My job is to keep these activities top of mind through the development stages, construction and service of this project. That’s why my work, now, focuses on education, support and guiding the contributors of CTA technology through the analyses required by the Project Office. In the long term, the results of these activities will be rolled up and applied to the system level, which will continue to improve the confidence of the Observatory’s performance throughout its operational lifetime. With our progress and the support from senior management received for the RAM Process, thus far, I am very confident that we are on the right track.

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Q&A with RAM Engineer George Pruteanu - CTAO