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Home » October 2016

Investing in Capability

Trackwise has recently completed a £700K investment in manufacturing capability at Delta Drive, Tewkesbury.

Demonstrating its confidence and determination, Trackwise has recently completed a £700K investment in manufacturing equipment – enhancing manufacturing capability and efficiency for its core, antenna and RF, printed circuits – as well as developing its manufacturing capability for Improved Harness Technology™ (IHT). As customers advance the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of products using IHT, so in turn Trackwise is developing and investing in their Manufacturing Capability Readiness Level (MCRL).

Financial support for the project is being provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), as part of an industrial strategy for aerospace, developed jointly by industry and Government through the Aerospace Growth Partnership (AGP), with a project aiming to deliver 2m, then 10m, then 25m long multilayer aerospace circuits – something yet to be achieved by any circuit manufacturer worldwide.

IHT has the capability to become a highly competitive, machine-intensive, method of manufacturing aerospace EWIS. This project is a key step in demonstrating this potentially industry-changing technology and this investment is a key advance in IHT manufacturing capability.

Manual process lines have been replaced with automated horizontal conveyorised equipment; analogue imaging has been replaced by state-of-the-art digital laser direct imaging; loaders and unloaders have been procured to enhance productivity and competitiveness – as well as state-of-the-art PIM equipment to enhance Trackwise delivery of validated PIM compliant antenna products.

When we see an opportunity, we must not ask “how?” or “why?” but “who?”. As described elsewhere in the newsletter, Trackwise is continuing to invest in its people as well as its processes and is delighted to welcome to the team six apprentices, starting their engineering careers with Trackwise in September. We are proud that they have chosen to work for Trackwise and are looking forward to seeing them learn and develop as their training progresses.

A Welcome To New Faces

Trackwise continues to build and strengthen the team across its operation to meet an ever growing demand whilst, crucially, maintaining the highest levels of service to its customers. We wish all of our new recruits a long and prosperous career at Trackwise.

Manufacturing Apprenticeship Programme

As the Company continues its ambitious expansion plans with the further development of Improved Harness Technology™ it iseager to develop the next generation of talented engineers and evolve the Company structure from within. As part of this strategy, Trackwise has significantly expanded its
apprenticeship scheme for this year and is delighted to announce the appointment of 6 new apprentices. From L to R we welcome Richard Weaver, Danny Cassey-Gurney, Chris Baker, Nathan Groves, Ethan Talbot
and Kieran Fletcher.

In September all embarked on a four year, dual skilled (Mechanical/Electrical), Advanced Apprenticeship in Engineering
NVQ Level 3 programme at Gloucestershire Engineering Training.

Sales

Cameron Stoneley joins the team as an Estimator – a role that he previously held in the industrial sector, serving customers worldwide. Cameron will be the main point of contact for the provision of day to day
quotations. He is also an active member of the army reserves and we look forward to him applying the same discipline in maintaining the current average quote response time of 24 hours!!

Administration

Sally Clifford joined the company in the spring as Office Administrator. Already proving herself horribly efficient at keeping everything (and everyone) in check at the office, Sally’s role also includes assisting with customer and
supplier queries.

Enhanced PIM Capability

“Many of the world’s leading antenna manufacturers rely on our advanced and low PIM PCBs in their technology.”

Trackwise has extended its PIM (Passive Intermodulation) expertise with the purchase of Rosenberger multi frequency PIM testing equipment.

Installed in-house at its manufacturing facility in Tewkesbury, the equipment includes a Rosenberger IM-00722-BB, 2013, IA-085, rack mounted passive intermodulation analyzer control unit (RX range 698-2200 MHz; TX range 698-2200 MHz) and a Rosenberger PCS AWS 1900, 2012, A1603, rack mounted passive intermodulation analyzer filter unit; range 1900 MHz.

Trackwise has invested many hours into testing and developing a deep understanding of the very fine design and manufacturing parameters that can affect the PIM performance of antenna PCBs. As PIM levels of -115 dBm/-158 dBc and lower, are increasingly becoming a necessary performance requirement of today’s RF components, investment in this latest test equipment will help to ensure that Trackwise remains at the forefront of producing PIM compliant antenna PCBs.

Brexit It Is

The result of the UK EU Referendum held on June 23 marked a momentous point in the UK’s recent history.

It is not for Trackwise to make comment either way as to the Company’s, or any individual’s, own standpoint, nor speculate as to what it might mean for the future – we’ll leave that to the ‘experts’.

Suffice it to say, Trackwise respects that a decision has been made, but clearly the unchartered waters of either a so called ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ Brexit will continue to bring with it much speculation and uncertainty.

For Trackwise’s part, we would like to reiterate to our valued European trading partners that during this period of transition and beyond, Trackwise remains totally committed to building on our business relationships and continuing to provide the highest levels of service.

Keeping Standards Up

“Trackwise has ambitious growth plans over the next five years. Operating to the most stringent standards, across all areas of the business, will be crucial to delivering upon them”

Following recent annual reviews Trackwise is delighted to achieved continued accreditation to both AS9100C and Cyber Essentials Plus.

AS9100C requires the highest of global standards for quality assurance in the Aerospace, Space and Defence industries. While similar to ISO 9001:2008, AS9100C has 100 additional requirements specific to meeting the stringent, complex and unique demands of these industries.

Launched in 2014, the Cyber Essentials scheme is designed to help UK businesses protect themselves against the ever growing threat of cyber attack, and provides verifiable certification of their abilities. Cyber Essentials Plus is the more advanced of the two – tier scheme, requiring external audit and 100% compliance against stringent process and systems criteria.

In recent times high profile global cyber security breaches have clearly demonstrated the threat and implications of such attacks are considerable. Trackwise takes this issue very seriously and in maintaining this accreditation we want our customers to be assured of Trackwise’ commitment to ensuring the security and protection of their data and of our IT systems and business operations.

Helping the ATLAS Collaboration at CERN

to answer some very fundamental questions

Have you ever wondered…

  • What are the basic building blocks of matter?
  • What are the forces that govern their interactions?
  • What happened to antimatter?
  • What is “dark matter”?
  • What was the early universe like and how will it evolve?
  • How does gravity fit in?

Maybe not. However, the very clever people at CERN are grappling to answer these questions every day and in their quest, Trackwise is delighted to have been awarded two recent contracts to supply its ATLAS experiment with large format detector printed circuit boards (>2m).

The ATLAS Detector is one of two general-purpose detectors built along the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) and is the largest volume detector ever constructed for a particle collider (46m long, 25m in diameter, weighing 7000 tonnes and sited in a cavern 100m below ground). Beams of particles travelling at energies up to seven trillion electron-volts, or speeds up to 99.999999% that of light, from the LHC collide at the centre of the ATLAS detector producing collision debris in the form of new particles which shoot out in all directions. The detector tracks and identifies particles to investigate a wide range of physics.

As ATLAS takes experimental physics into unexplored territories over the coming years, Trackwise is excited and proud to be an official supplier to the experiment.

For more information please visit:
https://atlas.cern/

Looking to the Stars

Trackwise is proud to have developed and delivered to The School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of University of Manchester two prototype Mid-frequency Aperture Arrays for the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope.

The Square Kilometre Array (SKA) is one of the largest international scientific programmes in history and aims to redefine our understanding of space. From looking at how the very first stars and galaxies formed after the Big Bang, to understanding the mysterious force known as dark energy, to trying to answer one of the greatest mysteries…..are we alone in the universe?

Built in two main phases, between 2018 and the late 2020’s, SKA will be the world’s largest radio telescope. Located across South Africa and Australia it will eventually cover up to 1 million m2 antenna collecting area distributed over a distance of 3000+ Km.
The project is currently in the design phase for SKA phase 1. The School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering of University of Manchester (UoM) is a member of Mid-Frequency Aperture Array (MFAA) consortium and is leading developments of Front-End Design technologies by collaborating with other institutions. The work is mainly concerned with fully integrated Front-Ends including array antennas and associated LNAs, operating between 500MHz and 1500MHz.

The major objectives of the MFAA Consortium are to prove the technological maturity of the Mid-Frequency Aperture Array technology, and to evaluate different concepts of front-end technology that can serve to assist in the preliminary design of the MFAA. When a concept is selected, it will then be taken further in SKA phase 2 and currently it belongs to Advanced Instrumentation Programme.

The contract with Trackwise was for manufacturing two finite array antenna prototypes (square and triangular array) including pre-production mechanical and thermal design resulting in an integrated front-end panel, based on an array antenna design done by UoM and LNA design by Obs. de Paris, located in Nancay, France.

Aircraft Interiors Expo

Trackwise is exhibiting at the Aircraft Interiors Expo, Hamburg, 4 – 6 April, 2017 where it will be showcasing Improved Harness Technology™.

The exhibition is the world’s leading event for airlines and the supply chain to source the latest innovations, technologies and products for the cabin interiors, inflight entertainment and passenger comfort industries.

If you are planning to visit we would be delighted to welcome you on to our stand.

For more information please go to:

http://www.aircraftinteriorsexpo.com/