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Space the final frontier for Newbury Electronics

Space the final frontier for Newbury Electronics

Not content with supplying prototype printed circuit boards (PCBs) for everyday designs and developments, some of Newbury Electronics’ recent boards are being used in the development of a space-borne GPS receiver.

This is the latest in a string of projects that the company has completed for Dr Ben Kieniewicz, founder and director of European Engineering & Consultancy (EECL).

The design was a preliminary run to allow EECL to test it at a fraction of the cost of using a dedicated, high-reliability manufacturer with extensive experience of space hardware production.

Dr Kieniewicz said: “We are working on several projects here at EECL, the most notable of which are a space-borne RF front end for a cutting-edge GPS receiver to give a spacecraft millimetre positioning accuracy, and a novel Analog Beam Former Network for the European Space Agency.

“These designs typically require a degree of prototyping to get the best possible performance and having a partner that we can rely on to keep the budget on track, and who is willing and able to correct a situation if things go wrong, is extremely important.

“We use Newbury Electronics for all the prototype runs as they are an excellent producer of quick turnaround, quality hardware.”

Newbury Electronics’ recently-appointed managing director John Rowley said: “Many of the PCBs we produce for them use unconventional components.

“This includes many free issue parts – due to the requirement for batch control in the space industry it has been essential that as a supplier we are able to adapt.

“A recent project required one part to be replaced due to its radiation resilience and this required fitting a leaded component to a surface mount pad.

“Then each part was hand soldered to the board to ensure that the overall quality was not compromised.”

Having a UK supplier is also important for EECL as technology import and export licences can be time-consuming and very often having products assembled outside the UK can cause problems with ITAR and US purchased parts.

Dr Kieniewicz said: “Newbury Electronics’ flexible and fast turnaround service, combined with the option to generate a quotation online instantly and submit my design on a given day with the option to expedite it quicker if the need arises, are all factors in our continued work with the company.”

Newbury Electronics, based in Faraday Road, has been trading for 63 years.

It offers its customers some of the most advanced contract electronic manufacturing solutions in the UK.

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