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Pioneering UK tech company marks 60 years of success by investing in the future
Pioneering microwave engineering company
Flann Microwave has celebrated 60 years of success by looking to the future with
an investment in a new coordinate measuring machine (CMM) to further enhance the precision manufacturing
and testing of its market leading waveguide and calibration technology.
Colleen Fleming, Flann Microwave Chairman, and Dr James Watts, Chief Executive, with
members of the Flann Microwave team
Ben Berger operating the new OGP CNC 300 CMM (coordinate measuring machine)
Flann Microwave products
With a 60-strong team based in Bodmin, Cornwall, UK, Flann has grown over six decades to secure a
global reputation for innovation and the production of precision microwave and millimeter-wave passive
waveguide components, sub-assemblies, calibration kits, and instrumentation to 500 GHz.
The company serves customers in the telecoms, government, automotive, aerospace, defence and research
sectors, exporting more than 80 per cent of production. It has also worked with UK and overseas government
agencies to write many of the standards used in the industry.
Dr James Watts, Chief Executive of Flann Microwave, said: "Sixty years is a significant milestone
for Flann and a good reason to be celebrating the achievements of the company and that of the highly
talented team here who have made it all possible.
"At the very heart of the business and its workforce is a spirit of innovation, commitment to engineering
expertise, attention to detail and customer service. This has been the foundation for our success to
date and our on-going policy of maintaining the highest standards and continuing to invest - for example
in this new CMM - gives us the confidence that the company's global reputation for quality, reliability
and performance will continue into the future."
Flann has already taken delivery of its new OGP CNC 300 CMM (coordinate measuring machine), which
incorporates TTL (Thru The Lens) laser measurement and has a standard accuracy of +/-1.8 um in
XY & +/-2.4 um in Z, although when used as a comparator Flann expects to be able to realise
+/-0.15 um or better.
It will enable engineers to automatically measure a part or assembly from an inspection program which
can be written in conjunction with the engineering drawing, picking faces of the 3d model of the part
and applying the geometric constraints and tolerances from the drawing.
Flann design engineer Nathan Miller said: "For many years we have produced the highest quality of
work in the industry and this will now demonstrate our commitment to customers to produce the very highest
level of precision inspection and mechanical validation.
"It opens up a whole raft of opportunities to Flann. Defining our capabilities, fine tuning part
setups, inspection reports (FAIR), ISO17025 (acting as a calibration lab), finding that problem we know
is there somewhere but just can't find and time saved in complex inspection."
Flann was founded in Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, in 1956 by engineer Bernard Fleming, who took
his experience in radar and combined this with a passion for innovation and insight into the potential
of waveguide technology. He relocated the business to a new purpose-built headquarters and engineering
facility Bodmin in 1970 and continued to lead Flann until his death in 2002, aged 76. The company remains
family-owned under the chairmanship of Bernard's wife, Colleen.
Colleen Fleming, Chairman of Flann Microwave, said: "I'm incredibly proud of the company, its values
and of the people working here. Quality was the hallmark of Bernard's life and he was uncompromising
in the standards he set himself, the business and its products.
"It is so important that his legacy continues and I'm delighted to say that it does, through the
team of people here, many of whom have been with Flann for decades, and the values being passed on by
them to the future generations of engineers who join us as apprentices."
With its roots in the development of radar during the Second World War, microwave and wave guide
technology forms the backbone of the digital communications network and is a vital part of the infrastructure
of modern day life.
Today digital data such as mobile phone signals, mobile internet, satellite and military communications
is carried using microwaves – high frequency radio waves between 2 and 500GHz.
Flann developed the technology to precisely guide (or pipe) these microwaves between electronic equipment
and transmitters / receivers – for example the dishes and antennas on mobile phone masts which link
the mobile network.
Flann also worked with UK and overseas government agencies to write the standards which ensure that
components and installation techniques used across networks are compatible - and its testing and calibration
equipment is used by all the major telecoms equipment manufacturers.
Highlights over the last 60 years include:
- Flann played a key role equipping the newly-built Goonhilly Earth Station, which received the first
live transatlantic television broadcasts from the United States in 1962 - and Flann is still supporting
the facility more than 50 years on.
- Developing the first computer-controlled waveguide attenuator – these measurement devices are used
to test and calibrate microwave data links for phone and mobile networks and are used 24/7, 365 days
a year by manufacturers all over the world.
- Developing precision microwave standards used to calibrate measurements by National Metrology labs
including NPL (UK), NIST (US) and most other countries.
- Design and manufacture of specialist waveguide components used in airport-type security bodyscanners.
- Involved in the manufacture, installation and test of precision waveguide equipment as part of the
upgrade of the country's Air Traffic Control Radar system. The 10-year project carried out by NATS,
the UK's air traffic management company, was completed in 2013 and involved upgrading or replacing all
of the UK's main 23 radar stations.
About Flann Microwave
For nearly sixty years, Flann Microwave Ltd has been a market-leading designer and manufacturer
of Antennas, Precision Microwave Components and Test and Measurement products operating between frequencies
of 2 to 500 GHz.
The company was founded in Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey in 1956 by Bernard Fleming and relocated
in 1970 to Bodmin in the South-West of England – an area renowned for its beautiful scenery and a popular
place in which to work, live and holiday.
The U.S. operation, Flann Microwave, Inc., was established in Boston in the 1980's to support the
Company's sales activities in the USA.
Flann Microwave Ltd
Dunmere Road Bodmin
Cornwall PL31 2QL
Telephone: +44 (0)1208 77777
Flann Microwave, Inc.
One Boston Place
Boston, MA 02108-4407
Posted March 16, 2017