Meet the Team: Engineering Apprentice Lewis Childs

by Karen Gait 25. November 2014 12:00

SST, part of API's SSIA product line, is proud of our engineering department and the skills that our highly qualified personnel possess. Our engineers have demonstrated expertise in COTS product modification with in-house 3D CAD modelling and rapid prototyping, as well as electrical and electronics engineering across a wide range of products, environments, and customers.

As part of our acknowledgement of the importance of this skill set, we are delighted to have been able to recruit local student Lewis Childs as an engineering apprentice. Lewis will complete a four year programme and achieve a nationally recognised qualification whilst training on site at SST. 

Profile
My name is Lewis Childs, I’m 19, and I became SSIA-UK’s first Engineering Apprentice in August 2014.

Likes:

  • Playing football for my local club, Randwick FC
  • Cycling
  • Going to the gym and keeping fit
  • Socialising
  • I like food. A LOT. 

Why I Chose an Apprenticeship...
I have always been interested in product design and how things work. Through Gloucestershire Engineering Training I researched the Apprentice Programme and decided that this was the route that I wanted to take: ongoing education with hands on experience and the opportunity to work with and learn from other engineers. I am really looking forward to completing my first year of technical study at Gloucestershire College so that I can start full time at SST and become involved in the company.

What I Am Most Proud of...
I am very proud that I managed to get this apprenticeship. Being interviewed for this position was a new experience for me, and as I had researched API Technologies and SST on the internet, I was very keen to land the role. I feel that this is an exciting opportunity which I know I will enjoy. I do realise that it will be hard work but I think that it will be worth it, and puts me in a better position than a lot of young men my age. 

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Meet the Team | Secure Systems & Information Assurance

VIDEO: API Technologies Hawk-i™ Video Aiming Device Shot

by Jaymie Murray 21. November 2014 08:30

API's award-winning Hawk-i™ Video Aiming Device was designed with safety and effectiveness in mind. The device uses a camera and rangefinder that mounts on a PAN barrel and adapts to any PAN Disrupter robotic platform, allowing the operator to remain at a safe distance from a target while still accurately firing. After a quick five minute system integration with no calibration required, crosshairs appear over a video image which is then relayed back to the control station through the robot's weapons port. The Hawk-i™ automatically adjusts crosshairs as the robot moves closer to the target, enabling faster action and decreasing the chances of a misfire due to human error.

This short video shows the Hawk-i™ in action as it quickly and accurately disrupts an explosive device in the trunk of a car, all while the operator remains at a safe, remote location. Learn more about the Hawk-i™ Video Aiming Device or contact us to get a quote.


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Power & Systems Solutions

API’s DC SMARTStart® PDU & the US Navy’s “Swarm” Boats

by Jaymie Murray 18. November 2014 13:48

The US Navy recently announced that they have developed and successfully tested unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) also known as “swarm” boats. These autonomous vessels were designed to intercept enemy ships as well as to escort and protect naval assets, all while keeping sailors safe and costs down. Rather than putting the crews of several ships in harm’s way, a fleet of swarm boats can instead be used to engage with a threatening vessel and assess the situation. If weapons need to be used, a human sailor must then give the command, ensuring that the USVs do not accidentally or unintentionally fire. 

Controlled by a new technology called CARACaS (Control Architecture for Robotic Agent Command and Sensing), portable kits can be installed onto most current naval boats, allowing them to either operate autonomously or be controlled by a remote operator. These systems will be outfitted with API Technologies’ DC SMARTStart® Power Distribution Unit (PDU), a DC solid state power controller for switched power with built-in circuit protection. The PDU allows the operator to remotely power up the vessel’s loads or shut them down when they are not in use to conserve battery life. The DC SmartStart also functions as a system reboot that can be used in case of a power disruption or system freeze.

The DC SmartStart’s technical specifications make it ideal for use in unmanned vessels, vehicles, and aircraft: 

  • Input Voltage: -48 or +24 VDC with 12 channels
  • User configurable Solid State electronic circuit breaker technology
  • Flash upgradeable in the field
  • On-board SNMP agent
  • Six month event log

Learn more about the DC SMARTStart® PDU, read our datasheet, or request a quote.

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Power & Systems Solutions

Thin Film Conductors for Filled Vias: Copper vs. Gold

by Jaymie Murray 13. November 2014 16:43

While gold is an excellent substrate option for filled vias/plated through holes, copper has become the preferred technology for commercial packaging, hybrid manufacturers, and microelectronics providers. 

Copper vias offer better thermal conductivity and higher electrical conductivity for high reliability RF/Microwave and high power applications compared to solid gold filled vias. While the cost of gold has risen at a rate of 300% over past decade, copper continues to be an affordable, highly effective medium for thin film substrates. 

API's copper filled vias are manufactured in a MIL-PRF-38534 Class H & K facility and are fired in a nitrogen atmosphere to prevent oxidation. Diameters are available from 0.005" to 0.015" in order to fit customer needs. To learn more about API’s copper filled vias, visit micro.apitech.com/copper-filled-vias or contact us to get a quote.

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Infographics | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Q & A with Great Yarmouth’s Test House Engineer John Ellero

by Jaymie Murray 7. November 2014 09:21

API’s Great Yarmouth facility features a UKAS accredited test house with a US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Laboratory Suitability approval for performing tests in accordance with both MIL-STD 883 and MIL-STD 202, making it stand apart from other test houses in Europe. In this Q & A, John Ellero, Great Yarmouth’s Test House Engineer, explores what other attributes make our test house a unique proposition to our customers.

Q: What are some of the climatic tests that we perform?

A: We run a variety of environmental tests, including extreme high (250°C) and low (-65°C) temperatures, temperature cycling (gradual and/or thermal shock), humidity, vibration, and mechanical shock. Depending on the environment that the product will be used in, we may also do a combination of these tests. While the details of a certain set of specs may vary, the fundamental tests that we perform remain the same. What really sets us apart from other test houses are the variety of testing methods we offer coupled with the combination of approvals and certifications we have earned.

Q: The Great Yarmouth test house has had DLA Laboratory Suitability approval for MIL-STD 883 and MIL-STD 202 test methods for 25 years, has been accredited by the UKAS for the past 30 years. How difficult is it to achieve these approvals, and what does the process entail?

A: These approvals all have different sets of stringent requirements that are measured during the auditing process. The UKAS focuses more on our technical capabilities, whilst the DLA makes sure that we fully understand all of their numerous requirements. The fact that we believe we are the only test house in Europe to simultaneously hold UKAS accreditation, DLA approval, for MIL-STD 883 and MIL-STD 202 test methods is a good indication of how difficult it is to obtain them.

In addition to agencies like the UKAS and the DLA, we are also regularly audited by our customers. For us to be eligible to participate in certain space programs, a major US space agency's auditors join the DLA team to evaluate our test house. In fact, one agency auditor was so impressed by our operation he remarked that we had one of the best test houses he had ever audited. 

Q: Why would customers want to use our test house over their own house or one of our competitors?

A: Firstly, many companies that previously performed testing in-house have made the transition to outsourcing testing. It’s easier and more cost effective for them to utilize our test house rather than maintaining their own testing facility and equipment, gaining the necessary approvals and accreditations, etc. Outsourcing has become so attractive to our customers that we have seen our external testing double over the past few years. 

As for our competitors, we offer a unique suite of credentials that few other test houses can match. DLA approval is not common in the UK or Europe, and the requirements necessary to gain the approval are very stringent. The fact that we have obtained both DLA approval and MIL-STD 883 and MIL-STD 202 certification gives our customers excellent confidence in our capabilities. 

We also offer unique test methods to the UK and European markets: liquid to liquid thermal shock, high level constant acceleration, and high level mechanical shock up to 30,000g. A few years ago we upgraded our vibration testing equipment so that it can now take a static load of up to 500kg. This allows us to perform tests in many different stages of the supplier chain all the way up to full chassis testing.

Learn more about API's Great Yarmouth test house or request more information.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

[INFOGRAPHIC] API's Great Yarmouth Facility: 70 Years of Heritage

by Jaymie Murray 6. November 2014 09:52

API's facility in Great Yarmouth began 70 years ago as a humble factory creating components to aid in the war effort. Over the last seven decades, it has evolved to become one of the leading climatic and dynamic test houses in Europe, and boasts an impressive roster of products and solutions including thick film substrates, LTCC, surface mount assembly, chip and wire hybrids, multichip modules, and optical databus modules.

Just as it was at the very start, Great Yarmouth's customers are major companies in defence and military avionics, and that customer base has grown to include the oil and gas, communications, space, and civil aerospace sectors as well. While the offerings may have changed over years, API's Great Yarmouth facility's commitment to providing customers with high-reliability, high quality products, solutions, and services remains unchanged. 

Learn more about the Great Yarmouth facility's offerings or contact us

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Infographics | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Great Yarmouth Week: The Advantages of Converting to Hybrid Microcircuit Technology

by Jaymie Murray 5. November 2014 09:34

Learn more about API's Hybrid Microcircuits or request a quote.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Great Yarmouth Week Product Spotlight: Fine Line Thick Film Solutions

by Jaymie Murray 4. November 2014 09:21

Learn more about API's Thick Film solutions or request a quote.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Great Yarmouth Week: Fuel Pump Controller Case Study

by Lynda Hunt 3. November 2014 13:33

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Introducing Great Yarmouth Week 2014

by Jaymie Murray 3. November 2014 09:13

API's facility in Great Yarmouth, one of three located in the UK, has a rich, 70-year history of manufacturing and testing high-reliability electronic components, modules and sub-systems for harsh environments. Products designed, manufactured, and tested in Great Yarmouth are made to endure severe environmental stressors, including extreme temperatures, vibrations, and shock, making them perfectly suited for use in critical, high-reliability applications such as space, defence, oil and gas, and aerospace. 

With a range that includes a variety of products such as optical databus, RF components, microelectronics, and space grade electronics, plus a UKAS accredited test house, it would be nearly impossible to condense all of Great Yarmouth's capabilities down to just one post. Which is why all this week on the API Technologies Blog, we will be taking an in-depth look at the history, capabilities, and testing services of the Great Yarmouth facility. Follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Google+, and keep visiting this blog to learn more about all things Great Yarmouth.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

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