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Labtech Microwave: Labtech Microwave undertakes major investment in new machinery

May 03, 2008

One of the UK's leading design and manufacturers of standard and bespoke microwave component technology has invested in new machinery at its Presteigne microwave printed circuit board (PCB) production facility, with the aim of improving processes, efficiency and manufacturing capability.

At a combined cost of �180,000 Labtech Microwave's latest investment consists of a March PCB-1600 plasma treatment system and a Hurco VMX24 machining centre. The PCB-1600 will provide increased capability for producing plated-through-hole Teflon and ceramic substrate PCBs; offer uniform treatments for blind vias, higher aspect ratio holes, and a faster, more reliable removal of residual resin on the PCB surface following laser cutting. As well as having the capacity to process solvent sensitive microwave PCB materials such as RO3000 and RO6000, the machine will contribute to the company's environmental impact targets by reducing their reliance on Fluoroetch (the removal of fluorine from Teflon based PCB substrates).

The Hurco VMX24 machining centre's key features include a CAD/CAM (computer aided design/manufacture) interface which can reduce programming by up to 50% and as a result will help Labtech Microwave to reduce lead times. Labtech Microwave's present product mix is characterised by smaller batch sizes, complex and higher tolerance work. This often requires operator intervention and special programming which can affect run times and impact cutter usage on some jobs. The multi axis VMX24 achieves tolerances of better than �0.025mm and the 24-station automatic tool changer goes from tool-to-tool in three seconds.

Commenting on the investment, Brian Popsys, operations manager at Labtech Microwave said: "After reviewing the need to meet a more technically demanding product mix, we have decided to add a latest generation machining centre and the March plasma machine. The new plasma machine is much more flexible to use, requires less power and fulfils Labtech Microwave's goal of reducing our environmental impact. The Hurco VMX24 will enable more efficient production of metal-backed PCBs and boxes for component manufacture."

Labtech Microwave will be exhibiting at MTT-S/IMS in Atlanta, Georgia, USA from 17 - 19 June 2008, stand no: 634.

About Labtech Microwave

Established in 1984, Labtech Microwave provides a total microwave solution with specialist capabilities in design, manufacture, assembly and testing. Highly engineered microwave components and build-to-print microwave manufacturing services are offered to the defence, telecommunications and satellite communications sectors. Located at two dedicated manufacturing centres in the UK, Labtech Microwave's site at Milton Keynes specialises in microwave component manufacture including MIC (Microwave integrated circuits) assembly whilst the operation in Presteigne is dedicated to microwave printed circuit board manufacture.

Labtech Microwave is part of Intelek plc (AIM: ITK), whose activities include the design and manufacture of electronic systems and components for the satellite, wireless communications and defence sectors as well as aerospace engineering.

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