Producing components for Australia’s SKA Pathfinder digital systems

Small industry worked with the Commonwealth Science Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) to produce circuit boards and major components for Australia’s SKA Pathfinder digital systems.

A project on the scale of Australia’s SKA Pathfinder (ASKAP) relies on industry providing expertise in production, construction, installation and commissioning to demanding requirements. Such a project also introduces technical challenges that must be overcome in the design and construction of the telescope's components.

Advanced high-performance PAF receivers mounted on ASKAP antennas will produce an instantaneous and wide field-of-view using simultaneous electronic beams.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is working with Puzzle Precision to jointly develop and produce sophisticated electronic circuit boards and major components for ASKAP's digital systems. Puzzle Precision is a high-reliability electronic assembly service provider based in Newcastle, New South Wales. The high quality and accurate assembly and inspection service provided by Puzzle Precision ensures large scale delivery of intricate and complex electronics boards for ASKAP.

What first started as a handful of simple boards assembled for CSIRO's Compact Array Broadband Backend (CABB) project has now grown to thousands of units of complex boards and mechanical assemblies. These form part of ASKAP's innovative phased array feed (PAF) receivers and associated digital systems. Achieving exceptionally high yield on these cutting edge, high-volume, printed circuit boards is crucial to the project's success.

The ability of Puzzle Precision to meet the stringent demands of ASKAP demonstrates how small industry partners can provide industry-specific expertise to meet the requirements of highly technical equipment.

The relationship with CSIRO and the ASKAP team have contributed to the expanded production base of the company. Australian capability in the production of mission critical, highly reliable electronics has also been enhanced.

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Read about Australia’s involvement in the SKA project.

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