SAMEC Builds Circuit Board Prototypes Meeting the requirements for CSIRO and Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) Telescope.
Since 2004, the CSIRO has worked with SAMEC Pty Ltd to engage their help with the development of prototypes for many exciting and innovative projects.

Early 2019, the SAMEC Prototype and Compliance team was an integral part of the team to complete the core construction of the CSIRO Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) telescope, the world’s fastest survey telescope.  The project involved the manufacture of the initial components of the receiving systems and digital electronics,

Working together with the CSIRO Design team were the SAMEC team, comprising of electronic, manufacturing and compliance specialists, and manufacturing personnel. By combining our respective talents, we achieved a remarkable feat involving building and installing highly complex electronic circuitry in a complex volatile environment. We’re proud to know our work has made a valuable contribution to the efficient operation of the ASKAP telescopes and enhance our understanding of space.

Following is an overview of the project and our role and results.

Project Scope and Innovative Solutions

Contract manufacturer to assemble circuit board.
Our team sourced the right plant and automation equipment to enable the production of the boards.

Setting up Security Protocols and Compliance.
Given the sensitive and highly confidential nature of the project, it was imperative we establish the security protocols to protect Intellectual Property for the design and development of the components.

Development of the production process.
Our SAMEC team had to assume control of the plant and redesign the production process to suit the manufacturing requirements of the circuit boards. This required fine-tuning the process to ensure every facet of the production was accurate.

Testing phase for circuit boards.
Critical to the success of the project, our team worked tirelessly to cover all bases, especially as the circuit boards were extremely complex to assemble and calibrate. Each circuit board was first visually inspected, then put through optical inspections, before being tested and retested through various platforms. This testing process was essential to guarantee the boards performed 100 percent before leaving the manufacturing plant.

Our Role – Management and Operations

The SAMEC Prototype and Compliance team led by Director Arjang Safa was responsible for overseeing the production of the first six telescopes’ printed circuit board assemblies (as the proof of concept) and to manage the testing process from start to finish

This was a very complex operation due to very stringent requirements involving cutting edge technology. Our team overcame numerous challenges and delivered on time and within budget six fully tested and operational sets of circuit boards that worked perfectly on the first attempt.

Outcomes – Successful Delivery and Compliance
The successful delivery of all six prototype components for the ASKAP telescope on time and on budget. Our team streamlined the manufacturing process and ensured all compliance requirements were met to enable the easy production and installation of the additional circuit boards in the future.

Following the project’s success, additional circuit boards were produced and installed for up to 24, ASKAP antennas in Australia.

This was a fantastic achievement for Australia, especially as it’s likely, the CSIRO’s technology and our production protocols and processes will be used to manufacture circuit boards for ASKAP telescopes around the world.

The SAMEC team is exceedingly proud to have been part of this unique and robust project. We thoroughly enjoyed working alongside the CSRIO to help make the ASKAP a resounding success.