Antennas & Propagation

We will design and build antennas for your unique business requirements.

An investment in 3D electromagnetic field solvers, together with years of practical experience allows us to rapidly design custom antenna solutions in any useful frequency band for our clients. Our recent work at mm-wave frequency is underpinned by an ability to model structures accurately and employ advanced fabrication methods.

A few of the skills we employ:

  • Antenna design, antenna modelling, antenna manufacture
  • HF, VHF, UHF, microwave frequencies, mm-wave frequencies, narrowband, wideband
  • Electrically small antennas, electrically large antennas
  • Monopole, dipole, loop, patch antenna, slot antenna, planar inverted-F antenna (PIFA), horn antenna, tapered-slot (Vivaldi) antenna
  • Electronic scanning, phased arrays, frequency scanning, leaky wave
  • Waveguide, substrate integrated waveguide (SIW), microstrip
  • 3D electromagnetic simulation, finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method, Method of Moments (MoM)
  • Ground wave, surface wave, ionospheric propagation, tropospheric propagation, urban and suburban propagation, cellular propagation, indoor propagation, two-ray propagation, ground reflection coefficient
  • Polarisation, linear, elliptical, circular, vertical, horizontal, right-hand, left-hand, RHCP, LHCP
  • Radio noise, radio noise measurement, radio noise modelling, radio noise analysis
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Communication Systems

Communications systems are intrinsic to our heritage as providers of bespoke solutions.

We will adapt your existing network for new markets or inputs, configure technology for a specific desired use or design new applications entirely.

A few of the skills we employ:

  • Development of bespoke high level/system design communication networks
  • Self-organising multi-hop networks using directional antennas
  • Concept and development of IoT smart city solutions
  • Vehicle communications and telemetry, such as stolen vehicle recovery transceivers, fleet monitoring networks, and parking sensorsIn-field wireless medical telemetry for hospital-based patient monitoring
  • PCB troubleshooting with testing and laboratory capabilities
  • Transferable experience and knowledge in communications systems across market verticals including, Defence, Security, Aerospace, IoT and Consumer
  • Low data rate low power wide-area network (LPWAN) solutions
  • High volume and low volume specialised products
  • Innovative and cost-effective consulting with real-world application
  • Adapting existing systems for new markets
  • Secure communications links to bespoke base stations
  • Rapid prototyping of candidate technologies, such as optics, sensors and radio

Data Exploitation

Our expertise is to apply technology that meets and grows with data requirements, from custom sensor applications to massive IoT cloud deployments.

We build the infrastructure to manage your data, use machine learning to interpret your data, and create a user interface to visualise and present it.

A few of the skills we employ:

  • Machine Learning, Neural Networks, Artificial intelligence, Deep belief networks, Graph Based Methods, Clustering Algorithms, Supervised Classification, Unsupervised Classification, Deep learning, Dempster-Shafer Theory, Transferable Belief Model, Classification, Pattern recognition, Bayesian classification, Data fusion, Clustering
  • Databases, Big Data, RDBMS, SQL Server, MySQL, MongoDB, Apache Hadoop, GIS, GEOINT
  • Data visualisation, Image processing, Stereo Vision, Communications, ESM, ECM
  • Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft AWS, Web Development, Application Development
  • Multivariate analysis, Doppler analysis, Global Optimisation, Statistics, Spectroscopy, Radar, Physical modelling, Sensor Analysis, Target tracking, Anomaly Detection, Particle filtering, Kalman filtering
  • Sensor Output Fusion, Knowledge Extraction, Enhanced situational awareness, Fleet management, IoT, Business intelligence,
  • Industry 4.0ASP MVC, WPF, .NET, C#, JavaScript, Ajax, JQuery, REST, SOAP, WCF, IDL, Matlab, Python, Keras, Tensorflow
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Embedded systems

Embedded Systems

Embedded systems are at the core of what we do; we deliver the intelligence that makes products work.

Our team is able to develop a wide range of embedded systems including IoT smart city applications, medical devices, imaging technology and communication systems.

A few of the skills we employ:

  • Systems Engineering
  • Microcontrollers, microprocessors, System on Chip
  • FPGA/CPLD
  • Embedded Linux
  • Real-time software/RTOS
  • Bare metal programming on highly constrained hardware
  • Designing for low SWAP
  • Networking and wireless communications
  • C, C++, VHDL, others as necessary (quick learners)
  • Low-level debugging, fault finding

Internet of Things (IoT)

We will design and build IoT technologies for your unique business requirements.

Plextek has developed market leading IoT solutions for a variety of industries including public safety, security, smart cities, healthcare, transport, automotive and defence. Our experts have decades of experience in creating smart sensor devices, IoT data management platforms, client applications and analytics for complete end-to-end IoT solutions that have been tested in the market over many years. Plextek excels in the area of IoT amongst other fields.

A few of the skills we employ:

  • Smart sensors
  • IoT device connectivity
  • 4G cellular LTE NB-IoT, LTE-M
  • 5G cellular NR-IoT
  • Non-cellular LPWA technologies
  • Sigfox, Ultra Narrow Band (UNB)
  • LoRa, Zigbee, NFC
  • Hybrid technologies TETRA-LTE NB-IoT
  • IoT and data warehouse platforms
  • IoT analytics
  • Secure IoT communications
  • Dashboard and analytics for IoT client applications
  • Expertise in using cloud IoT stack for rapid development
  • Wide-ranging IoT client applications and development environments
  • Long range, low-cost IoT sensors and miniaturised devices
  • Ultra-low power IoT device development and power harvesting
  • Micro-services architectures
  • Big Data & Containerisation
  • Statistical Modelling & Machine learning for IoT solutions.
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Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

Machine Learning is often found at the core of Artificial Intelligence.

Machine learning techniques allow us to devise state-of-the-art smart products for our customers that use computation to improve their performance and utility over time. We combine machine learning with models of the known environment to provide efficient transparent and explainable Artificial Intelligence so you can have faith in the performance of your technology.

A few of the skills we employ:

  • Creating and implementing advanced machine learning algorithms
  • Using supervised, unsupervised or reinforcement learning approaches appropriate to the application
  • Embedded AI within small or miniature devices for IoT applications and sensors on the ‘edge’
  • AI for remote and autonomous systems
  • Creating explainable AI models to meet appropriate legislation
  • Building and implementing embedded systems the end user can trust
  • Combining machine learning with models of the known environment to provide efficient transparent artificial intelligent assistance

Manufacturing

Plextek’s manufacturing team will translate your ideas into robust, scalable, tested and approved designs.

Our PCB and mechanical teams are co-located to share data and allow an agile and responsive design process.

A few of the skills we employ:

  • Creating manufacturable designs: We can contribute from concept phase onwards to implement manufacturable designs of appropriate cost and quality whilst considering and resolving conflicts with performance requirements.
  • Proven experience: Planned and implemented the manufacture and distribution of over 6 million units using off-shore manufacturing. As well as, low volume high value manufacturing in the UK for security/defence contractors. This includes providing cost-down savings.
  • Supplier selection and management: Detailed network of a range of suppliers that we can use to benefit our clients, ranging from additive manufacturing and demanding PCB technology through to high volume commercial plastic mouldings and metalwork.
  • Logistics: We anticipate and resolve customs, duty and tariff issues, including defence related export restrictions and the shipping of various battery types.
  • Environmental Legislation: Capable of managing and working to the requirements of processes such as, REACH, RoHS and other stringent manufacturing regulations.
  • Personal Ownership: Providing a single point of contact for all your manufacturing requirements with the knowledge to only involve the most appropriate colleagues, suppliers or third parties that best address our client’s requirements.
  • Technically challenging designs: Experienced in implementing challenging designs driven by size, functionality or cost.
  • Costs down: Appreciation of user requirements combined with knowledge of design and experience in commercial negotiations, allows us to reduce the cost of manufactured products, saving the customer money and increasing revenue.
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Millimeter Wave

New, emerging technologies have opened up the world of millimeter-waves to more cost-sensitive applications.

Operation in the millimeter-wave bands offers you capabilities in a compact form that are not possible at lower frequencies. Our team has delivered multiple successful millimeter-wave projects for clients, which is why we consider ourselves to be the market experts in this area.

A few of the skills we employ:

  • Integrated mm-wave antenna and array design: The antenna is an important—but often overlooked—component in most RF systems; for systems operating in the mm-wave bands, this is especially so. Achieving wideband performance for low-profile designs as well as high efficiency is particularly challenging. Our experience has shown that designing a mm-wave system around the antenna solution and integrating with the circuit design directly (removing lossy and expensive interconnects), whilst challenging, is often the most effective way to achieve the best overall system performance.
  • MM-Wave module design: Often large systems require separate, high-performance modules to carry out a dedicated task. At Plextek we have experience designing mm-wave modules using both packaged and unpackaged components, such as die-based transceiver designs, to achieve the desired performance.
  • MM-Wave frequency synthesiser design: To operate in the mm-wave bands, it is necessary to generate a mm-wave signal. Frequency synthesisers are the basis for most RF systems, so performance is critical. Depending on application, different requirements need to be prioritised. These could be: low phase noise, wide tuning range, low harmonic and spurious products, precise frequency accuracy, fast settling time and frequency synthesis with direct modulation.
  • MM-Wave PCB design: We have carried out a number of different PCB designs using a variety of substrates, builds and finishes operating at mm-wave frequencies for cost-effective and high-performance solutions alike. We have pushed the boundaries of PCB technology to extract the best possible performance, reliability and cost reduction for our clients.
  • Printed mm-wave components: PCB technology has given us the ability to etch features directly out of copper for a low-cost implementation of passive components, such as printed filters, directional couplers, power splitters, baluns or impedance transformers etc. Whilst circuit simulation provides a reasonably accurate prediction into operation of such components at lower frequencies, 3D electro-magnetic simulation is vital at mm-wave frequencies. At Plextek, we have access to different electro-magnetic simulation tools, which allow us to select the most appropriate tool for the job.

Product Design

Product design plays an integral part of everything we interact with in our daily lives and is a key factor in commercial success. We work to develop innovative product designs for our customers whilst ensuring integrity for the whole system.

A few of the skills we employ:

  • Mechanical design – Geometric tolerancing, 2D, 3D, Creo, parametric
  • Process analysis – DFM, DFA, DFT, DFMA, Process control
  • Value engineering – Castings, progression tools, Injection moulding, assembly modelling, materials analysis
  • 3D modelling – Model Based Definition, Creo, Spaceclaim, Keyshot texture rendering
  • Additive Manufacture – SLS, FDM, MLS, DMLS, Digital printing, Rapid Prototyping, Digital Metal
  • Mechanical modelling – Importing ECAD files, Stress analysis, Thermal analysis, Kinetic moment analysis
  • Manufacturability – DFM, DFA, DFT, DFMA analysis
  • PCB design – copper balance, Impedance control, RF, Metal backed, HDI, Flexible circuit, multilayer, Printed filters, exotic materials, Mentor Graphics
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Radar Systems

Plextek has a long heritage in the development of optimal RF solutions specifically designed to meet the needs of high-performance radar and communication applications.

Whether it is adapting and configuring existing technology for a specific application or designing new applications entirely, our team, paired with our laboratory and testing capabilities, provides our clients with world-leading radar solutions.

A few of the skills we employ:

  • End-to End Client Solutions: Bespoke design, development and delivery
  • Technology assessment and identification
  • Advanced Antenna Design: Parabolic, Waveguide, Phased Array Antenna design, UHF, microwave frequencies, mm-wave frequency options
  • Radar Signal Processing: CPU, GPU, Embedded Systems, FPGA
  • Radar Software Analytics: Target Detection, Tracking, Discrimination, Association and Classification.
  • Radar Sensor Fusion: EO/ IR PTZ camera integration (slew to cue)
  • Radar Command & Control (C2): Radar Human Machine Interface (HMI) & Graphical User Interface (GUI)
  • MM-Wave Design and Instrumentation: transmitters, receivers, frequency synthesizer & multipliers, SA frequency extenders, harmonic mixers, VNA extenders
  • Design for testability, design for manufacturing

Sensor Systems

We make sensor systems for our clients that gather relevant information about the world around them, ensuring that the information is timely, unambiguous, accurate and easy to interpret.

We have engineered systems to measure a great range of different parameters, from radar sensors that provide spatial information about the world, through to contact sensors that detect electrical signals on the human body or buried sensors that detect the presence of a parked car. These often require a carefully crafted combination of sensor physics, analogue signal manipulation and digital signal processing.

A few of the skills we employ:

  • Radar – mm-wave, SAR, FMCW, high-resolution, Doppler, e-scan, low SWaP, micro radar, imaging, harmonic radar
  • Biomedical sensors – ECG, blood pressure, ABR, ECOGH, EEG, respiratory, nerve signals, heart rate, driven right leg
  • Inertial sensors – accelerometers, gyroscopes, pedestrian dead-reckoning, gps-denied
  • Environmental sensors – Magnetometers, barometers, temperature, humidity, gas
  • Wireless monitoring – sensor integration into COTS or custom communications infrastructure
  • RF Spectroscopy – materials analysis and identification, reflectometry
  • Integrated sensor systems – low power data acquisition, processing, communications, user interface
  • System simulation and modelling, fusion algorithms
  • Analog signal conditioning and digitisation – low noise, high-bandwidth, high CMRR, high dynamic range, wide-bandwidth
  • Approvals – CE, FCC, EMC, Medical (EN60601)
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Signal Processing

Our signal processing service produces results that operate in the real world with the required performance levels and reliability for your business.

We understand your challenges and derive high quality solutions through modelling, mathematics, complex DSP algorithms, hardware and software engineering.

A few of the skills we employ:

  • Mathematical analysis
  • VHDL/ FPGA design, interfacing, whole process design chain
  • Xilinx certified; Vivado, HLS and ISE
  • MATLAB
  • Mathematical modelling
  • Compressed sensing
  • Real-time analysis and processing
  • Real time radar signal processing; FMCW, Doppler, CFAR, Displays
  • High performance signal processing
  • Low size, weight, power and cost solutions
  • GPU Processing, supporting frameworks, such as: CUDA®, OpenACC and OpenCL
  • Logic-based signal processing algorithms
  • Radio, 3G and base station signal detection and tracking, linear and non-linear detection techniques, such as: parallel detectors and model channel fading

Software

Plextek has developed market leading software solutions for a variety of industries including infrastructure monitoring, telematics, healthcare, IoT and smart lighting.

Our experts have decades of experience in creating state of the art software solutions that have been tested in the market over many years.

A few of the skills we employ:

  • Dedicated Private Servers
  • Cloud Services (Microsoft Azure, AWS)
  • Databases (Relational / NoSQL / Cloud / On Premise)
  • Application Engines
  • Intelligent Data Processing
  • Sate Machines, protocols, device management
  • Proven over the air firmware update procedures
  • Hybrid application covering multiple platforms (IOS + Android)
  • Cloud Computing & Virtualisation
  • Scalability using Containers and its orchestration using Dockers / Kubernetes / Apache Mesos
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Technical Services

We deliver rapid developments at a competitive cost and in a timely manner. Services range from mechanical prototyping, to assembly and technical re-work, requiring precision placement of the smallest of modern components.

Rapid Assembly

Due to our extensive network and supplier relationships we are able to source components at short notice to meet our clients’ needs. We source parts from ISO9001 and ISO13485 approved suppliers, offering full certification and traceability.

We offer hand assembly of PCBs, with the capability to accurately place surface mount components as small as 0201. Completed PCBs are typically assembled into custom enclosures, enabling us to deliver a complete functional prototype to our clients in the shortest practical time. Our highly experienced team takes a real pride in the personal ownership of all tasks, ensuring delivery of high-quality product, whilst meeting required deadlines and cost.

Prototyping

We cover all types of prototyping, offering a flexible working relationship with our clients. Our engineering team is able to realise a wide range of bespoke products. By applying modern materials and techniques for small production runs, we can offer our clients a quick route to an initial ‘finished product’, often allowing the opportunity for a final production design to be optimised for high-volume manufacturing.

Mechanical/Electrical

We have the ability to fabricate and assemble custom parts in most common materials in-house, and can undertake all types of wiring from 3-phase mains to miniature semi-rigid coax, and from commercial to military. We can also specify and design sub-assembly parts and test jigs for the custom parts that we produce.

See the case studies for our latest R&D work

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