company insight sponsored by Euroquartz
Cleanroom Investment Program
At UK crystal manufacturer Euroquartz a decision has been taken to invest in new class 7 cleanroom facilities at their UK factory.
This significant investment ensures that the company will continue to be an important UK military oscillator facility for UK Aerospace and Defence contracts.
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What are the reasons behind this decision?
Cleanroom Technology offers a controlled environment that has a low level of pollutants such as dust, airborne microbes, aerosol particles, and chemical vapours.
The minimum requirements for the ISO 7 cleanroom classification include: 60 to 90 air changes per hour. 352,000 PPC (particles per cubic meter) at 0.5μm.
Regular monitoring of the particulates inside the cleanroom ensures that the HEPA filters are functioning correctly and that the air quality is maintained.
The improved facility will enable the company to produce a new range of surface mount products to add to their existing through-hole portfolio.
The first product which is due for sample release in the final quarter of 2019 will be a fully qualified 7x5mm clock oscillator suitable for military temperature range applications.
Cleanroom technology will enable the company to design and produce a more sophisticated range of oscillators incorporating bare die constructions.
This new facility has been developed specifically to facilitate low volume, high mix electronic manufacturing, ideal for aerospace and defence projects.
The second phase of the development planned will require further investment in equipment and the company has already commenced budgetary planning for this.
Euroquartz currently produce a clock oscillator that was designed for Space applications and this is an area that the company may wish to explore with the new facility in the future.
The existing products will also benefit from the cleaner environment and will secure UK production for the foreseeable future.
The reduction in crystal oscillator production facilities in the UK over the last ten years has meant that the UK aerospace and defence sector are dependent on product from offshore companies, mainly the USA.
Historically the UK ministry of defence would have used solely owned British resources for security reasons, but with globalisation this has become much more difficult in recent years.
Is the timing right ?
Consideration was given to the current global political climate and the confusion surrounding Brexit, it was felt that the timing is right for this significant program of investment.
There is a general feeling that the UK will need to become more self-sufficient in the new economic climate and technology will be a key factor in future growth.
The ambition of the company is to offer a range of high quality UK manufactured product for the aerospace and defence industries which is free from all ITAR restrictions.
The company has AS9100 revD certification and are a solely owned British company making them an ideal partner for UK aerospace and defence companies.
Euroquartz have been manufacturing quartz crystals and oscillators in the UK since 1982 during a time when the personal mobile radio (PMR) industry was thriving.
Since that time they have continued to manufacture high specification quartz crystals and military oscillators in their UK facility at Crewkerne in Somerset.