As Labtech Microwave, one of the UK’s leading designers and manufacturers of microwave solutions and bespoke microwave component technology celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, the company is evaluating its past achievements, taking stock of its position in the current climate and looking to the future.
Established in 1984 at Presteigne in Wales, with the aim of specializing in non-standard PCB production, it soon became one of the first independent companies in the UK to manufacture PTFE metal backed microwave PCBs. Labtech Microwave was bought by Intelek plc in 1990, received the Queen's Award for Export Achievement in 2001 and acquired the microwave component design and manufacturing facility at Milton Keynes, England in 2005. In addition, the company attained the ISO 9001 (procedures) accreditation in the early 1990s and ISO 14001 (environmental) in 2003.
Labtech Microwave still employs two of the three original personnel from the early ‘80s – Chris Flynn, who started as a plater and lab technician and is now the production manager, and Nicky Preece, originally a process technician and now the multi-layer production supervisor. Commenting on the changes since 1984, Flynn said, “Updating the essentially manual production processes with CNC automation led to major changes in my operational area at Labtech.”
Brian Mazonas, managing director, who has been with the company since 1997, added, “Labtech’s progression over this time may be highlighted by the changes in how the market for our products has altered. The telecommunications boom that started in the late 1990s and led to our position as a major supplier to Ericcson; a relationship that is still very strong; the ITAR restrictions imposed on trade with the US after 9/11 and the switch by some of our major commercial customers to favoring low cost SE Asian manufacturers, have significantly affected the direction and markets we’ve moved into.”
Looking to future prospects, he continued, “The future holds many challenges for the business. However, our flexibility and ability to react to these changes continues to provide opportunities and a strong base for sustainability. Although we do offer standard products, Labtech Microwave has made a name for itself as a manufacturer of bespoke microwave technology. With continued investment to improve our manufacturing tolerances, capabilities and processing, we remain committed to meeting customer demands for a diverse range of complex microwave products that encompass the latest advanced features.”