With a proven track record of many years of innovation in its field, Filtronic is proud to be based in County Durham, as one of the firms leading the rapidly expanding hi-tech sector.
Filtronic specialises in the design and manufacture of radio frequency (RF) from 300MHz up to 300GHz for vital sectors, such as aerospace and defence, space, critical comms for first responders, and the ever-evolving mobile phone infrastructure.
Based at NETPark, Sedgefield, Filtronic has come a long way since it began life as a spin-out of Leeds University in 1977.
Having gone through the telecoms boom, Filtronic built a great reputation and found its niche as a trusted, solutions-based company able to move quickly to address the latest market needs.
While R&D is at its core, the company’s base at the science park also is home to a manufacturing facility making equipment for some of the world’s leading technology suppliers.
Marketing manager, Fin Farrelly, explained: “The constant need to be able to transmit and receive more and more data means there is an ongoing need for innovation to make that possible.
“The way we communicate has changed dramatically and now we see mobile phone technology moving to 4G and 5G, which means there is an increasing need for more powerful mmWave transceivers that can deliver increased data back into the core network.
“As more data is collected new technologies are opening up possibilities for all types of use cases, from faster logistics to more efficient manufacturing processes to advanced healthcare.
“To address this, we have invested in significant R&D activity to develop our mmWave products – in simple terms you might describe them as bigger RF ‘pipes’ – down which we can deliver low-latency, high-speed data transmission.
“Of course, they are not physical ‘pipes’ but hi-tech wireless links with the ability to transmit what is known as ‘big data’. For example, there are large increases in video traffic on the network. Also, many devices use of newer technologies such as 4KTV, augmented reality and virtual reality.
“We are an AIM-listed company and our business case is based on accelerating market entry for our blue-chip client base. We provide customised solutions that deliver long-term sustainable advantage, through improved performance and reduced whole life costs.”
NETPark is an ideal base for Filtronic as there are many like-minded and complementary businesses based there – opening the doors for mutually beneficial collaborations and providing opportunities in emerging sectors, such as the space sector.
Fin added: “County Durham has a lot to offer, not least in terms of finance such as capital grants, incentives and investment, along with access to a skilled workforce.
“Together with our own investment it has meant we have been able to expand our manufacturing and testing facilities, so we can produce larger quantities enabling us to win work with other companies, accelerating our plans for growth.
“What we already make goes into many important products used in the aerospace and defence industries. And, as we always are looking to develop new tech, such as space applications, it is very exciting to have so many space technology companies and the North East Satellite Applications Catapult with us at NETPark.”
Filtronic is also looking at expansion into the transport sector, with the company involved in successful trials to improve connectivity on trains using mmWave transceivers. Another natural fit – taking into account Durham County’s heritage as the home of the first ever railway town and its current place at the forefront of the UK’s rail industry.