The TSS group is an interdisciplinary group of nine technician engineering staff. The group are split across two distinct locations within the Electronics Department and provide both technical design and build support to all Departmental research groups as well as direct support to all practical teaching. Three members of staff are predominantly based within our cleanroom suite and nano technology laboratories, the remainder cover all other areas including electronic and electromechanical.
The skilled group have expertise in a wide range of engineering skills, in particular the full range of the Electronics discipline but also in programming, embedded IT systems and increasingly in 3D mechanical design and manufacture utilising a range of in-house digital manufacturing equipment.
The group is managed by Mr Andrew (Andy) David White MIET, Senior MIEEE.
Andy joined the Electronics Department in 1983 initially as a trainee and has for a number of years managed this highly successful group.
The TSS group maintains and runs a number of hardware laboratories and workshops that provide essential support facilities to the research groups and teaching. The services it offers can range from simple advice, cable making and parts sourcing through system design and build, to full engineering project management including international representation.
The Clean Room facilities for fabrication and measurement of nano-scale devices.
This laboratory contains a comprehensive set of PCB production equipment able to produce through-holeplated PCBs.
The fabrication workshop, contains a range of electronic and mechanical tools for the construction and testing of electronic systems including packaging into instrument cases or equipment racks.
Equipment available in this area includes:
The fabrication workshop also holds a small Tool Makers Lathe and 4 Axis Auto Tool Change CNC Milling Machine which are both used by the technical staff in support of both teaching and research.
Using predominantly Autodesk CAD/CAM products the group uses 7 high end PC workstations for the design, simulation and output for production of 3D parts. These may be simple single parts through to complex fully assembled electromechanical machines.
One of the project laboratories contains an embryonic digital fabrication laboratory. The lab brings together several items of fabrication equipment as enabling technologies. A high speed Auto Tool Change Router and Drill allows a fast chemical free production of simple PCBs. A CO2 Laser Cutter enables CAD designed cutting and engraving of multi materials from glass through wood, rubber and Perspex and a high resolution Liquid Polymer 3D Plastics Printer enables the realisation of novel and imaginative enclosures and associated support hardware.
The TSS maintains a large array of electronic test equipment, the majority of which may be borrowed by research groups or used by undergraduates within the teaching laboratories.
A wide range of advanced equipment is available including:
Project management (including international collaborations)
RF systems design and manufacture
Microcontroller system design
Embedded PC systems
PC networking system design
FPGA and DSP system design
Electronic construction techniques
Spintronic device design, fabrication and characterisation
Semiconductor device design, fabrication and characterisation
Vacuum technology and electron optics
Synthesis and characterisation of magnetic materials for data storage
PCB design techniques
Electronic equipment and component sourcing
Teaching module specification and design
Health and Safety
The group has considerable expertise in Xilinx™ development systems, with many current taught modules and research projects making use of Xilinx FPGAs, and the teaching laboratories using the Xilinx University Programme programming and development software.
To support the higher requirements of our MSc in Digital System Engineering, a specialised teaching and project facility was developed by the group, providing a supportive environment where the students will design their own bespoke Spartan 6 development board. This board's design is focused on allowing the implementation of embedded systems for use in their group project and can include a selection of I/O, networking, displays and sensors.
The group has a successful record of designing, building and subsequent trial of complex electromechanical systems.
The group recently completed the design/build phase of a physically large machine of 3200m3. The 30kW computer controlled motion system is for use in a collaborative project with the Department of Biology's SkyGas project.
In the recent past the group have worked on a number of complex electro mechanical systems, the most recent being described immediately below. Older previous relevant projects are then recorded below that.
Scanner System for 3D Electromagnetic Field Measurements
This system was designed and built by the TSS team in response to a requirement of the Applied Electromagnetics Laboratory, which forms part of the Physical Layer Research Group, to accurately measure electromagnetic fields over a large (approximately 1m3) volume. Positional accuracy in all three axis was required to be an impressive 0.005mm. The TSS team designed the mechanical structure, specified the motors and drive systems, designed and built the custom electronic control systems, produced the bespoke control software programmes and realised the entire working system within the TSS facilities and utilising their expertise. Additionally, the unique field probe devised by the Applied Electromagnetics Group to be positioned by the scanner was designed and built by the TSS team.
2008–2009 Project to design and build experimental radio based technologies for inclusion in to unmanned air vehicles (UAV).
2008–2009 Electronic systems/control systems other than mmwave for European Space Agency funded novel train based steerable vsat satellite antenna project under contract no. 20836/07/NL/CB.
2006–2008 High altitude WIMAX communications payload. Design, build and trial full featured complex high altitude WIMAX payload.
2005–2006 Capanina high altitude payload. For trial 2, the design and build of payload and all payload support systems other than mmwave systems. Operation of successful mmwave ‘one off’ high altitude trial (79,000ft). Funded by the European Commission as an FP6 STREP.
1998–2001 The design, procurement and installation of 34GHz high power radar system.
1998–1999 The design, procurement, installation and operational handover of highly specialised 93GHz radiometer and support systems.
The technical support staff are located in a suite of rooms on the 4th floor and support the teaching and research work of the department. The group provides a full range of design and fabrication services, including PCB design and production, and circuit and system design and construction.
Technical Operations Manager
tel: +44 (0)1904 322412