Scotland Electronics Ltd
Issue 134 November 2016
Meeting the demanding requirements of the oil and gas, aerospace and defence sectors amongst others, Scotland Electronics is a trusted specialist in the design and manufacture of bespoke motion control products
Scotland Electronics Ltd was founded in 1979 to oversee the design, manufacture and testing of bespoke motion control products across a wide range of industry sectors, including the oil and gas, energy, defence, aerospace and medical markets. Over the course of close to four decades, the company has established an enviable reputation as a provider of innovative, high-performance, high reliability electronic solutions and has extensive experience in the development and management of major programs. During its history, Scotland Electronics has continued to grow and expand its manufacturing capacity. The company is currently based in Forres, Scotland and has inhabited its present modern manufacturing facility since 2010, from where it has continued to provide quality electronic products to high-profile clients in a wide range of industries and applications.
Although the products manufactured by Scotland Electronics are highly technical and advanced components, these electronics are expected to endure some of the most hostile and challenging conditions across a host of industry sectors. “We specialise in the design and manufacture of motion control systems, primarily for harsh environments. Within our key markets these can include tank turret applications, motion control systems for UAV’s, fighter jets and unmanned ground vehicles including bomb disposal robots – our electronics are essentially required to withstand conditions including high-shocks, significant temperatures, high vibrations and pressures and high altitudes,” explains Sales & Project Co-ordinator, Marc Smith. “Within the oil and gas industry for example, we have spent the last three to four years working on downhole electronics that control the motors in down hole well intervention or drilling tools. As they are operating seven kilometres under the Earth, temperatures can rise to around 175˚C and even in the +200˚C range.”
Typically the robust electronics developed by Scotland Electronics are required to endure extremely high temperatures for over 1000 hours of operational time. While the company has established a proven track record within the oil and gas industry, the recent slowdown in the market caused by the drop in oil price has caused the company to increasingly focus on the defence and aerospace sectors. “We currently have several other on-going design projects within the defence market. One of which is a 15-kilowatt motor drive that controls the ballonets found on the world’s largest aircraft, the Airlander 10, which was created and built by Hybrid Air Vehicles. We provide equipment that controls the ballonets on the aircraft; these are two bags within the hull that take in and expel air in order to maintain stable internal pressure as the helium expands or contracts at different altitudes and temperatures. This is an exciting project for us, as it is a very unique application,” Marc says.
In reference to our other on-going aerospace or defence project, Marc goes on the say: “We are also working on a stabilisation system for a land vehicle application. This is essentially a missile launcher that is attached to the side of the turret of a light armoured vehicle. Our controller allows the vehicle to fire on the move with technology that ensures stability while the rocket is launched.”
During several decades of industry operation, Scotland Electronics has amassed significant experience that allows the company to fully understand both the synergies and the differences in developing technology for different environments. Furthermore, as the company has continued to invest in its manufacturing capacity it has acquired a full range of design, manufacturing and testing equipment that allows Scotland Electronics to provide a full suite of in-house manufacturing services. “Around two years ago however, we received an investment for buying some new machinery and with that we purchased an x-ray machine, which is used for x-raying our printed circuit boards. The unit has up to 360 x magnification, which allows us to check the solder paste for air voids for example. We have also acquired a 30,000g Shock Machine and a HALT & HASS machine, which stands for highly accelerated life testing, highly accelerated stress testing. This was bought around the field of oil and gas, where the tools that we develop are deployed in the down hole, high-temperature environment,” Marc says. “There are size restrictions within each of the environments in which we operate, for example the difference between one of our products in the downhole environment and the defence market is mainly determined by size restrictions. Downhole products have to be laid out onto boards that are slightly narrower and longer because they need to fit inside of a downhole tool, which can be only three or four inches in diameter. In the defence market depending on the application, it is often possible to have more room. With a tank application for example, we tend to have a little more space to play around with and need to provide a robust housing enclosure.”
Over the coming years Scotland Electronics will continue to build on its proven track record, while expanding its position within the global market by further demonstrating its commitment to high-quality design and manufacturing. “We would like to grow substantially and over the next 12 months we would like to finish our current designs and get them into manufacture, as well as to further develop our manufacturing facility and capability. We will consider other markets including the medium volume market, because currently we are very focused on low volume, high–quality products,” Marc concludes. “We are a British manufacturing company and for contracts such as the one with Hybrid Air Vehicles, the clients like the fact that we are a UK supplier and design organisation with a recognised level of quality. Often clients can find a cheaper service abroad but will come to us because we offer a level of quality and product reliability that cannot be guaranteed elsewhere.”
Scotland Electronics Ltd
Products: Design, manufacture and testing of bespoke motion control products