Flann Microwave is celebrating 60 years of success which has seen the company become the market leader in the design and manufacture of precision microwave communications equipment.
It has been a remarkable journey for the business founded in Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, UK, in 1956 by engineer Bernard Fleming, who took his experience in radar and combined this with a passion for innovation and insight into the potential of waveguide technology.
Today the 60-strong team based in Bodmin, Cornwall, UK – where the company relocated in 1970 – continues to build on Flann’s global reputation, with exports accounting for more than 80 per cent of production.
Highlights in the first 60 years include Flann’s early work during the creation of Goonhilly Earth Station in Cornwall (at one time the largest satellite earth station in the world – and a facility we are still supporting more than 50 years on), the creation of the first computer-controlled waveguide attenuator and developing the precision microwave standards used to calibrate measurements by national metrology labs including NPL (UK), NIST (US) and most other countries.
Flann’s innovations have been pivotal in the development of mobile telephone networks, from the very inception of the technology through to the huge growth in mobile use over the last two decades and right up to our ongoing work on next generation 5G communications.
Indeed the range of applications for our technology has grown over the years and Flann now makes critical components and test equipment for waveguide-based applications as diverse as national air traffic control and airport security systems, traffic light radar sensors, collision avoidance technology for cars and secure communications networks.
Our customers include the major telecoms companies, governments and military, universities, broadcasters, all the prime UK, European and US and defence manufacturers, Airbus and the UK Met Office.
Dr James Watts, Chief Executive, said: “Whilst we are globally recognised in our field and export more than 80 per cent of production, we have tended to quietly get on with the job. However, 60 years is a significant milestone for Flann and a good reason to be celebrating the achievements of the company, the highly talented team who have made it all possible and to thank our customers and partners for all their support.
“At the very heart of the business and its workforce is a spirit of innovation, commitment to engineering expertise, attention to detail and customer service. This has been the foundation for our success to date and our on-going policy of maintaining the highest standards gives us the confidence that the company’s global reputation for quality, reliability and performance will continue into the future.”
Bernard Fleming continued to lead Flann until his death in 2002, aged 76, and the company remains family-owned under the chairmanship of Bernard’s wife, Colleen.
“I’m incredibly proud of the company, its values and of the people working here,” said Colleen. “Quality was the hallmark of Bernard’s life and he was uncompromising in the standards he set himself, the business and its products.
“It is so important that his legacy continues and I’m delighted to say that it does, through the team of people here, many of whom have been with Flann for decades, and the values being passed on by them to the future generations of engineers who join us as apprentices.”