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ETL Systems 2019 Year In Review

2019 year in review

ETL SYSTEMS YEAR IN REVIEW: New Products, An Acquisition and a Royal Visit

By Andrew Bond, Sales and Marketing Director, ETL Systems

2019 has been one of the most exciting years for ETL Systems. Kicking off the year with the acquisition of Atlantic Microwave in January, launching key new products, attending more global shows than ever before, ending with a royal visit at our headquarters in the heart of rural Herefordshire.


Moving into new markets: The acquisition of Atlantic Microwave

The year started with us acquiring Atlantic Microwave, a leading provider of RF and microwave components and satellite communication test equipment. Atlantic Microwave is well suited to ETL; offering a wide range of complementary RF products but providing to a different customer base, enabling us to grow and find new opportunities together.

The strategic acquisition of Atlantic has meant growing our RF product range and presence to diversify into new markets such as satcom testing. Testing is obviously important to our customers and Atlantic’s high-quality products are providing another avenue of resilience for ETL. 

This year we have co-exhibited at several international trade shows, including NAB and 3CDSE, with our cooperative relationship going from strength-to-strength, we have further collaboration planned for 2020.

New 4th generation Enigma RF Matrix

In March we launched six new upgraded models of our flagship Enigma L-band 32x32 Switch Matrix, for downlink and uplink signal management.

There are already over 1,000 of our Enigma Switch Matrices in operation worldwide, with new features added to our most popular matrix including variable gain, improved noise figure and increased power savings. Variable gain on each output as a standard feature allows greater control of each signal level. Unused routes on the splitter cards are unpowered to help save power. As with previous models, the latest generation has hot-swap, dual redundant CPU, PSU, and hot-swap single RF cards for enhanced resilience and minimal downtime.

The Enigma is a versatile Switch Matrix that can be used across a range of applications, including satellite communications, broadcasting, defence, and government communication systems.

Expanding our RF Components Sales Team

In response to growing demand for our RF components we appointed Bethan Sant as our newest Components Sales Executive. Since the team expansion we’ve won multiple large projects in Poland and Latin America for Waveguide RF components and amplifiers with RS485 controlled communications protocol.

The addition of an extra component’s sales executive has meant increased support for our global customers, with Bethan heading up sales for West and East Europe, Scandinavia, Russia, Africa, and Latin America, helping us to grow further across these regions.

Focusing on other projects of note, we also provided a sizeable system upgrade for an Eastern European Government, which included adding a second Vulcan Matrix, plus StingRay RF Over Fibre and Piranha LNB power supplies. Another project success, in conjunction with a European integrator, included providing fibre links and an expandable 128 x 128 switch matrix for an automatically controlled teleport in the Middle East.

Attending global exhibitions

At ConnecTechAsia, our key show for our Asian customer base, saw the debut of our latest products, including the new Enigma Switch and Harrier Switch Matrix.

We also co-exhibited with Atlantic Microwave at the Three Counties Defence and Security Expo (3CDSE). As well as demonstrating our 64 x 64 Hurricane L-band matrix, which is used to provide flexibility in the routing of antennas to receivers or modems, and our StingRay RF over Fibre range, which provides fibre links for short, medium and long distances. We also showcased a range of Atlantic Microwave products and components. This included aminiature synthesiser, which enables customers to test satellite performance without having to send live signals over the network, as well as the company’s range of test cables andcoaxial cable assemblies.


Launching new technologies in RF distribution

LEO launches are coming and will accelerate at an astounding speed, but no-one is really talking about the ground segment infrastructure that will be needed to support these launches. We have spent a great deal of time looking into this to ensure we are ready to support those launches. Among numerous product launches during the year our key product launches were at IBC this year. We launched a new compact 1U L-band RF matrix, Hawk . As well as being suited for High Throughput Satellite (HTS) gateways and deployable VSAT terminals, the Hawk is designed for RF signal routing in Low Earth Orbit ground stations, which will require compact designs with high resiliency and flexibility . The Hawk Matrix has capacity for two 8x8 matrix cards – which can be combining (fan-in) or distributive (fan-out) – for uplink and downlink applications.

We also launched our Falcon KU to L-band block down frequency converter at IBC. It is a completely new rack system product which is a major step forward in high density redundant frequency converter designs. This will be an important focus for us in 2020 offering more frequencies for conversion of uplink and downlink.

ETL Systems receives a royal visit

ETL was honoured with a visit from HRH The Prince Of Wales due to the huge success the company has afforded globally, while working from a rural location. HRH Prince Charles commented “It is wonderful to see such skilled engineering being applied in this particular field. Clearly you are producing very high quality, high standard equipment which is used to great effect by customers in over 180 countries. Ladies and gentlemen, I hope you go from strength to strength.”HRH The Prince of Wales was given a tour of our facilities, met the staff working at our Herefordshire HQ and presented us with a commemorative plaque. We are extremely proud of our rural heritage, developing cutting-edge technology amongst the apple orchards of Herefordshire, so it was a great honour for that to be recognised by such an important visitor.

HRH Prince Charles Visits ETL Systems LTD

Growth and Innovation: Plans for 2020

As the satellite industry continues to evolve and with such a vast number of new launches planned for the coming years, we are continuing to develop our products to meet those ever-changing needs. ETL continues to grow and we have extensive growth plans in place for 2020 including the launch of more frequency converters, development of some exciting new technology and attending more new global trade shows. We look forward to an exciting year ahead!