Interview: Nick Potts, MD of Printech Circuit Laboratories
We caught up with Nick Potts, MD of Printech Circuit Laboratories (PCL), which exhibits at the Europe and USA shows. PCL manufactures unique circuit boards, specializing in the production of cubesat antenna circuits with a main new business focus on the space antenna sector.
The company’s hand-crafted bespoke circuit-based components are suitable for a wide range of specialist applications including Formula 1 race cars. PCL’s boards are on dozens of spacecraft ranging from communications satellites such as Inmarsat-4 to space science missions for ESA and NASA, including Gaia.
Nick, please tell us a little about your company, Printech Circuit Laboratories.
Printech was formed in 1980. We’ve been supplying the space industry for at least 30 years now. The business is involved in development of new products traditionally within the space sector, but now more in the new space sector – with our specialty being design and build of antennas in short delivery times.
Which customer or market demands were the biggest drivers of your company’s opportunities for growth during the past three years?
The new space sector has been the biggest area of opportunity for us. This includes all areas of it, from design and build of antennas, through manufacturing of all sorts of solar cell carriers, including composite manufacturing and any other associated electronics.
Do you anticipate that those demands will continue to be your biggest growth drivers for the next three years or are you anticipating new trends?
I expect the antenna portion of the new space sector to continue growing as the ability to launch catches up with the expected constellations. Next up in terms of technology development will potentially be high-performing antennas, more steerable array technologies using lightweight materials and smart manufacturing techniques.
5G and high-throughput satellites are increasingly being requested in the market. What does this development mean for PCL’s antennas?
We might have already done a lot of the pre-development work, which is part of our standard business. Yes, there’s an opportunity still happening but we’re typically involved in the prototyping, rather than getting involved in the production.
How do you see the electronics and antennas for cubesat satellites and exploration missions developing over the coming 10 years?
Again, bigger satellites, more data throughput, bigger antennas or more powerful antennas to enable communication from greater distances out or greater data throughput.
We very much look forward to welcoming you back to Space Tech Expo in 2019. What are you looking forward to at the show?
I’m looking forward to the networking opportunities at the Printech booths, I hope that everybody will come by and experience some of the Printech hospitality, as we will have a differently themed bar in each hall.
And finally, what can you tell me about Quality Bear?
Quality Bear is the alter ego of Nick Howland, my sales manager. He’s basically become the company mascot and now has a growing following across the globe, with people trying to find out what his latest outfit is or the latest satellite he’s currently sitting on. Look forward to maybe experiencing some Qbear beer or gin in one of the Printech bars!
Printech Circuit Laboratories will be exhibiting at Space Tech Expo 2019 at booth 3017.