Our outgassing (ECSS-Q-ST-70-02) test facility has seen increasing demand over the past few years and 2020 it seems is no different. The facility is currently booked until the second half of January 2021. If you are looking to book an outgassing test please contact us sooner rather than later to avoid disappointment.
Similarly our vacuum test chambers seeing an increase in demand towards the end of the year, so if you are looking to make an enquiry for an urgent test or looking to book a test for next year this is worth keeping in mind.
At the start of 2020 we took delivery of a new TVAC chamber which we had scheduled to come online mid 2020. However during the UK covid-19 response in March we undertook large scale improvements to our test house involving a new floor being poured and laid along with a complete re-wiring of the laboratory to support the additional equipment we have installed. This required a complete dismantling of all of our test chambers and equipment in order to clear the lab.
Due to this disruption, along with the increased test and manufacturing demand in the second half of the year, we have had to delay the commissioning of TVAC#3 into 2021. Work has continued on the machining of the thermal exchange plate and installation of the pumps on the chamber system. However final run-up and testing is not scheduled until the start of 2021. Once ready the additional chamber in our facility will increase throughput and reduce wait times for TVAC tests.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our customers who have either been using us for years or have just found is this year. We realise being busy is a very nice problem to have right now and so we thank you for choosing us for your test work.
We have had a very busy start to the year which is why ours news updates have been so few in the past 3 months. We are still very busy with test work (thermal vacuum bakeouts and thermal vacuum cycling) as well as building a large piece of bespoke test equipment for a new customer.
TVAC#1 has been down for maintenance longer than scheduled, primarily due to the sudden influx of test work at the beginning of the year which demanded our attention. We are now just about to begin pumping down and leak testing TVAC#1 and checking the new T/C's and heaters we have fitted. We will also be fitting a PID control unit for the IR heaters to this vacuum chamber so that it has the same capability as TVAC#2.
We have also had delays in obtaining materials required for commissioning our FTIR system for contamination monitoring during bakeouts. We now have everything in stock and will be working to get this established as soon as possible. Our first use of this will be to run blank bakes on our TVAC#1 vacuum test chamber to get it back in service. We will then be able to offer in-house FTIR analysis for contamination control for both our thermal vacuum bakeout facilities.
Finally, we have not reviewed our Outgassing (ECSS-Q-ST-70-02) facility charges for over 4 years and as such a price for this service is planned for later in the year. We will be announcing any changes via our news blog and our newsletter.
We are also building several 'Unisim Compact' solar simulators for in-house test work and demonstration. The updated design for 2016 includes a new enclosure system and shutter design that removes the need to compressed air and reduces the overall weight of the system.
The standard solar simulator will now also be shipped with a machined base plate that is capable of taking LED boost zone upgrades that can be fitted retrospectively. These LED boost zones allow the standard 2-zone close match solar simulator to be operated as a 4-zone close match solar simulator. More information on this mode of solar simulator operation is available here.
More details will be announced next month.
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