3rd March 2020:  Cambridge-based Plextek Group has completed the sale of one of its spin-outs, the boutique microwave chip design business Plextek RFI Ltd, to Langford, Essex based CML Microsystems Plc. for an undisclosed sum, thus following the well-trodden Cambridge tech house model.

Plextek RFI was founded from within Plextek by Liam Devlin some twenty years ago and demerged into a separate limited company in 2015. It has earned an unrivalled reputation for right-first-time designs of RF, Microwave and Millimetre-wave (mm-wave) ICs and modules. The team has completed in excess of 100 IC designs, operating at radio frequencies up to 100GHz and is a third-party approved design house for a number of leading semiconductor companies globally. Design experience includes front end ICs for mm-wave 5G, broadband Monolithic Microwave ICs (MMICs), receiver, transmitter and power amplifier (PA) ICs for microwave links and GaN PAs for both commercial and defence applications. The designers, IP, order book and customer relationships are all part of the deal.

This represents the first outright sale of one of the Plextek Group companies. These are set up as sister companies and include:

  • Plextek Services Ltd (the original technical product design house):  which solves today’s hardest engineering problems in sensing, data collection and communications
  • Blighter Surveillance Systems Ltd: Best-in-class e-scan radars for border security, counter-drone, perimeter security, wide area surveillance & coastline security, including to Heathrow and Gatwick Airports and civil and defence customers in over 35 countries
  • Redtail Telematics: full stack providers of black box telematics to insurers, OEMs and fleets including Admiral, ByMiles, Concirrus, TRACKER Network, LoJack and young driver specialist Ingenie
  • Telensa Ltd (now co-funded by ETF and others): a world leading supplier of streetlight metering and management solutions, whose deployments exceed GE and Philips combined.

The marriage between Plextek RFI (PRFI) and CML arose out of a clear strategic alignment. “PRFI’s dedicated and experienced team enhances our

Plextek RFI Technologystrategy for expansion within communications markets. Their design expertise expands upon the Group’s existing skills and provides a new independent service and consulting income stream for CML” said Chris Gurry, CML’s Group Managing Director.

Plextek Group Chairman Dr Colin Smithers added “We are both delighted and saddened to see Plextek RFI come to maturity and to wave it off into its new beginning at CML where we are sure they will help directly with their strategic goals. The choice of deal partner covered many aspects including a strong cultural fit.”

PRFI will remain based at the Plextek campus in Great Chesterford.

For any queries regarding this release, please contact Colin Smithers directly on +447801398714

8th January 2020: Innovation and design consultancy Plextek has joined the Arm® Pelion™ and Mbed™ Partner Ecosystem, a growing group of leading embedded and cloud companies, component manufacturers, system integrators and OEMs committed to driving innovation in IoT.

The Pelion and Mbed Partner Ecosystem is focused on supporting openness, standards, technology and services needed to accelerate the development and wider adoption of IoT systems based on the Arm Pelion IoT platform, development tools and strong customer relationships. Plextek is an accredited Pelion and Mbed service provider, offering consultancy, engineering services and systems integration.

Shahzad Nadeem, head of smart cities at Plextek, said: “Our technical experience, partnered with Arm’s IoT technologies, competence and global reach, is an extremely significant development for creating effective and secure solutions for our clients. We are proud to be recognised for the quality of our engineering design over the past 30 years and to have been made an Arm Pelion and Mbed Foundation partner and look forward to continuing our strong working relationship.”

For more information on the Arm Pelion and Mbed Partner Ecosystem and list of partners, go to: https://www.mbed.com/en/partners/

Nigel Whittle, Head of Medical & Healthcare, features in Cambridge Wireless News article today on How 5G Could Transform the Delivery of Healthcare.

“The next telecommunication revolution is just around the corner: 5G or fifth-generation cellular wireless holds out the promise of downloading data at least 10x faster than today’s 4G services. 5G operates primarily on the millimetre spectrum – the band between 30 GHz and 300 GHz – (although other parts of the spectrum may be used for specialist purposes) and is able to transmit large packets of data quickly without clogging the network. The first noticeable change for consumers will be the fast delivery of communications and entertainment to mobile and fixed devices completely wirelessly.”

To read the full article Click Here.

6 November 2019: Plextek-DTS (Defence Technology Solutions) has been awarded two contracts under the £2 million Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) competition to develop new capabilities to detect, disrupt, and defeat the hostile and malicious use of drones.

Both contracts build on Plextek’s world-leading research and experience in Low Size Weight and Power (SWaP) radio systems. The first project focuses on the development of innovative signal detection and jamming capability to detect and defeat hostile drones while ensuring that non-hostile systems in the vicinity are not affected. For the second project, Plextek-DTS will develop a miniature radar that can be integrated into airborne drones in order to detect, track and accurately target hostile drones.

The competition run by DASA – the MOD’s innovation hub – on behalf of Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl), is the latest stage in Dstl’s ongoing research programme into countering unmanned air systems (UAS). The competition is also supported by the Department for Transport and NATO to counter the rapidly evolving threats from UAS.

“Drones are increasingly being used to conduct hostile activities due to their relatively low cost, ease of deployment and lack of technologies to adequately counter them,” said Dr. Aled Catherall, Head of Technology, at Plextek-DTS. “The threat posed is advancing rapidly and drones are being used effectively against military targets and to disrupt critical national infrastructure. New technologies to counter the drone threat is therefore required and the two projects awarded to Plextek-DTS will help to provide a significant step towards achieving an effective counter-drone capability.”

For more information about the DASA competition, please visit: https://bit.ly/34BLjZQ

For more information from Plextek-DTS, call Edwina Mullins on +44 (0) 1799 533200 or email: press@plextek.com or visit: www.plextek-dts.com

Nigel Whittle, Head of Medical & Healthcare, features in Critical Communications Today this week.

Drones have the potential to revolutionise public safety operations in areas such as fire and rescue. But there are regulatory and logistical barriers.

Drones are also being used in remote areas for the transfer of biological samples to hospitals, says Dr Nigel Whittle, head of medical and healthcare at Plextek. He points to an overseas company based in Indonesia. “They have a drone system to carry samples. They have navigation and control aspects and they need cameras and radars to help fly and avoid obstacles. We offer a sense-and-avoid radar system which can detect power lines. There are lots of these throughout the islands and you need to avoid them.”

Plextek’s sense-and-avoid millimetre-wave radar system operates at 60GHz. “It’s more for reconnaissance purposes – to fly around buildings, for example,” says Dr Whittle. “With a camera, you might not see obstacles, but with a millimetre-wave radar you might – and it works in bad weather too.”

To read the full article Click Here.