Flann Microwave – Professor James Watts and Chris Sloan

Flann supports Met Office in UK weather radar upgrade

March 1, 2018

Flann Microwave announced it is working with the Met Office to provide a key component for the UK weather radar network and to help upgrade and future-proof the system—including monitoring the current snowfalls affecting the UK.

The network is a vital element in the Met Office’s weather forecasting and monitoring activities, with 15 stations making measurement from locations across the UK. Flann was called in by the Met Office to help improved the reliability of the system, supplying new hardware and technical advice.

The work was part of a £10 million upgrade to the Met Office Radar Network completed in February 2018 and which for the first time means the size and shape of raindrops, snowflakes, and wintry shower types can be captured together with wind-speed data. These new scientific advancements will ultimately lead to improvements in the accuracy of rainfall estimates, particularly during high-impact weather events, such as flooding and wintry weather.

Chris Sloan, radar hardware manager at the Met Office, said, “We use Flann WG12 waveguide switches in our in-house-designed weather radars after experiencing poor reliability from another suppliers’ equipment.

“Our 15 weather radar stations are a vital part of the Met Office observing network, based in 15 remote locations across the UK. They run 24/7 detecting rainfall, so reliability is important to us.

“Flann Microwave were able to supply a direct replacement switch including carrying out some accelerated lifetime tests to address our specific concerns over reliability. Being based in the South West, meant that we were easily able to have face-to-face meetings and discuss our requirement direct with their engineers.

Professor James Watts and Chris Sloan

“We have now installed six Flann switches over the past 12 months as part of our radar upgrade project. Looking ahead, the Flann engineers have made some suggestions to further improve the design which would extend their lifetime.”

With a 60-strong team based in Bodmin, Cornwall, Flann has grown over six decades to secure a global reputation and market leading position in the design and manufacture of precision microwave communications equipment, for example, in radar and to allow internet and mobile data to be carried between mobile phone masts or through satellite links.

The company serves customers in the telecom, government, automotive, aerospace, defense, and research sectors, exporting more than 80% of production. It has also worked with UK and overseas government agencies to write many of the standards used in the industry.

Professor James Watts, chief executive of Flann Microwave, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Met Office, as another South West based organization and also world leaders in their field, and to have been able to significantly improve performance in a key part of their monitoring infrastructure.

“At the heart of our business at Flann is a commitment over 60 years to continuous innovation and engineering excellence. This not only sets the standard for our own products, and in many cases the wider industry, but also means that we are well positioned to understand specific issues brought to us by customers and to develop the bespoke and robust solutions they need.”

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