Friday, January 29, 2016

Mission to Jupiter with technology

When in 2022, the European satellite JUICE explore Jupiter's icy moons, it will take on board electronic components designed by a young SME born in Leganés (Madrid) and that, based on selling gray matter, has carved a niche in the European aerospace industry. Arquimea Deutschland, Ferran Tejada, executive director not concerned too much crisis or need to work in other countries, but yes regretted that the Spanish investment in r & d lacks "a plan of long-term consistency".

Space mission JUICE, which aims to examine three years the satellites Callisto, Europe and Ganymede, is one of the star's Cosmic Vision, the European planetary exploration program for which the Spanish SME Arquimea engineering is designing two complex microchips, base on which future final electronic components will be developed. The company, created in 2005, has two main areas of activity: actuators mechanisms based on smart materials and integrated circuits, microchips.

Its main customer is the European Space Agency and work with technologies that developed from a low maturity level and serve as a base for components that ESA uses for its missions. Your success is the laboratory test that demonstrates the validity of the following formula: an efficient use of public investment in r & d coupled with a very focused business strategy to specific needs of the industry and high value-added products resulting in a solid position in the sector in less than ten years.
Jupiter mission
"What makes Arquimea is focusing on a very specific niche in the space sector, with shape memory materials, smart alloys which change or recover their form when you change the temperature, a capacity that in Europe almost nobody is. In addition, we are in the field of microelectronics, one of the few in Europe specialized in radiation-tolerant mixed-signal designs. Cosmic radiation alters the functioning of many circuits and we must design them with special techniques that make them resistant and tolerant to this radiation,"says Tejada as outlines of the focus of its activity.

Ferrán Tejada, executive director of Arquimea Deutschland.
"We have engaged in r & d projects financed by CDTI Development Center for Industrial Technology in Spain, by the Ministry of economy or that of science and innovation at the time," he says, "and we are also leaders in several European projects. As we assume technology base, is easily salable or bankable,"adds. In 2012, however, the company had to make the leap to Germany, when public budgets for space suffer a severe drop in Spain because of the crisis. "Here the competition is much greater, but the investment is also 10 times higher. Our main clients and partners were here, and working in Germany we have the possibility of transferring technologies to other sectors, such as automotive and industry. "This year we are consolidating the company in the space sector and in two or three years will pass to the sectors medical and industrial", exposes Tejada, one of the installed in Fránkfurt Oder 5 and that add to the around 30 employees of the company in Spain. In this fiscal year they be billed more than 5 million euros, 90% as a result of the export.

Despite the Spanish investors efforts in r & d, many companies are on the way. "Personally I miss a plan, a greater consistency of the strategy. I get the feeling that when there is money is financed everything and when you stop it things are half, cut by which what has been financed before is lost. It would be interesting to establish a clear strategy and communicate it well above where you want to go r & d in Spain in each of the sectors, as well as granting a greater weight of SMEs in defining those interests with respect to large companies", it proposes.

But for anchoring in a sector not just favorable investment, but is also required intense interaction with other companies. "European projects conducive to the formation of consortia with companies or research institutions in at least three countries, and then there is what we call the cold door, which consists of designing something that you think may be of interest to a company and trying to contact her in fairs, for example. A couple of years ago we contacted thus with Daimler and write two patents with them based on our shape memory materials"are proud, explaining the key that allows to position itself in a massive investment sector, such as aerospace, counting only with computers and two laboratories:" put a satellite in space costs in the order of 400 million euros " , but there are components that produce from hundreds of thousands of dollars to several million. Each antenna, each solar panel, each CPU are inpu