Interview with SatTV at 2020 Satellite Show

 In News

Hello, I’m Richard Hooper and this is SatTV week. Now, I’m pleased to be joined by Will Wallace of SAT plating.

Q: Will, thank you very much for joining me today. Tell me a little bit more about the company because it’s quite specialized.

A: “At SAT Plating we specialize in plating high-performance plastics on different types of composites. We’re typically plating with materials such as copper, nickel, and gold often for an EMI shielding purpose or some sort of electrical enhancement to a component.”

Q: Particularly looking at the satellite and space sectors. What are the key segments for you?

A: “We find the most traction and customer value in the satellite world with waveguides and antenna feeds – these are existing components that have been used on most satellites; however, most legacy parts are made from expensive and heavy machined aluminum.

In today’s more commercialized satellite market, new entrants are forcing the industry to go lighter and make their components more inexpensively, so the value we bring is a capability for manufacturers to make their satellite components out of polymers and have us plate them to provide the metallic performance that modern antenna components demand.”

Q: Tell me a little bit more about the materials. I assume they’re evolving all the time?

A: “They are. We typically plate PEEK & Ultem which are two very solid and robust materials that are readily available. We plate a lot of PEEK & Ultem, whether it’s carbon fiber-filled or glass-filled, those are all within our capabilities for material choice.”

Q: So looking forward how do you see the market evolving, but particularly for a company that is so specialized?

A: “We’re evolving very rapidly and we’re increasingly getting more inquiries for our services and it’s all about driving costs down and streamlining the manufacturing processes to deliver more efficiency to the consumer base.”

Q: Geographically, do you operate globally or export globally?

A: “There’s no limit to where we can export depending on ITAR guidelines. We do a lot of defense work but we also do a lot of commercial-product work as well, so our services are available globally.”

Q: You are clearly one of the market leaders, what is the competition like in the market?

A: “In the world of plating on the high-performance plastics there really are only a few organizations that excel at plating the materials I mentioned. It’s easy to do a few one-off components that meet expectations – and that’s great for certain companies – but if there’s scale or volume to a component you really need a robust plating operation that delivers consistent and repeatable results – quality control is everything when you’re doing high-volume plating.”

Q: For a company like SAT Plating is there anything holding back material’s evolving?

A: “No, it’s really limited only by your imagination. We’re presented with very unique materials, typically around the additive manufacturing and 3D printing world and there are a lot of advancements being made in that sector. There are some very unique and promising materials that are being developed that we’ve been involved with on an R&D level seeing how the material performs but also how our plating performs with those materials, so it’s really dependent on the industry and how much innovation they want to pursue.”

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