UV_laser_marker_prototype
The world’s 1st UV laser wire marker prototype was developed in 1988 at BAE Systems Filton UK using an “excimer” UV gas laser

1986 – EU funded pan European Eureka EU213 R&D project into high power UV excimer lasers and industrial applications initiated; it included UK, Dutch and Italian collaborators. British Aerospace Sowerby Research Centre at Filton in Bristol was a key UK member of EU213, working on both lasers and applications. The Sowerby team was led by Dr. Peter Dickinson

1987 – Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, the damage caused to wiring by hot stamp marking and the resulting breakdown of the wiring in service came increasingly to light. As a result of a number of incidents occurring in the 1980s, aerospace companies increased their efforts to find alternative technologies to apply permanent identity codes safely to non-stick PTFE/Teflon and similar wire insulations as well as fibre optics.

The UV laser marking process, since pioneered by Spectrum Technologies causes no damage and no change to the mechanical or electrical properties of the wire.

1988 – The first prototype laser wire marking system using excimer laser and mask technology was developed by British Aerospace Airbus Filton Division with Sowerby Research Centre. The prototype wire marker was used by Airbus for production of the first ever UV laser marked wire harness for a production aircraft- A320 wing sets.

1989 –  Admiral Sir Raymond Lygo and the Board of British Aerospace authorise the start-up of Spectrum Technologies as a spin. Peter Dickinson appointed Managing Director reporting to the Chairman, Richard Hooke at British Aerospace Enterprises. On 14th October 1989, Spectrum Technologies company name was approved and registered with Companies house.

Spectrum factory in 1990
Official opening in 1990 – Peter Dickinson, Richard Hooke (BAE Systems) and David Hunt (Secretary of State of Wales)

1990 – Spectrum moved into its first home on the Mid Glamorgan Science Park, Bridgend and started operations with 4 employees. The Company’s first product, the CAPRIS 500 excimer laser wire marker was developed based on the BAE prototype. The launch customer was BAE Systems Military Aircraft at Samlesbury for use in the production of Tornado fighter aircraft harnesses.

Throughout the early 1990s the team at Spectrum grew as it developed UV laser based products for other applications. These included systems for use in the manufacture of satellite components as well as medical applications.

1991/2 – The first CAPRIS sales were made into the USA with Boeing, Corinth TX, being the launch customer for the US. A derivative of the CAPRIS 500, the CAPRIS 555 was developed for Airbus Hamburg, becoming the launch customer in Europe closely followed by Airbus in Speyer, Germany. The CAPRIS 555 custom excimer laser system was the first wire marker to utilise a spinning mask, marking one character per laser pulse.

1993 – Introduction of the CAPRIS 100, Spectrum’s 2nd generation excimer laser marker, developed as a        derivative of the 555 model, with the launch customer being Smiths Industries (now GE) based in Cheltenham, UK.

CAPRIS 100
CAPRIS 555

1994 – Spectrum continued development of specialised UV laser technology for etching the aluminium microwave grid array for the 2.3 metre (7.5 ft) diameter Ku band satellite antennae, a key component required for Orion 1, Europe’s first communication satellite using laser etched, grid technology with sharped beam reflectors. Orion was launched in November 1994.

1995 – Spectrum Technologies excelled at international trade and innovation. Spectrum Technologies was a recipient of the Queen’s Award for Export. This was the UK’s top award for export achievement and to be awarded the Queen’s Award, a company must show a substantial and sustained increase in export earning over three consecutive 12 month periods, to a level which is outstanding for the products and services concerned and for the size of the organisation. Spectrum developed a strong export record over time where 95% of all the sales were exported.

Receiving the Queen’s Awards from Murray Mclaggan the Lord Lieutenant for Mid Glamorgan

The CAPRIS 50 was the first of Spectrum’s 3rd generation UV laser wire markers, but more importantly, it was the first low-cost, compact UV laser wire marker on the market, providing access to UV laser wire marking technology for aircraft MRO operations and low volume manufacturing applications. It was also the world’s first Neodymium (Nd:YAG) solid state UV laser based wire marker offering on-the-fly marking capability. CAPRIS 50 offered mark, measure and cut capabilities and was able to process wire and cable from 26 ga. up to 6 ga. CAPRIS 50 ultraviolet laser wire marking and processing system was among the first Millennium Products to be selected under the nationwide initiative run by the Design Council.

CAPRIS_50
The CAPRIS 50 : First entry-level, low cost, solid state UV laser wire marker for low volume applications, introduced in 1995.

1996 – KF Aerospace, formerly Kelowna Flightcraft, based in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, purchased the first CAPRIS 50 UV laser wire marker. By the end of its production run in 2003 over 150 units had been sold worldwide.

1997 – Spectrum’s first export success in the Asia Pacific region was the CAPRIS 100 for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in Japan. The fully automated CAPRIS 100-12 with Auto Select & Load and 16 station dereeler was installed at MHI’s Komaki Plant in Nagoya.  MHI also intended to use the CAPRIS system in the production of the F-2 Next Support Fighter aircraft for the Japanese Air Force and is also in joint development/production with Lockheed Martin on the F-16 (base fighter). Additionally the CAPRIS 100-12 were used to assist in the manufacture of the SH-60J ASW Helicopter for the Japanese Navy, for whom MHI was the prime contractor and manufacturer under license from Sikorsky.

Princess Anne visited Spectrum Technologies while in South Wales on an official visit and undertook a tour of the factory in recognition of Spectrum’s Queen’s Award.

Princess Anne visiting Spectrum Technologies

1998 – Spectrum established its first US office in Riverside, CA to provide sales and service support to the company’s North American customer base.

Spectrum Introduced CAPRIS 60 mid-range solid state UV laser marker. The launch customer was Kakamigahara Aero Equipment (KAE) located in Kakamigahara City, Japan.

1999 – Spectrum Technologies first export to South America was to Embraer S.A, a Brazilian aircraft manufacturer and the third largest producer of civil aircraft after Boeing and Airbus. The CAPRIS 60 systems were installed at Embraer’s Sao Jose dos Campos factory in Sao Paolo, to support manufacture of wire harnesses for the Embraer ERJ-135 and ERJ-145 regional jet aircraft.

CAPRIS 60

2000 – Spectrum Technologies won three export awards in 2000, including the Company’s second Queen’s Award – for Enterprise for International Trade. Spectrum Technologies won the British Trade International Export Award for Smaller Businesses 2000, Welsh Region and was awarded the title of Exporter of the Year in an awards scheme coordinated by the National Assembly and sponsored by the Bank of Wales. Spectrum was also the only company in Wales that year to receive a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade. The award was given following the Company’s high level of success in export markets during the previous three years during which export sales more than doubled.

Spectrum Technologies opened a new US Sales and Support office in Dallas, Fort Worth. A new 20,000 sq.ft UK factory was also opened in Bridgend, UK. The First Minister of the National Assembly for Wales, the Rt. Hon. Rhodri Morgan, undertook the official opening of the Company’s new Bridgend factory on 16 November 2000.

2001 – Acquisition of RtMc Inc Phoenix, AZ, USA, a manufacturer of laser wire stripping products (soon to become the SIENNA range). Spectrum also acquired the assets of its main competitor in the aerospace laser wire marking market, Vektronics Inc, of Vista, California. The dot.com downturn and the events of 9/11 caused a major restructuring of the company.

CAPRIS_50-100PCS_side
The world’s first bench-top UV laser wire marking system – the CAPRIS 50-100PCS, launched in 2004.

2003 – Spectrum Technologies USA Inc.  relocated its US HQ to new offices and factory in Phoenix.

Following the development programme, Spectrum launched its new 4th generation CAPRIS 50-100 entry level mid-range laser wire markers using the Company’s new proprietary state-of-the-art industrial Longbow solid state laser. The launch customer for C50-100 was Aircraft Services Group (ASG) in Miami, FL USA.

Spectrum built its last C100 #C10066 to Airbus in Hamburg.

2004 – Spectrum introduced  CAPRIS 60-200 which was the fastest, highest performance, solid state UV laser wire marker in the world at that time. The system was able to be configured for either manual or automated wire loading. The launch customer was Agusta Helicopters in Italy, now known as Leonardo Helicopters.

2006 – The engineering and production of all SIENNA products was transferred from Phoenix, AZ, USA and consolidated into Spectrum’s Bridgend, UK operation. The Phoenix office remained open initially for local service support before being consolidated into the company’s Dallas Fort Worth, TX operation. Spectrum introduced the SIENNA 200 and 300 laser wire stripper models.

SIENNA 200

The SIENNA 200 series dual beam laser wire strippers are compact, bench-top systems suitable for processing the majority of wire types and insulation materials used in the manufacture of consumer and medical electronics. The launch customer was Foxconn in China.

The SIENNA 300 are higher power dual beam bench-top laser wire stripper systems, suitable for processing wire and cable with tougher, higher resistance insulation materials. The launch customer was Molex De Mexico.

Spectrum Technologies USA Inc now provided focused sales and after sales support service to the Company’s North American customer base from its offices in Phoenix and Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas.

SIENNA 300

Company was pleased to be the recipient in 2006 of a third Queen’s Award for Enterprise for International Trade.

Spectrum Technologies launched the innovative SIENNA 55ES compact rotary laser wire stripper targeted at the aerospace industry in 2006.

2007 – Spectrum opened a Hong Kong based sales and service office to support the expanding customer base in Asia Pacific.

The CAPRIS® NOVA 880 ultra-high speed UV laser wire mark, measure and cut system was introduced in 2007 as Spectrum’s 5th generation laser wire marker, joining the existing range of CAPRIS® UV laser wire marking products as the new top of the range system. The system was launched on 8 October and was officially unveiled in November at the Productronica show in Munich, Germany.  During a presentation on the development of this new machine it was also announced that Sikorsky was to be the launch customer for the first system.

Spectrum sold it’s 100th C50-100 to Icore International Inch (Zodiac Aerospace) in 2006
Nova_880_automated_UV_laser_wire_marking_system
Top of the range Nova 880 from the Nova 800 series with auto-select and load system and 30 station dereeler as sold to Boeing major harness prodcution facilities in the USA.

2008 – Prince Andrew, HRH Duke of York visited Spectrum on 10th July 2009. The Duke of York, in his role as the United Kingdom’s Special Representative for International Trade and Investment, made the visit in recognition of Spectrum’s technical and export achievement since the company was established..

2009 – NovaJet ink wire marker development was initiated as a solution to produce a permanent mark on black filter-line wire used in helicopters. NovaJet offered white ink marking with UV cure for enhanced permanence; systems were available in manual or automated configurations and manual systems could also be upgraded to auto systems in the field if required. The launch customer for the first Novajet automated system was Sikorsky Aircraft who were part of United Technologies Corporation at the time and are now owned by Lockheed Martin and the system is still operational some 10 years later.

Nova Jet

On October 14, 2009 Spectrum Technologies celebrated its 20th birthday.

Spectrum opened a new sales office located in Shanghai, P. R. China.  The new location continued the Company’s expansion in the region as well as reinforcing its dedicated support network for customers in the Asia-Pacific region.

2010 – Spectrum Technologies USA INC moved to a new larger Texas facility to support the continuing growth of the company’s North American operations. The new Fort Worth facility was also able to offer Advanced Laser Maintenance training courses in the USA for the first time, enabling customers to benefit from tailored Training packages to meet their specific CAPRIS / Nova laser system training requirements for their in house maintenance technicians.

2011 – Spectrum Technologies’ Shanghai branch office moved to new, larger premises to accommodate the growing demands of this increasingly important region for aerospace manufacturing as well as its established electronics manufacturing industry. The larger office was now also able to stock key spare parts for CAPRIS and Nova laser wire marking systems to support customers in the region better with the aim of significantly reducing lead times.

SIENNA 700

Spectrum Technologies launched the SIENNA 700 series, the company’s new top-of-the-range, high speed, and high specification laser wire strippers, at the Electrical Wire Processing Technology Expo in Milwaukee, WI, USA in May 2011. The new SIENNA 700 range was designed for precision-critical applications including medical device manufacture such as ultrasound cable assemblies and medical probes, and encompasses a number of technological performance enhancements over the earlier range of laser wire stripping products.

Spectrum Technologies introduced the expanded SIENNA laser wire stripper range at the Productronica exhibition in Munich, Germany in November 2011. The new SIENNA 600 and 800 models aimed at high volume, high precision electronic manufacturing applications.

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner made its long anticipated first revenue flight with launch customer ANA. The electrical wiring interconnect system for the 787 is comprised of nearly 70 miles of wiring, virtually all of which is processed by Safran Electric & Power at their plant in Chihuahua, Mexico, using Spectrum Technologies laser wire marking equipment. Scott Fancher, the Head of the 787 programme, said the Dreamliner was a “game changer” for commercial aviation.

The CAPRIS 50-100, hit the big 250 mark following receipt of an order from Boeing Aviation Services, Shanghai, China.

Nova MaX

2012 – Spectrum Technologies introduced Nova MaX: a measure and cut system for processing high performance wire and cable for aerospace, defence and other industries as part of the process of wire harness production.

Spectrum Technologies was the deserving winner of two awards at the South Wales Business Awards in 2012, picking up the Bridgend Business of the Year award as well as being voted overall winner of the South Wales Business of the Year prize. The awards were held in partnership with Bridgend County Borough Council through the Bridgend Business Forum, the University of Glamorgan, Business in Focus and Careers Wales.

Peter Dickinson and Elaine Hardy at the South Wales Business Awards in 2012

2013 – Spectrum Technologies won the bid to supply the new Labinal SAIFEI Joint Venture in China with top of the range UV laser wire marking equipment. Spectrum supplied Labinal SAIFEI with a Nova 860, a high speed UV laser wire marking and processing system from the company’s ground-breaking Nova series, which is used in the production of aircraft electrical systems. The system was delivered later in the year to SAIFEI’s new facility which had been established in the Pudong area of Shanghai. Labinal SAIFEI is a joint venture between Labinal, the French Electrical Wiring and Interconnect Systems (EWIS) giant, now part of the SAFRAN Group, and Shanghai Aircraft Manufacturing Co., Ltd. (SAMC), a subsidiary of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC).

2014 – Spectrum Technologies was selected by Bombardier Transport North America to supply a high performance wire processing system for use in the manufacture of the rail cars for a major new North American project. Spectrum supplied Bombardier with a Nova™ 860, high speed UV laser wire mark, measure and cut system. The equipment was installed in their 1.2 million square foot manufacturing plant in Sahagun, Huehuetoca, Mexico. The Nova system has since been used in the initial stages of production of the electrical wiring and interconnects systems required for installation in new rail cars being manufactured for the Bay Area Rapid Transport (BART) New Train Car project for San Francisco, California.

Nova 1000

Spectrum launched Nova 1000 at Wire China show in Shanghai. The Nova 1000 is a high performance UV laser system for integration into wire and cable production lines to meet manufacture’s needs for in-line laser coding of difficult to mark insulations.

Spectrum reached serial number 300 for CAPRIS 50-100’s which was delivered to Boeing Defense in the UK. Boeing’s UK military maintenance facility is situated on a UK RAF base where it is used for repairing military helicopters.

Carwyn Jones, Peter Dickinson, Jeff Jones and Barrie Thomas

Carwyn Jones, then First Minister of Wales, visited Spectrum Technologies along with Jeff Jones, former Council Leader of Bridgend County Borough Council.

2015 – Spectrum won a major contract to supply seven CAPRIS 50-100PCS UV Laser Wire Marking System to the Canadian Department of National Defence at Borden, Petawawa, St Hubert, Valcartier, Oromocto, Edmonton and Goose Bay. These seven CAPRIS C50-100 systems were used to carry out maintenance on Bell CH146 Griffon helicopters.

Spectrum introduced its first SIENNA 900 Laser Magnet Wire Stripping system at CWIEME in Berlin in 2013, eventually resulting in an order from Volkswagen AG, Kassel, Germany in 2015 following initial meetings and discussions with Volkswagen at the CWIEME exhibition. The technology was chosen for integration with a new manufacturing line producing electric motors for the VW Golf GTE and Audi A3 e-tron hybrid vehicles.

Spectrum secured a significant Laser Wire Marker contract to supply Robinson Helicopter of Torrance, CA, USA with UV Laser Wire Marking Equipment. Robinson Helicopter chose the Nova 840 high performance UV solid state laser wire marking system, high speed wire Auto Select and Loading (ASL) system and new multi-station dereeling system. Spectrum Technologies Nova 840 was used to supply all the marked wires for their full production line of helicopters including the R22, R44, and R66 models.

Nova 880i

2016 – Spectrum Technologies launched the new, improved and updated Nova 800i Series UV laser wire marking systems in 2016. The Nova 800i series is an innovative, state-of-the-art family of laser wire processing systems.

Spectrum Technologies won two awards at the Bridgend Business Awards. The awards ceremony took place at the local Coed-y-Mwstwr hotel just a few miles from Spectrum’s HQ. Spectrum attended the ceremony, hosted by the Bridgend Business Forum and was shortlisted as one of three enterprises in the ‘Innovative Business of the Year’ category, and went on to be named the winner. Following the success in this category, Spectrum was also nominated for the Patron’s Commendation Award. Presented by the First Minster of Wales, the Right Hon. Carwyn Jones AM, who noted Spectrum’s contribution to the local area for over 25 years, support of the local supply chain and multiple Queen’s Awards for Export, Spectrum Technologies found themselves the proud recipient of the Patron’s Commendation Award.

2017 – Spectrum Technologies launched the new 6th generation Nova 50-100i Series UV laser wire marking systems at Productronica in Munich, Germany. The Nova 50-100i series is an innovative, state-of-the-art family of laser wire processing systems. These replace the wire marker products covered by the CAPRIS® 50-100, Nova 800 and Nova 820.

N50-102i – 6th generation

2018 – Spectrum Technologies announced its latest product release: SIENNA 1000 – a state-of-the-art new laser stripper. The SIENNA 1000 has been designed with the ability to integrate different laser types according to the customer’s application. Applications include: stripping (skinning) of enamelled copper wire, wound components, bonded polymer-based insulations, braided wire and various plastic and metallic components.

Picture Source: www.nasaspaceflight.com
Mars Insight – Picture Source: www.nasaspaceflight.com

2019 – Spectrum made a mark on Mars.The electrical wiring system for InSight was manufactured by Lockheed Martin Space in Denver, CO using a fully automated Nova 820 UV laser wire marking system supplied by Spectrum in 2014. This was used in the initial stages of electrical harness production for InSight to laser mark, measure and cut wires to length.

Spectrum has supplied over 1000 laser wire marking systems to over 50 countries, making it unquestionably the world market leader in the development, manufacture and supply of UV laser wire marking equipment.

Spectrum Technologies was awarded the title Innovative Business of the Year at the Bridgend Business Forum Awards 2019, announced at the ceremony on 13th September.

Spectrum Technologies reached a milestone with the 30th anniversary of its establishment on 14th October.