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Category Archives: Electronic Design

Arrow Technical Celebrates 10 years at the AMP

First Visit to AMP
Advanced Manufacturing Park
Concept Art for AMP
Concept Art for AMP

July this year is a year which Arrow celebrates, as it marks the 10th Anniversary of our move to the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Sheffield.  We have seen windmills and companies come and go and buildings go up all around us.

It was a very new idea when we first arrived and took a lot of vision and initiative from the Sheffield and Rotherham support agencies to get it off the ground.  Back then, who knew what a storming success it would have become by now and still growing rapidly.

We are so proud to have played our small part in its journey and are still the only electronics product design and sub-contract electronics Assembly Company on the whole park.

Who knows what the future for the next ten years holds but its looking bright. For more information on the Advanced manufacturing park visit their website here…


Premature births predicted using ‘smart electronic pen’

A new test using a smart electronic pen promises to revolutionise the prevention of premature births by accurately predicting the chances of pre-term delivery up to three months in advance.

The “pencil-looking” device which uses state of the art digital signal processing techniques, will save the NHS £1 billion a year and can alert doctors to tell-tale accumulations of moisture in the cervix, giving them the chance to intervene and artificially prolong pregnancy.

The new test, which has been trialled at an NHS hospital in Sheffield, takes a maximum of 15 seconds and is so simple it could be used by GPs or nursing staff.

Gynaecologists currently rely on time-consuming and expensive procedures such as ultrasounds or foetal fibronectin swabs, which yield many false positives and, even when accurate, can only predict premature birth a few days hence.

By contrast, the new device can detect tiny amounts of moisture on the outside of the body and uses wireless technology to send a signal to a computer which give the medic a “red, amber, green” result indicating how likely a premature birth is.

The test, which could be ready to roll out across the NHS within three years, can accurately predict premature birth from as early as 20 weeks gestation.

Arrow Technical Services Ltd are involved in using advanced electronic techniques to develop this project further for more complex applications as well as several other related medical devices in partnership with the teams at The Sheffield Hallamshire Hospital and Sheffield University.  We are proud to be part of this technology development program.


Boeing moves onto Advanced Manufacturing Park.


Boeing parts manufactured at Advanced Manufacturing Park

Boeing parts manufactured at AMP

Further to last week’s great news about McLaren, now Boeing have announced they will invest £20 million in a joint venture high-tech manufacturing facility together with Sheffield University here on The Advanced Manufacturing Park.  This is the first time Boeing have invested anywhere in Europe and its a great endorsement of The Advanced Manufacturing Park, The Northern Powerhouse concept and shows confidence in the future of Great Britain’s economy as a whole.  They will manufacture advanced flight controls such as aerilons using techniques developed at the AMRC also on the AMP nearby.


Arrow Technical have long been actively involved in advanced aerospace electronics designs from the very outset.  Our very first projects over 20 years ago were done for BAe Systems at Warton and we have done further projects for Rolls-Royce also.  Its great to welcome another global aerospace company onto the park which only enhances our reputation further.

Boeing's new factory on the Advanced Manufacturing Park

Boeing’s new factory on the AMP

Here at Arrow Technical, we are used to the rapidly advancing technology capabilities in aerospace and we exist to advise our clients, be they in aerospace, automotive medical, scientific, industrial or consumer electronics markets.

For more information on how we might help you, visit our website at



McLaren moves onto Advanced Manufacturing Park.

British sports car manufacturer, McLaren, is is the latest high-tech firm to move onto the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham.  They will be re-shoring their carbon fibre tub manufacturing facility from the European mainland to the UK in a bid to emphasise the “Britishness” of the marque.  Another great car name to put its faith in post Brexit Britain.

Arrow Technical is celebrating its 10th year at the AMP.  We recognised the potential of being based here long ago and have enjoyed seeing the site expand and grow all around us.  Only firms with high-technology manufacturing credentials are invited to come onto the park and its great for us to rub shoulders with our neighbours which include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Sheffield University, Casting Technology International and the Welding Institute.  All world leading names representing the very best that the UK has to offer.

To now have McLaren recognise the advances being made here and to join us is great news and we look forward to seeing them on-site soon.

Advanced Manufacturing Park

McLaren Car Factory


Arrow Technical’s new neighbours – McLaren










Arrow Technical have been actively involved in advanced manufacturing & electronic product development for over 20 years and we have done numerous automotive projects along the way.  Automotive environments are always harsh and challenging for electronic systems but they offer so much improved control over conventional mechanical systems and this trend can only be seen to increase as time marches on.  Modern vehicles now boast electric drive, internet connectivity and (almost) autonomous drive capabilities which are starting to even challenge conventional legal practices which have yet to catch up with the pace of development.

Here at Arrow Technical, we are used to the rapidly advancing technology capabilities and we exist to advise our clients, be they in automotive, aerospace, medical, industrial or consumer electronics markets on how to use the latest devices to their best advantage.

For more information on how we might help you, visit our website at



Software Error Caused ESA Mars Lander To Crash

The preliminary results of the ESA investigation of the Schiaparelli Mars Lander crash are now published. At its heart are faults in the real-time software design.  It seems more than likely that a software error, which took a small sample of faulty sensor data, calculated that the craft was at negative altitude (which is not possible).  Based on this single measurement it therefore detached the parachute whilst the actual altitude was still several kilometres above the ground. There was no recovery from such a catastrophic error.  See for the full report.

Software caused Schiaparelli lander to crash

ESA Schiaparelli Mars Lander

Whilst hindsight is a wonderful thing, this is a pretty basic error for a real-time coding exercise.  Where any inputs are read from the outside world by a micro controller, it is just good practice to check that the reading is within acceptable limits.  Wherever possible, and it was in this case, there should be secondary measurements to confirm the primary is in agreement by an acceptable margin.  Equally, calculated results should be similarly sanity checked before taking actions.  Of course, the question comes as to what do you do if the results are in error but these questions should be asked during peer review of code well before deployment and a fall back plan of action decided upon.  Often, just a simple rejection of the suspect measurement and sample again will correct the problem.  This is so much easier and cheaper to do prior to lift-off than afterwards.

The lessons learned are that fail-safe mechanisms should be built into real time control code right from the outset.  This was a recoverable problem if the code had allowed for the fact that it might get noisy input data.

At Arrow Technical, we are often asked why does software takes so long to write when the primary objective may seem quite simple on first inspection.  If all goes to plan then all this redundancy will never be seen to work, and could be considered a waste of time (and money).  In fact, even when it does work it is often just to nudge the control system back on course and unless you employ sophisticated data-logging you will not know it is working at all. However, systems that do not employ such redundancy in their real-time firmware design will usually get found out on the day you really need it, but of course, on that day it will be too late.

Rest assured, here at Arrow Technical, we do employ multiple layers of system redundancy, however simple the product may be, because it leads to solid reliable products that our clients are happy with.  You won’t see it but its there like a guardian angel overseeing the reliability of your product and your company reputation. That’s why clients come to us again and again and this is what sets us apart from so many of our competitors. 21 years in the business designing products from aerospace to consumer electronic applications speaks for itself.

If this is the level of attention to detail that you want to see in your next product design then get in touch for a no obligation discussion at:-



3D printing essential to accurate PCB design

Altium PCB Design 3D Printing


As electronic components get ever smaller, they enable the development of increasingly compact products.  We are continually being asked to fit them into tighter and tighter enclosures and at ever reducing development times.  Therefore, by the time a first PCB has been assembled we have to be sure not only that it works but that it fits into the space available. Tight deadlines demand a right first time approach.

To assist with this all our electronic designs are developed in 3D-CAD and well before a first one is made, we can output a 3D step file of the fully assembled PCB, such as the one above, which is compatible with most 3D solid modelling CAD packages.  This allows the mechanical design engineer to fit our virtual PCB assembly inside their virtual enclosure and check for size and fit before either PCB or enclosure are made.  Following this, we can use 3D rapid manufacturing techniques to manufacture both an enclosure and a PCB of exactly the size and shape to ensure that they physically fit and are easy to assemble, disassemble and service.

With these assurances, we can commit to manufacture of the PCB and be sure the board will fit inside the space available.  Of course, we have also used circuit simulation techniques to ensure the circuit works once it is built.

By employing these advanced design techniques, we are able to develop new products at minimum time with maximum confidence that the finished article will meet its design criteria first time around.

For more information on how we can develop your next PCB to the same exacting standards then please contact us at:-