Precision Development Facility
01 Jul 2016



The Precision Development Facility - Millimetre Wave Technology - is a comprehensive and well-equipped facility providing expertise in precision machining and novel component prototyping associated with the manufacture of miniature detectors.


​​​​​​​​Precision Development Facility


​The Precision Development Facility (PDF) was set up within the Millimetre Wave Technology (MMT) Group to provide the very high accuracy machining required in the development of sub-millimetre wavelength receiver technology.​ As well as providing close project support at RAL, the facility undertakes development work for industry and a variety of government institutions.

Recent investment in some of the very latest CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machine tools has allowed us to enhance our capabilities, maintaining our position as experts in all aspects of precision machining and novel component prototyping. The Millimetre Wave Technology PDF is made up of three sections:​

Areas of Expertise

  • Solving complex engineering problems
  • Machining to accuracies better than five microns
  • Developing and manufacturing complex novel geometries

The Precision Development Facility

  • Precision turning, milling on customised lathes, micro milling machine and mini jig borers
  • Precision micro drilling
  • CNC Wire EDM
  • Optical inspection and Non-contact measuring
  • Design and manufacture of novel jigs and fixtures
  • Electroplating and electroforming
  • Diamond flat lapping and polishing
  • Manufacturing microwave calibration loads and interferometer grids

CNC Nano-Machining

  • Small batch production of high accuracy detectors
  • Cutters as small as 0.1mm
  • Spindle speeds as high as 50k

CNC Nano-Machining 

RAL Space Project Support

  • Manufacture, development, modification and rectification of flight and non-flight components
  • Rapid prototyping
  • Inspection and metrology
  • Assembly, testing and installation 


The primary objective of the Precision Development Facility is to research and develop techniques used to manufacture miniature components used in high frequency millimetre wave detector systems. This includes expertise in the following:

The design and manufacture of mandrels for both smooth and corrugated millimetre wave feedhorns with the following features;

  • Corrugations as small as 26 microns wide
  • Surface finish as low as 0.1 µm Ra
  • Concentricity better than 2µm
  • Rectangular waveguides as small as 26µm x 90µm

The development and manufacture of millimetre wave devices with the following features:

  • Rectangular wave guide channels as small as 20µm in size
  • Dimensional accuracies better that 2µm
  • Optical alignment better than 2µm​

For more information please contact: RAL Space Enquiries