Heritage of TESLA Lanškroun, we are active in passive components

A meeting took place on February 1st 2011 between Czech and Moravian manfacturers of passive components and sensors with representatives of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Lanskroun Castle. At the meeting 11 companies and 2 Czech technical universities - VUT Brno and ZČU Plzeň made presentations.

The Lanskroun region consists of 22 districts a town with populations of 22,000 and 10,000 respectively.

The Lanskroun electronic industry started in 1944 when Siemens transferred production of electrolytic capacitors from Berlin due to a shortage of power caused by allied bombing raids. In 1946 TESLA Lanškroun followed and enriched capacitor production with resistors, potentionometers and ferrite cores. In 1963 the first Tantalum capacitor was manufactured followed by the first SMD version in 1990.

The current electronic industry consists of 8 companies of which 4 manufacture electronic components, 2 production of sensors and 2 assembly of printed circuit boards. In addition there is a company making jigs for electronic production and a test house which originated from the Czechoslovak TESLA Group which undertook operational tests on Oscilloscopes from TESLA Brno.

A brief summary of the skill and expertise available in Lanskroun is as follows: -

AVX Czech Republic s. r. o., is a daughter company of the AVX Corporation and a leading global supplier of electronic components, they are also a member of the Japanese Kyocera Group who own 70% of the AVX Corporation.

The AVX plant in Lanškroun employs 2,200 and manufactures Tantalum and NbO capacitors for hi-end applications in consumer electronics and is also a current supplier for ESA. Their Tantalum Division which includes, plants in Biddeford, U.S. (military application products) and El Salvador (consumer electronic products), is the number one supplier of Tantalum capacitors with a 27% world market share.

Tantalum capacitors are used in supply circuits in the majority of cell phones where they have been one of the most important factors in miniaturization. The height of SMD capacitors, currently less than 1mm, has decreased tenfold in the last 15 years significantly reducing the volume required.

Other significant applications are implantable pacemakers and defibrillators of which more than half a million are implanted annually. They are also found in remote controlled power meters (Smart Meters), GPS navigation, PCMIA cards and other applications where energy needs to be stored for the transmitter.

BVT Technologies a. s., of Brno is a manufacturer of sensors and accessories including connectors, electrodes and catheters. Amongst their new products are an analyzer of algae growth, miniature chemical sensor with microreactor, electrochemical cell, linear pump and miniature rotary disc electrode. The company can prepare surfaces with a defined purity and structure not only for measuring sensors but also for creation of nanostructures.

Innovative solutions for aerospace applications and for technologies sensitive to the environment (Green Technologies) are offered by EGGO Space s. r. o., a company that was founded in Lanškroun in 2002 and employs 10 in its three divisions of Testhouse, Screen-Print and Recycling.

The Test and calibration department is certified by EZÚ in Prague and is in compliance with ČSN EN ISO/IEC 17025. In addition, they perform testing for CNES/ESA according to ESCC/CECC standards and are an authorized ESA sub-contractor. The Test department co-operates closely with AVX Tantalum Division and also designs and manufactures electronic components for special purposes as well as measuring parts of test equipment.

The Screen Print division offers services of precision printing and technological labeling for a wide range of industrial applications. These services encompass production of printing screens, conductive patterns and insulating materials as well as for commercial purposes.

The Recycling division reclaims solvents and organic compounds by environmentally friendly methods and additionally treats waste water.

Elektronické součástky CZ a. s. are a company originating in 1992 from the Ostrava plant of TESLA Lanškroun who had over 60 years of experience manufacturing passive electronic and electromechanical components. Their product portfolio is broad but mainly concentrates on special technologies for film capacitors and custom designed components such as pulse loading capacitors for high frequencies and voltages which accounts for 1/3 of production. They also manufacture interference suppression components and trimming potentiometers including those according to customer's specifications. The introduction of water cooled high frequency capacitors KPI300-148 for high frequency induction heating running in generators with power 100 to 200kVA at working frequencies up to 500kHz has also been a great success.

The company has developed and built their own test department for verifying extraordinary parameters of capacitors, very high insulation resistance, negligible inductance/internal equivalent series resistance as well as mechanical and climatic properties.

The company currently export around 60% of production to the markets of Germany the US and other EU states.

EPCOS, s. r. o. is a company owned by TDK-EPC and located in Šumperk with 800 employees manufacturing PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient) thermistors, magnetic cores for applications in telecommunications, automotive, solar power systems, computer technology and industrial applications.

Harlingen, s. r. o. took over part of TESLA Lanškroun a. s. production at the beginning of 2004. They manufacture thermal sensors and probes as well as thin-film resistors, thin-film hybrid integrated circuits whose origin dates back to 1968. Their product line also includes interference suppression capacitors and filters as well as coils, chokes and transformers.

HaS Lanškroun s. r. o. is just 9 Kilometres from Lanskroun and is owned by the family of Mr Karel Hrodek who is General, Purchasing and Sales Manager of the company.

Their product line includes SMD and power wire-wound resistors, small series precision metal parts (contacts etc.), workshop jigs (eg. for forming of wire leads), machines and instruments for production and measurement of electronic components. They also offer lead forming, component taping (SMD and leaded) to plastic or paper tapes), and vacuum sputtering of metals to plastic or ceramic surfaces.

The majority of production is exported or supplied to international companies operating in the Czech Republic.

LAAR, a. s. (Lešikar Sensors) is another family owned company from Tábor with 10 employees who offer sophisticated and advanced solutions in the fields of sensing and control. Included in their capability are revolution, pressure and temperature sensors, control electronics and intelligent programmable platforms. Lešikar sensors can also utilize licensed technology or apply a suitable design platform.

In 2006, the company established a subsidiary in Sweden to satify their customer base who include IVECO, BAE Systems, Honeywell and Bosch as well as Czech industrial companies dedicated to the manufacture of lorries and buses - Tatra, Avia, Praga and SOR.

The company is ISO 9001 & ISO 14001 (SGS Swiss) certified and has got NATO security clearance - confidential level (2007).

Again in Lanškroun, LUX-IDent, s. r. o. employs 82 and manufactures RFID transponders for h.f. range of 13.56MHz and l.f. ranges of 125 and 134.2KHz. The transpondérs find applications in the field of access and security control, animal identification and in industry and logistics.

The company was founded in 2002 and at present is a leading RFID branch manufacturer in Central and Eastern Europe. Their success is due to internal design and manufacture of machines as well as flexibility in the production of RFID inlays with wound coil technology. The turnover of LUX-IDent company reached €7 million last year.

In Lanškroun is one of the two European manufacturing plants of the Schott company who offer hermetic packaging of electronic systems technology with experience gained from 1941. The Lanskroun plant which was founded in 1993 employs 500 from a global workforce of 1500. Products include GTMS (Glass to Metal Seals), LTCC & HTCC (Low/High Temperature Cofired Ceramics) technologies. The customer can participate in customized package designs for which small volumes can also be produced. Lanskroun produces airbag ignitors and sensor housings and in Germany where Schott is the second largest European plant,an R & D centre is located for Aerospace housings.

Vishay Electronic, spol. s r. o. are a manufacturing daughter company of Vishay Europe located in Přeštice. They are one of five plants in the Czech Republic, the others are Blatna, Prachatice, Volary and Dolní Rychnov near Sokolov. The company was founded by Dr. Felix Zandman in 1962 and their components are used by practically all major manufactures of electronics in the world.

The plant has 1640 employees and produces thin film and wire-wound resistors, ceramic capacitors, transductors and magnetic elements for applications in industry, computer technology, automotive industry, telecommunications, consumer electronics, military and aviation engineering as well as medical instrumentation.

The Physics departments of faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communications and faculty of civil Engineering of Brno University of Technology presented the Czech Noise Research Laboratory project.

The Physics department has been involved in the study of fluctuation phenomena in semiconductor materials since 1970 and in1994/5 it was involved in EC grant COPERNICUS "Noise as a diagnostic tool for reliability improvement of microelectronic components". In 1996 the Czech Noise Research Laboratory was established within the EC project PECO-ELEN (European Laboratory for Electronic Noise).

In 2003, it organized a NATO Advance Research Workshop "Advanced Experimental Methods for Noise Research in Nanoscale Electronic Devices"

Electronic noise is a powerful tool for quality and reliability evaluation. Low frequency noise is sensitive to material structure and structural defects. Noise quality indicators allow an evaluation of technology quality and reliability.

The Czech Noise Research Laboratory has vast experience in testing passive electronic components including:-

- Thin and thick film resistors (Tesla Jablonné, Tesla Blatná, HaS Lanškroun, Hypot - Slovenia)
- Foil capacitors, Ta (electrolytic) and NbO capacitors, MLCC (Tesla Lanškroun, AVX Lanškroun, AVX Uherské Hradiště)

In addition, the faculty of Electrical Engineering and Communications of Brno University of Technology presented the SIX Centre for Information and Communication Systems dedicated for applications of chemical sensors and biosensors for medical and environmental monitoring.

The main fields of the research by the Centre are:-

- Methods of ordered nanostructures formation
- Electrochemical detection methods of viruses
- (Electro)chemical sensors for environmental analysis
- Nanodots with specific affinity to desired molecules
- Quantum dots for imaging in medicine
- Magnetic nanoparticles for techniques of separation

Within the senzoric systems, the SIX Centre concentrates in sensors with nanostructures, sensors of toxic substances, semiconductor gas (nano) sensors and chips for signal converting and processing.

The University of West Bohemia in Plzeň presented the main activities and diagnostic capabilities of their department of Technologies and Measurement specifically for their new project of Regional Innovation Centre of Electrical Engineering.

Their main activities include analyses of physical and chemical phenomena in materials, design and optimization of electronic systems, material diagnostics, electronic and electrical systems and reliability testing of devices and materials in real operational conditions.

Their diagnostic tools are microscopy (confocal, laser, fluorescent and AFM), structural analysis (DMA, DTA) measuring of electrical, climatic and mechanical properties, testing of soldering quality and measuring of ion contamination.

The Regional Innovation Centre of Electrical Engineering is a new project of the ESF program "Research and Development for Innovation" and comprises a new building and equipment worth €30 million. R&D in the field of material and technology diagnostics shall be the major activities of the new centre.

Without doubt the Lanškroun meeting was a very enhancing event and as the main organizer Ing. Tomáš Zedníček Ph.D., Technical Marketing manager of AVX Czech Republic, said at the closing ceremony "It was pleasant to note that everyone of the participants is carrying a piece of Lanškroun in him or her. The products that have passed through their hands are making our lives easier, they entertain us, they make the communication and work easier, they protect our lives, we can find them in pacemakers, airbags, they serve as sensors in cars, they even run over the limits of our Earth's atmosphere. It might be interesting to find out, what percentage of mankind own or, at least, is in daily contact with a product that at least „warmed up" for a while in Lanškroun, a town with a population 10,000. In my estimate, based on world market shares, it might be 30 to 50% of people living in the civilized world." He also highhlighted the importance of the event for the Czech Republic. "The important and clear message is that in this phase, ESA sees the extension of the passive components base as its priority. The task of the French Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) is to prepare, in co-operation with ESA, a review of passive components technologies and their development in the future." and here is the perspective for Lanškroun.

The history of manufacturing the passive electronic components in Czechoslovakia (later in the Czech Republic) and the contribution of several generations of top experts is summarized in an exceptional publication named TESLA Lanškroun 1946-1989, that we have available thanks to Mr Karel Hrodek, who is now General Manager of HaS Lanškroun and was one of the members of the editorial board of this book.

It was issued in 2007 by the Municipal Museum in Lanškroun and the editorial board together with the author Ing. Jiří Kohout, who had worked in TESLA Lanškroun since 1962 and from 1975 was a head of Product Promotion Department, collected 532 pages of memories of more than 120 contemporary employees. We can find here a final section under a symptomatic name "The Heritage of TESLA" and without this heritage, not even this article could come into being.

Written by: Petr Beneš
Source: www.stech.cz

Back to home page