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COM DEV Opens Door to Chapter

By Suresh Neethirajan, PhD, P.Eng.

Nigel Doran, Vice President (Engineering & Quality) at Com Dev, addresses the members of Grand River Chapter of PEO.

Nigel Doran, Vice President (Engineering & Quality) at Com Dev, addresses the members of Grand River Chapter of PEO.

Very often, the members of the Grand River Chapter of PEO are provided great opportunities to visit various manufacturing industries and other high profile organizations, preferably in the Guelph-Kitchener-Waterloo Region to get first hand exposure to their functions, to develop group culture, and to enhance the engineering learning experience. On the evening of March 25, 2012, a group of 25 members of the chapter visited COM DEV International Ltd. at Cambridge.

COM DEV is a leading manufacturer of advanced space hardware subsystems, and microsatellites for major satellite contractors, government agencies and satellite operators in civil, commercial and military sectors. COM DEV employs over 800 people, mostly engineers and technicians, designing and manufacturing microwave subsystems for spacecraft, and exports 90 per cent of what they make. COM DEV holds almost 70 per cent of the world market of their core satellite products.

The tour started with a welcome speech and introduction to COM DEV and its history and operations. It was then followed by touring to the design, production and quality control facilities. The participants were fully engaged in learning a wide range of production processes, micronano-electronic fabrication functions and quality control operations. A variety of satellite components, including hardware for broadband commercial satellites, waveguide switches, input filters, coupler assemblies, surface acoustic wave devices, band pass filters and resonators for mobile and wireless communications are being manufactured at COM DEV.

One of the lessons learned was to see the relevance and implementation of engineering concepts in the real space science industry. Thanks to Nigel, Diane, Mike, Dan, Peter and others at COM DEV for providing ample time to the participants for interaction.

Applications of Satellites

Satellites not only deliver direct broadcast TV signals, but also deliver private data communications for companies and government, and make Internet surfing feasible. Some tangible applications of satellites include lowcost international long distance calls, safety of commercial airlines, delivery of legal, medical and educational services to remote communities and navigation assistance to vessels on the sea. In the words of a few of our chapter members who were a part of the COM DEV trip:

I definitely enjoyed the tour at COM DEV. While we should be proud of any company in our chapter area, it is nice touring the 'standouts' (COM DEV, Christie to name my last two impressive tours). What is most impressive is that both these companies are actually quite local right to their core/history. Thank you, Suresh, for setting up these great events!

Tom Balkos, P.Eng.

COM DEV tour was very good and well organized. Thanks to you and the chapter for the efforts in organizing such tours. Haell Khatib, P.Eng. Both Eric and I thought the tour was excellent and very worth the time taken. I'm glad it ran overtime so we could see it all.

Colin and Eric Harding

Nigel and Peter from COM DEV were too diligent in explaining all of the things, such as facilities, processes, in quite a bit of detail, which is nice, but if they had concentrated on mostly the technology aspects, that would have made the tour concise.

Anil Kukreja, P.Eng.
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