Newcastle company delivers key components for $188m telescope

Newcastle company delivers key components for $188m telescope

Stephen Kuper

Newcastle-based Puzzle Precision, as well as government and community leaders, joined members of the CSIRO board at CSIRO’s Newcastle site to discuss opportunities for collaboration across the full range of research conducted at the national science agency.

The board hosted guests including Newcastle-based specialist electronics manufacturer Puzzle Precision, which is about to complete work building receivers for CSIRO’s $188 million next-generation radio telescope, the Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP).

The ASKAP telescope, in remote Western Australia, will soon move into full operation and be used by astronomers across Australia and around the world to explore the universe.

Chairman of the CSIRO board, David Thodey, AO, said Newcastle’s innovative culture and entrepreneurial spirit will continue to drive Australia’s national prosperity into the future.

"But our Energy Centre is just the front door to the whole of the national science agency, from energy to space, manufacturing to agriculture, and many others," Thodey added. 

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"It’s great to see partnerships with local businesses like Puzzle Precision show how world-class engineering and research in areas like astronomy and space science can be turned into real-world impact when we work with local businesses, and grow our national space industry."

Puzzle Precision director Sandra Coburn said working with CSIRO helped to further grow their expertise, as well as their business. 

"Collaborating with CSIRO has helped us to grow our business, increase our local workforce and continue to improve the processes that are needed for advanced manufacturing. We have worked alongside CSIRO to understand the requirements of the ASKAP circuit boards and have developed the production techniques needed to build 20,000 of them," Coburn said. 

"It has been a wonderful opportunity to be part of such a significant scientific project for Australia."

Last year, CSIRO worked with 2,400 partners, including 1,000 small and medium businesses, 355 large corporates, and all Australian universities. CSIRO’s research spans agriculture, health, energy, minerals, manufacturing, space and the environment, among others.

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