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Echodyne: Mission-Critical Radar Reimagined

Delivering breakthrough technology to detect modern threats.

Echodyne, the radar platform company, envisioned a 3D radar that could deliver uncompromising short-range surveillance. A radar platform that could be reduced to the size of a large paperback book and offered at a significantly lower price than conventional radar platforms – making radar-based threat protection dramatically more accessible. But in order to bring this highly complex technology to market with a high level of reliability and aggressive year-over-year growth, Echodyne required a partner with deep design engineering, supply chain and production expertise.

Solution Spotlight

CUSTOMER:

Echodyne

PRODUCT:

EchoGuard

SOLUTIONS:

  • Design and Development
  • Supply Chain Solutions
  • New Product Introduction
  • Manufacturing

Securing the skies.

Small aerial drones have caused big headaches in recent years, from crash landing on the White House lawn to nearly colliding with commercial airliners. It’s incidents like these – and the potential for even worse scenarios – that have made drone detection a top priority for people responsible for securing everything from packed sports stadiums to sensitive sites like borders, prisons and military bases.

Electronically Scanned Array (ESA) radar systems – used by the military to detect missile and other aerial threats – provide a proven means to spot drones. But these systems are large and heavy, and their hefty cost essentially prices them out of many security budgets.

Echodyne recognized this market gap and developed a breakthrough technology to close it – the EchoGuard radar platform. The platform uses their patented MESA® (Metamaterials Electronically Scanned Array) technology to achieve the accurate threat tracking of an ESA radar, but at a fraction of the size and cost. For some perspective, conventional ESA radar platforms are so large they need to be delivered on a truck trailer bed. The EchoGuard platform is roughly the size of a mobile tablet and can be delivered in a briefcase.

While Echodyne had the innovative engineering expertise to develop the EchoGuard platform, delivering the disruptive technology to market was another challenge that required entirely different skillsets.

Echodyne's MESA® technology is the foundation for radars with unprecedented size, weight, power and cost advantages over traditional ESA radar.

Bringing a product like no other to market.

Echodyne’s innovative high-performance radar features some key design differences from conventional radar systems. It requires no moving parts to steer its beam. And it uses a vastly simpler metamaterials architecture in place of the complex and costly transmit/receive modules that are used on other radar systems.

These innovations make the EchoGuard platform a game changer for security, giving more commercial and government entities access to lower-cost, more easily transportable radar technology to detect both ground and low-altitude drone threats. But these innovations also introduce complexity when it comes to manufacturing the technologically advanced, first-of-its-kind platform.

For Echodyne, bringing the promise of its EchoGuard platform to customers meant the company needed to be able to manufacture the product to a high standard of reliability while satisfying aggressive growth.

Removing barriers to production.

Early on, Echodyne worked with numerous PCB and PCBA suppliers. However, aggressive growth required a contract manufacturing partner with more resources and a comprehensive set of solutions.

That’s when Echodyne turned to Plexus. Plexus brought the expertise and infrastructure in areas of industrial quality, planning, procurement and circuit board assembly. Plexus leveraged its Aerospace and Defense Center of Excellence facility in Boise, Idaho, a short flight from Echodyne’s Seattle headquarters. Supply chain management was a collaborative effort. Echodyne shared its forecast data, and Plexus used that data to better assess supply chain risks. At a time when supply chain disruptions were a common problem, Plexus took actions to ensure a long-range reliable supply chain by looking beyond immediate parts availability to understand other factors such as fluctuating lead-times, component obsolescence and long-term availability. This process allowed Plexus to identify problematic parts and alternates to give Echodyne a longer time period between design iterations. Plexus also helped Echodyne ensure compliance with the European Restriction of Hazardous Substance (RoHS) standard. Using its in-house RoHS expertise, Plexus made design suggestions that enabled the platform to meet these stringent standards – allowing Echodyne to sell the platform in Europe.

At a time when supply chain disruptions were a common problem, Plexus took actions to ensure a long-range reliable supply chain by looking beyond immediate parts availability.

A design-for-excellence approach.

The Echodyne and Plexus relationship continues to pay off during the development of Echodyne’s next generation of products. In the design phase, Plexus is putting its Design for Excellence (DFX) services and capabilities to work. DFX addresses everything from raw materials review, design for manufacturability and testability and special process development. A practical focus on DFX in the early design phases helps customers optimize total cost, accelerate time to market and mitigate potential downstream risks. As Echodyne grows, Echodyne expects to leverage Plexus’s broad range of design and production services, enabling Echodyne to focus more on its core competencies.

More than a contract manufacturer.

By partnering with Plexus, Echodyne has gained a trusted partner to help it scale to meet an anticipated growth rate and a broadening product portfolio. Echodyne has been paired with a strong Plexus team dedicated to Echodyne’s products. Tight and continuous communication has resulted in predictable supply and a steady stream of continuous improvement and support. The close partnership and collaboration will continue to evolve as Echodyne introduces its breakthrough technology to new markets to help safeguard people, places and assets.

The close partnership and collaboration will continue to evolve as Echodyne introduces its breakthrough technology to new markets to help safeguard people, places and assets.

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