ID WORLD International Congress: Philip Johnston

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Philip Johnston

Director – Trackwise Designs

Speaks at ID WORLD on Sustainability

Philip Johnston is the owner and Managing Director of Trackwise Designs Ltd (trading as Trackwise) a specialist manufacturer of RF printed circuit boards.

When Philip Johnston acquired the company in 2000 Trackwise produced only for the local market. Now, from its manufacturing base in Tewkesbury, UK, Trackwise services the global RF community with customers in China, Australia, Thailand, Mexico, Israel, Spain, Germany, France, Ireland as well as UK. Trackwise has also set up a joint venture in India, Trackwise Epitome India, to service the very high demand for these products for the Indian telecoms industry.

Trackwise has participated in European research into passive intermodulation (PIM) and has patented a novel surface finish in use in modern antenna phase shifter interfaces (TrackSlip).

Prior to Trackwise, Philip Johnston worked in the European Space Industry (Astrium). Astrium were the Prime Contractor for Envisat-1, the highly successful ESA earth resources satellite. Philip Johnston had Prime Contractor mechanical responsibility for the entire spacecraft and payload – culminating in the structural model qualification tests in ESTEC, Noordwijk.

Trackwise has recently been successful in an application to the EU’s CleanSky program to develop large format (5metre) high temperature (400C) flexible printed circuit boards to replace wiring harnesses within aero engines. Subject to negotiation the program will start in August 2011.


PTFE and Glass Fibre (GF) laminate is a well understood and trusted building block for producing printed circuit boards (PCBs), widely applied in many high frequency end applications, in particular mobile telephone infrastructure.

2011 has seen dramatic increases in the cost of this key material for the RF industry. In addition to the earthquake in Japan significantly disrupting much of the electronic industry’s supply chain, there has been a large up-surge in the demand for and consumption of fluorspar, a key component not only in PTFE materials but also in other industrial products such as air conditioning systems.

Recycling of PCB manufacturing waste and end of life material is important due to recycling legislation, shortage of landfill capacity and as described above, the increasing cost of the PTFE material.

This presentation describes a manufacturing process for a new printed circuit board laminate incorporating PTFE/GF recyclate produced from PTFE/GF laminate manufacturing and end of life waste.

The technology will provide the European PCB and RF industry with a ‘virtuous circle’ by which it can meet its environmental (recycling) obligations and also assist in preventing the risk of further rises in PTFE prices from undermining a key component of many RF systems.

The technology is covered by European Patent no.1852004.



Speaking on November 3

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