BreconRidge Delivers Performance to the Extended Very Large Array Program

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BreconRidge Corporation completes delivery of the final assemblies for the Extended Very Large Array (EVLA) program’s unique correlator. In full operational mode, the WIDAR correlator, designed by the Dominion Radio Astronomy Observatory (DRAO), rivals the largest supercomputers by performing 10 peta-ops (million billion) calculations per second.

On the eve of the Extended Very Large Array (EVLA) official launch, BreconRidge celebrates its key role in delivering performance to the unique Wideband Interferometric Digital Architecture (WIDAR) correlator. Designed by the National Research Council Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory (DRAO) of the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, the WIDAR correlator serves as the supercomputing heart of the EVLA radio telescope. DRAO relied on BreconRidge’s manufacturing expertise to build and test over 2000 Circuit Card Assemblies (CCAs) which make up the digital brain of the world’s highest performance radio telescope.

“Our collaborative engineering and manufacturing process was key to mitigating the risks associated with such large, complex designs.”, claimed Ragai Khalil, Vice-President , Operations Engineering and Global Quality. “Using our advanced Test Strategy Simulation Tool (TSST), we were able to indentify early in the manufacturing process the most cost-effective test strategy to ensure our customer’s success.”

Several circuit boards, among the largest ever made (0.2 m2), form the backbone of the correlator. A combination of X-Ray, Boundary Scan and Flying Probe test techniques verify the structural integrity of CCAs housing up to 11,000 components and 100,000 connections. The boards 100+ Ball Grid Arrays (BGAs) anchor the longest Boundary Scan chain ever attempted at BreconRidge, exceeding 180 components, and requiring test vectors some 30,000 bits long. Final test for each board averaged over 60 minutes.

“We have yet to discover a production failure with any of the assemblies despite their complexity.” , declared Sean Dougherty, Project Manager of the EVLA WIDAR Correlator . “BreconRidge helped us realize the correlator’s full potential with timely delivery of quality assemblies. We look forward to many years of exciting research with the EVLA.”

“We anticipate that our Collaborative Design and Manufacturing (CDM) model will appeal to the partners involved in the future radio astronomy projects such as the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) program. ”, observed Cyril McKelvie, President at BreconRidge. “We invite them to leverage our considerable RF and optical design experience in addition to our advanced high density, fine-pitch SMT and flip chip manufacturing capabilities when tackling their project challenges.”

About BreconRidge

BreconRidge is a world class provider of innovative design and manufacturing services for electronic products. With facilities located in North America and Asia, BreconRidge collaborates on voice, video and data applications with the world’s leading communications, industrial, medical, aerospace and defence OEMs (original equipment manufacturers). Specializing in RF, microwave and optical technologies and applications, BreconRidge delivers a complete range of life cycle services from collaborative design, new product introduction, supply chain management, process and test engineering, DFx services, manufacturing, repair, distribution and reverse logistics. BreconRidge’s unique portfolio of core competencies provides customers with significant competitive advantages in their respective markets.


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Guy Bisson
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