Solar MEMS has established itself as one of the main suppliers for solar sensors in the global aerospace market. This success has been founded on technology that has constantly advanced, and a development team that is fully dedicated to meeting the challenges that are set for it. Today we are focusing on Production Manager Isaac Fernández, a man who thrives on the day-to-day challenges of producing high-precision solar sensors and who explains in an interview with us the process of manufacturing this cutting edge technology.
About Isaac Fernández
– What is a normal day like for you as Production Manager of Solar MEMS?
As I am the Head of Production team, my day-to-day work consists of reviewing the daily tasks of the production technicians. I am charged of the planification of the production of all the sun sensors fabricated in Solar MEMS so, I review the tasks of previous days as well as any possible incidents that may delay a delivery.
For me it is very important to have a detailed control of all orders in production. We always want to be on time with our customers offering the highest quality.
– What is the best thing about working at Solar MEMS?
Besides to manage the production, I am also in charge of the hardware development of new products, so I am continuously learning about how to improve the ones we already have and to develop new ones as optimized as possible. This way, it is a challenge for me to design units personalized for the end customer, following its requirements and doing the best for having a customization that fulfils with all details.
– What are the main achievements of your team?
Teamwork and the ability to take on new challenges by applying hard work. We have learnt that working all together with good planification, there is nothing that can stop us!
– What are the keys to success when making products as precise and innovative as those of Solar MEMS?
The key to success is to always apply high quality standards. As we are working for space industry, it is never enough and we work hard to maintain optimum quality levels.
-What is the most difficult aspect of your work at Solar MEMS?
The most difficult part of my job is to keep long-term deadlines by meeting short-term objectives. There are lead times that are not under my own control but I have to deal with it doing a daily monitoring to achieve as better results as possible.
About Solar Mems
– What product is Solar MEMS working most intensely on at the moment?
We are currently working on the development of a Star Tracker, the company has been working hard for several years and in a few months we will have the product fully enabled for the first flight tests.
– Which of the company’s projects are the most complex?
In Solar MEMS we are involved in projects for different sectors: space, renewable energy, automotive, etc.
Any new project is a challenge for the company, but I believe that the development of new projects for the space industry due to their levels of requirements and their levels of quality are the most complex. On the other hand, we are now working in a project for automotive sector that is pretty challenging because regulations and normative is totally different to space sector we are used to work with.
We are passionate of all our projects so any of them is an exciting challenge for us!
– How does the production line for Solar MEMS sensors work?
The production line begins with the internal sensor manufacture, which require some complex alignment steps to guarantee the best accuracy of the final sun sensor. Then, some tests that simulate the conditions in Space are carried out on the internal sensor. In the next step, all the electronic parts are soldered, then it is assembled and finally calibrated in a solar simulator, where the sensor is subjected to different angles and we get the final precision results.
All this process is done in a clean room that is a controlled environment of temperature, humidity and a low level of particles in the air.
– How long does it take to make some of the most complex products, such as the star tracker or the horizon sensor?
Well, they are currently in development and we do not have the steps outlined yet. The most complex sensors we make today take no more than two weeks to manufacture, considering that all parts have been previously procured.
– What is it about Solar MEMS products that makes them so attractive for clients as important as NASA, the ESA, OneWeb, etc?
We can be competitive because we have been able to optimize complex processes while maintaining quality levels. We are committed with the training of our clean room staff to have the best professionals and to achieve the top performance of the products manufactured.
On the other hand, we offer short lead times and we try to always be on time with our customers.
– What is the outlook for production in 2021?
Seeing the sales expectations of my colleague Tamara, this year I think it will be fruitful for the production line. We are involved in several projects and with the expectation of entering new ones.