Roke Manor Research. Lorry Scanning Detector Array - December 2002 to April 2003

Roke Manor Research had developed radiometric expertise useful for detecting people and animals using naturally-occurring emissions of microwave energy. Believing this would form the basis of a detection system for people secreted in the back of curtain sided commercial vehicles, Roke Manor Research received a contract from the Home Office’s Immigration and Nationality Directorate to construct two self-contained systems for the detection of illegal immigrants attempting to enter Great Britain through the channel ports hidden in the rear of curtain sided trucks. The project was given the name ‘Pandora’.

This relatively large and complex project had to be completed in a very short timescale to meet an urgent operational requirement for Her Majesty’s Government’s Home Office. A major part of the work was the design and manufacture of six large steel containers measuring approximately 6metres high x 1.5metres wide x 0.6metres deep containing the microwave antenna arrays and ancillary electronics which were to stand on dock sides exposed to many years of salt air and sea spray. The construction of these was based on a box-section welded carcass clad in aluminium sheet, each completed box weighing in at about one tonne. There was also a novel ‘H’ racking design internal to each box that supported pairs of antennas which had to be designed and manufactured in slotted extruded aluminium alloy to extremely exacting standards to achieve the necessary alignment. The design of all of these items and supervision of their manufacture by local sub-contractors was undertaken by Abraham Associates Ltd. During this activity, Abraham Associates Ltdworked closely with the project team to understand our requirements, but also was allowed considerable design autonomy which provided an excellent design solution at an acceptable budget and met our critical timescales to complete the work.

Abraham Associates Ltd also designed and supervised manufacture of a number of smaller mechanical designs for this project including a high precision alignment jig for setting up the microwave antennas, structural steelwork connecting the antenna array boxes to a standard background reflector and other mechanical designs for accommodating the bespoke electronics. In every case, their awareness of the project requirements of good ‘Right First Time’ design, suitability for purpose in a corrosive environment, value for money and rapid delivery within a tight timescale were hallmarks of their work. Their supervision of the mechanical manufacturing sub-contractors was also exemplary.

The project was completed and demonstrated at the end of four months as required by the contract. The fact that this was achieved on time was in no small measure to the hard work and dedication of the project team of 45 staff, with Abraham Associates Ltd playing a key role in taking the mechanical design of critical parts of the project from concept through design to manufacture and willingly assisting in the final assembly of the systems in readiness for the demonstrations to the end customer.

Needless perhaps to say, but I would be very happy to employ Abraham Associates Ltd again in a similar mechanical design capacity in the event of us becoming involved with large scale mechanical design work in a future project.

Martin Harman, Project Manager, Roke Manor Research


Bitterne Manor Pre-School - 29 January 2007

A very big thank you from all the Pre-School staff and Committee for donating the computer. This is an invaluable piece of equipment for the children to use during their Pre-School sessions.

Thank you once again for your generosity.

Yours sincerely

Tracey Meddings, Chairperson, Bitterne Manor Pre-School Committee