Antennas / self deployable communication satellites
Luma has rapidly grown as a main supplier of gold plated wire for the antenna industry. By supplying high quality wires, most commonly gold plated molybdenum wire, Luma has over the years supplied manufacturers of communication satellites all over the world.
For Luma, the antenna industry has been the fastest growing application area. This is very often project related business and in many cases related to governmental interests. Business within this area is characterized by large quantities and strict specifications concerning the quality of the product as well as the documentation surrounding the project.
The product manufactured using Luma wire, is more commonly called deployable mesh reflector, used in space as well as on earth. Luma gold plated molybdenum wire and gold plated tungsten wire are the most common products supplied for this application. However, also non-plated wires are supplied to manufacturers of antennas.
The Luma wire is weaved directly by Luma´s customers or by other sub-suppliers, into mesh or nets. The demands are high on uniformity and consistency of the wire, for example concerning dimension and tensile strength. The size of the mesh is in many cases large; from 5 meters in diameter and up. For example an antenna can, when deployed, have the measurements of 19 meters * 17 meters, while packed, the size is 1 meter * 4 meters. In spite of its size, the net or mesh is light weight, with an accurate and repeatable deployed surface shape, still showing stiffness and robust mechanization that leads to reliability.
The type of antenna produced using Luma wire differs. Some antennas are ground bound while others are sent into space. Materials and surface finishes depend on what type of antenna that is to be produced.
Luma gold plated molybdenum wire is light weight and has a highly elastic behavior. At the same time it has a non-linear stiffness and a thermal stability. The wire dimension normally used is between 20 and 50 micron. The wire performance withholds thermal, radiation, micrometeorite, UV and atomic oxygen environments.
The technique of the weaving, the load and expected lifespan of the antenna, puts high demands on the Luma wire supplied. The accuracy of the Luma production process and final quality controls, have made Luma one of the world’s preferred suppliers to this application area.