Valcom Guelph - Company Profile

Company Overview

Valcom, founded in 1955, is capable of a vast assortment of work in electronics, electro-mechanical fabrication, fibreglass filament winding, design and software engineering. The company has 35 years of military experience in the design and manufacture of land tactical communication equipment. All of this is made possible through the efforts of a highly skilled and specially trained staff working in one of our seven versatile company departments; Engineering, Electronics Assembly, Machine Shop, Fibreglass Shop, Repair & Overhaul, Quality Assurance and Administration.

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Company Facilities

The Valcom Manufacturing Group, Inc. is comprised of a main manufacturing plant in Guelph, Ontario.

Valcom Guelph

Valcom Guelph

The Valcom facility is a 46,000 square foot, state-of-the-art, fully equipped manufacturing plant. The plant is built on a ten acre property with five additional acres of land available for expansion purposes. Two acres are dedicated for testing military and commercial antennas from Low Frequency (LF) to Ultra High Frequency (UHF).

All Valcom product development and manufacturing is ISO 9001:2008 compliant.

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Company Operations

Valcom's day-to-day activities are grouped into six principle areas; Engineering, Research and Development, Manufacturing, Repair and Overhaul, Quality Assurance and Administrative processes.

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Engineering

Valcom's engineering facility has the personnel, the equipment and the expertise required to perform microprocessor-based development, communications, data collection hardware, interface and installation kit designs and other electrical/mechanical hardware design, as well as, prototyping, testing and debugging. An example of one of Valcom's designs is shown below.

Valcom also has a complete software development facility consisting of both single-user and multi-user systems for various high level languages, including JAVA, HTML, C/C++, PASCAL, BASIC and FORTRAN. Valcom's software developers are fully capable of developing software compatible with both UNIX and Windows-based operating systems, as well as, developing embedded firmware using DSP methods and a variety of assemblers for a host of processors.

The Engineering Department continually works at making improvements to existing products for the United States Navy, Air Force, Army and Coast Guard, as well as, for Canada's Department of National Defence, Coast Guard and Fisheries & Oceans Departments.

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Research and Development

For the past 30 years, Valcom has been committed to continued Research and Development including new product development and current product redesign. Improving performance characteristics, expanding product capabilities and increasing overall customer satisfaction are always the top priority of Valcom's R & D. As well, new product development to maintain competitiveness in the field of electronics communications and data acquisition remains a high priority.

The HDR (High Data Rate) GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) transmitter project represented a totally new design to replace the original GOES transmitter that had been in use for fifteen years. This new Valcom product transmits weather and environmental data from remote locations to one of the GOES satellites, which relays the signal to a ground station.

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High Data Rate Transmitter VGOES-HDR

This project involved UHF amplifier design to produce a lab quality signal with extremely low distortion. The requirement was that noise components be at least 60 dB below the signal level. Additionally, the modulated signal was kept within a very narrow 1.5 KHz channel at a carrier frequency of 402 MHz. Data was encoded as eight levels of phase shifting from 0 to 315 degrees. Total phase noise from all sources was below 2.5 degrees RMS to achieve an extremely low bit error rate (BER).

Optimal phase pulse shaping, under microprocessor control, produced the best compromise between signal bandwidth and phase noise. The modulated carrier was generated using direct digital synthesis, rather than using the older technology of analog mixers and phase lock loops.

We now meet all of the stringent requirements of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration for the use of our transmitter with their GOES satellites. Manufacturing of the GOES transmitter will also be performed at Valcom, Guelph.

Dragonfly

This fully functional prototype performed printing, scanning, faxing, and web surfing functions.

A device similar to a laptop was recently developed by Valcom under contract with another company. Paper-based activities, such as printing, scanning and faxing were integrated into a portable machine, so that travelling workers do the same work as they would back at their base office. A computer motherboard was designed to run a Windows operating system and to interface with the video, keyboard, scanner, printer, and communications ports. The required user interface software was developed in the C++ and JAVA programming languages.

Valcom regularly develops new antenna designs for a large variety of military and civilian applications and frequency ranges. Military antennas must be built to withstand greater mechanical and environmental stress, so the testing of each new product is exacting and thorough.

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VMB-3512 Multi-Band Antenna

One such antenna is Valcom's new VMB-3512. This is a tactical, vehicular-mounted VHF-UHF whip antenna. The antenna is designed to be mounted on a military vehicle and provides omni-directional transmit and receive communications over the frequency band of 30 MHz to 512 MHz. The VMB-3512 is a dipole-based design that means it has improved gain characteristics over that of a monopole design and it is not dependant on a ground plane, so it is ideal for all vehicle types.

The antenna was tested at Valcom's facility and passed the stringent oak beam test, as well as all other popular mechanical and environmental requirements from MIL-STD-810.

Valcom is currently developing a 30 MHz to 6,000 MHz antenna.

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Valcom Environmental Data Acquisition System II (VEDAS II)

The VEDAS II is an example of a product that has been continually improved over time. Improvements include higher storage capacity, greatly increased accuracy, increased sensor inputs, additional convenience features such as PCMCIA card compatibility, keyboard, display and more, all in a packaged size half that of the original model.

Valcom's engineering department also has the equipment and capabilities of performing First Article Testing (FAT) on the products designed and manufactured here. Types of FAT's Valcom has performed in the past include many aspects of MIL-STD-810 (revisions C through F), MIL-STD-167-1 (Shipboard Vibration) and MIL-S-901 (High Impact Shock).

Some of the major equipment Valcom has in-house to perform these tests include various environmental chambers capable of testing humidity, temperature and altitude. A high impact shock machine qualified to MIL-S-901. Vibration equipment consisting of both an electrical- mechanical vibration table with slip table attached and a hydraulic vibration table, as well as a loose cargo bounce table.

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Manufacturing

Valcom's manufacturing capabilities are further divided into three departments: Machine Shop, Fibreglass Shop and Electronics Assembly.

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Electronics Assembly

Electronics Assembly is responsible for assembling cables, matching transformers, couplers and coupler controllers, as well as other sophisticated equipment for military forces and Environment Canada. Valcom's electronics assembly personnel are skilled in building a wide range of electromechanical, avionics equipment and complex wiring harnesses to Military Specifications such as MIL-STD-2000. Surface mount technology facilities also exist for on-site populating and soldering intricate, multi-layered circuit boards.

Trunk Patch Panel

Back view of the trunk patch panel designed by Valcom

Heater Test Stand

Inside view of the heater test stand designed by Valcom

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Machine Shop

Valcom's Machine Shop has lathes, drill presses, milling machines, a small parts N.C. precision production lathe, a CNC (Computerized Numerical Control) milling station, moulding machines, presses, grinders, a sand blaster unit, shapers and welding equipment to support Valcom's wide range of manufacturing needs. The machine shop staff produces parts and subassemblies made from all types of raw materials such as steel, brass, aluminum, Lexan, Phenolic, nylon and Teflon. With this fully equipped machine shop and experienced personnel, Valcom can service customers whose production requirements range from several pieces to several thousand pieces.

CNC Machines

CNC Milling Station

TVPC under construction

Aluminum TOW power conditioner chassis undergo CNC milling process

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Fibreglass Shop

Valcom's newly upgraded Fibreglass Shop is a fully equipped and versatile fibreglass workshop. It is capable of winding, moulding, pultruding, rolling, forming, and machining all types of fibreglass products. Large quantities of fibreglass whip antennas are produced regularly in sizes that range from one meter to 27 metres in height.

The Fibreglass Division houses a large paint shop and numerous ovens fully capable of applying and curing many different types of primers and finish coats for all our products. There are also a number of basic woodworking tools to create racks to assist in the paint booth as well as to provide support to the packaging of Valcom's products.

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Repair and Overhaul

Repair and Overhaul Picture 1

RT-524 radio undergoing repair

Valcom's Repair and Overhaul (R&O) department staffs both technicians and technologists, who have, through ongoing training programs, developed the ability to service LF, MF, HF and VHF antenna couplers, coupler controllers, transceivers, junction boxes and cables and a variety of other military equipment. Some specific examples of equipment Valcom's R&O department has serviced are the PRC-25, PRC-77 and RT- 524 radio units, MX-6707/VRC antenna matching units, loudspeakers, J- boxes, C-boxes, Laser Range Finders, teletypes, speedometers and more.

In addition to maintaining a variety of military equipment, Valcom's R&O department also performs maintenance and overhauls various equipment for Meteorological Services Canada ((MSC) formerly AES- Atmospheric Environmental Services). Such equipment includes Laser Ceilometers, Data Acquisition Units, the complete AWOS (Automatic Weather Observation System) group of equipment, calibration of mercury thermometers, barometers and altimeters, to name a few.

Valcom's proficiency in repairing and overhauling extremely delicate and highly sophisticated electromechanical instruments has permitted the company to enter the field of custom repair, and to act as a warranty repair facility for its commercial customers.

Visibility and control over the repairable items is achieved through electronic (computer) and hands-on means for those items repaired in-house. The R&O administrator can, at any time, check where the item is, what the status of the item is, what the accumulated charges for the item are, and what the pertinent history of the product is via serial number/work order number traceability.

Items received at Valcom for repair are assessed at incoming to ensure damage did not occur during shipment and the correct documentation is provided with each item. Items are then assigned a work order number and estimate to perform the repair and overhaul work. All procedures and standards are in accordance with A-LM-184-001/JS001 (dated Nov. 11, 2002). As well, Valcom is conversant and operating under the new C.F.S.S.U. (Canadian Forces Supply System Upgrade) program.

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Quality Assurance

Valcom has developed and implemented a Quality Management System (QMS) to better satisfy the needs of customers and to improve management of the company. The quality system complies with ISO 9001:2008 and its technical equivalent, ANSI/ASQ Q91. The system covers the design, production, installation and servicing of the company's products as well as professional services, information management and Engineering Specialty/Technical Support. Valcom maintains a resident DND CFTSD detachment office and an on site CFQAR representative.

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Adminstrative Processes

Administrative processes are essential to any company. Valcom is no exception. Valcom employs a full line of administrative positions in order to monitor and support plant operations. In addition, Valcom also employs dedicated and fully capable purchasing personnel, pack and ship personnel and contracts personnel, all of whom are essential to the smooth operation of day- to-day tasks.

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Equipment Available

Following is just a sample list of the equipment Valcom has at it's disposal for all of it's design, development, repairing, manufacturing and quality control processes:

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AS-1735 on Vibration Table

Test Equipment

  • Insulation Testers, RCC Model #310
  • High Potential Testers, Brunelle Model #TAG-7510
  • Multimeters, Fluke or equivalent
  • Automatic cable tester, Valcom custom test equipment
  • Network Analysers
  • Spectrum Analysers
  • Time Domain Reflectometer
  • Power supplies, signal generators, frequency counters and RF power meters
  • Newton Scale for Pull Testing
  • Programmable Temperature Chambers *
  • Altitude Chamber *
  • Humidity Room *
  • Vibration Table with Slip Table *
  • MIL-S-901C Lightweight High Impact Shock Machine *
  • Bounce Table *
  • Low Frequency Shielded Screen Room

* Denotes equipment available for performing qualification tests in accordance with MIL-STD-810, revisions C through F.

Production Equipment

  • Heat Guns
  • Complete Soldering Stations
  • Solder Rework Stations
  • Solder Pots
  • Vapour Degreaser
  • PC Board development station
  • Ultrasonic Baths
  • Crimp Tools with multiple die sets
  • Cable Winders (which include length counters)
  • Specialized Wrenches and Pliers (various)
  • Coil-winding machines (small and large scale)
  • High-volume automatic wire stripping/cutting machine
  • Power crimp machines
  • Numerous lathes of varying capacities
  • Numerous drill presses
  • Hydraulic shear
  • Band saws
  • Programmable small parts lathe
  • Programmable milling machines
  • Moulding press
  • HAAS VF2 Vertical CNC Milling machine
  • HASS SL30 CNC Lathe
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Company Experience and Expertise

Valcom has attained a high level of knowledge over the past 50 years in designing and manufacturing a wide variety of electronic and mechanical equipment. Valcom's expertise and high degree of quality can be found in all their products, including communication systems, such as 35 foot to 112 foot monopole antennas, couplers and coupler controllers, as well as environmental data acquisition systems. Additionally, Valcom performs a wide variety of contractual work for commercial and military customers, which includes custom product design, installation kits, cabling and build-to-print jobs. Such jobs may entail designing or building various cable assemblies, mounting brackets or printed circuit boards.

A few select projects from Valcom's past follow, as examples of Valcom's vast experience. The referenced projects include a brief description of the project along with an approximate dollar worth and project duration.

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Installation Kits for Electronic Equipment (IKEE)

  1. In 1996 Valcom designed, manufactured and kitted 120 IKEE's for nine different military vehicle platforms including the Cougar, Grizzly, Bison, M113, M577, LSVW, MLVW, ILTIS, and HLVW. These kits involved designing and building various support components such as mounting brackets, racks, antenna support mounts, antennas and interconnecting cables. The types of cables designed and built encompassed a wide variety of electrical and mechanical products. Cable types consisted of power cables, data communication cables and RF transmission cables.

    These kits were manufactured for the Department of National Defence (DND) through Supply and Services Canada.

  2. In 1999 Valcom designed, manufactured and kitted 176 IKEE's for eleven different military vehicle platforms including the Bison, LSVW, Cougar, ILTIS, M577, Static Installation, M113, Grizzly, MLVW, Coyote and the BV206. These kits involved designing and building various support components such as racks, mounting brackets, antenna support mounts, antennas and interconnecting cables to interface and install the AN/PRC-138 HF radio system. Cable types consisted of power cables, data communication cables and RF transmission cables. These kits were manufactured for the Department of National Defence (DND) through Public Works Canada.

  3. In 2000 Valcom designed, manufactured and kitted 26 different ancillary items including cables, chassis, adapters, brackets and antennas for spare parts in support of previous IKEE projects. Additional designing and building of various support components such as mounting brackets, racks, antenna support mounts, antennas and interconnecting cables was required.

    These kits were manufactured for the Department of National Defence (DND) through Public Works Canada.

  4. In 2001 Valcom designed, manufactured and installed Land Combat Missile Storage SEV's in four 12ft MLVW cargo box vehicles. The installations were complete with storage systems, lighting, AC and DC load centres, flooring, caged roofing, tarpaulin and tie-down systems.

    These installations were manufactured for the Department of National Defence (DND) through Public Works Canada.

MLVW shelter outside

Outside view of MLVW shelter

MLVW shelter inside

Inside view of MLVW shelter

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KY-57 (Vinson) Installation Kits - Secure Voice System

Automatic Cable Tester Secure Voice System

Automatic cable tester designed and built by Valcom

In 1988, Valcom was awarded a contract to manufacture and test the KY-57 installation kits and cable assemblies to provide spares for the Vinson system. The kits consisted of cable assemblies, adapters, junction boxes, speakers, amplifiers and mounting brackets.

To effectively test the production quantities, it was necessary for Valcom to design and build a special computerized test jig. This test jig is capable of automatically testing a wide variety of cables and interconnecting boxes to a high degree of accuracy, after which, the results are printed. The tester is still in use in the repair and overhaul department for testing repaired items.

These kits were manufactured for the Department of National Defence (DND) through Supply and Services Canada.

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KY-65 (Parkhill) Installation Kits - Secure Voice System

In 1990, Valcom was awarded a contract to manufacture a large quantity of KY-65 Parkhill installation kits and cable assemblies for the AN/GRC-106 system. This contract included four major installation kits for a voice security radio system into different vehicles. The kits consisted of cable assemblies, adapters, junction boxes, speakers, amplifiers and mounting brackets.

These kits were manufactured for the Department of National Defence (DND) through Supply and Services Canada.

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Trunk Patch Panel (TPP)

Trunk Patch Panel

Back view of the trunk patch panel designed by Valcom

n 1999, the TPP project was initiated to design a central communications switchboard for the TCCCS/Iris (Tactical Command Control Communications System/Iris). The TPP is able to multiplex and demultiplex digital communication signals and redistribute the signals to various recipients. The TPP operator configures the system by connecting patch cables to the front of the panel. A major feature of the TPP is that it can convert the various communications protocols used by the United States, Europe or NATO, which facilitates communication between the armed forces of various countries. The job entailed the design and the manufacture of the trunk patch panels based on guidelines as set by the customer, CDC. It also included the design and build of power and data cables.

These kits were manufactured for Computing Devices Canada (CDC).

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Tow Vehicle Power Conditioner (TVPC)

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TVPC TOW Vehicle Power Conditioner

In 1991, Valcom was awarded a contract to build, redesign and perform first article testing of the TVPC, followed by a large quantity production run for the US Army Missile Command (MICOM) Redstone Arsenal in Alabama. The TVPC provides a highly accurate and robust power source for the TOW (Tube Launched, Optical/Laser Tracked, Wire Guided) missile firing system. The design met a number of stringent military requirements. It interfaced with, and became an integrated part of the TOW missile system. Over the past fourteen years, over 1,500 units have been built at Valcom to fulfil several contracts.

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Remote Environmental Automatic Data Acquisition Concept (READAC)

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AWOS Automatic Weather Observation System

Since the start of this project in 1988, the READAC system has since been renamed AWOS (Automatic Weather Observation System) but it is still the same system. Valcom was contracted to finish the development and to manufacture the various components of this system. Each attribute of the weather, rain, temperature, humidity, etc., has its own special module which talks to its dedicated sensor, analyses the data and sends it off to a central reporting station via telephone, hardline or wireless. All together, there are twelve different modules enclosed in a mainframe cabinet, working together to collect data, process it and transmit it.

On occasion, Valcom has since received further contracts for upgrading some of the modules used in the system. Such as the voice generator module and the pressure module.

This project was developed for Atmospheric Environmental Services (now called MSC -Meteorological Services Canada).

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Valcom Environmental Data Acquisition System II (VEDAS II)

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Valcom Environmental Data Acquisition System II (VEDAS II)

In 1997 Valcom began developing a new and improved data acquisition system from its original design (also a Valcom design). The VEDAS II can be interfaced with various sensors requiring serial communication, analog control voltages, or even frequency communication. It is ideal for remote situations in which automated sensor readings, such as temperature or water level, are measured and recorded. The information can then be accessed by telephone or via the GOES satellite network. This particular contract was a standing offer to build and supply over 285 VEDAS II data loggers over a period of two years. In total, over 600 units have been built and commissioned to the field.

The units are manufactured for Atmospheric Environmental Services (now called MSC - Meteorological Services Canada), as well as for Canada's Department of Water Resources and B.C. Hydro.

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U.S. Navy Antenna Groups

In 1990, Valcom was approached to develop a series of antenna groups for Naval use. The antennas were to be designed using aluminum radiators opposed to fibreglass radiators. As part of the development, the antennas were to be used in a twin-whip configuration, complete with the necessary tuners and couplers to obtain broadband operation. In total, there were four groups designed: a 14 foot twin whip and coupler group, a regular duty 18 foot twin whip and coupler group, a light duty 18 foot twin whip and coupler group and a 35 foot twin whip and coupler group. As well, a broadband VHF dipole antenna for shipboard use was also developed.

The antenna groups were originally designed and supplied for the U.S. Navy, SPAWAR (Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command) but have since been built and sold to Naval divisions world-wide. These antennas and couplers are still under production today.

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Heater Test Stand

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VHTS Series - Heater Test Stand

In 1990, Valcom was contracted to develop a Test Stand to assist with the repair and maintenance procedures of air and coolant fired heaters. The HTS allows for the heater to be removed from the vehicle and safely operated in a controlled environment. The test stand was originally developed almost ten years earlier by Valcom for the Canadian Department of National Defence. However, new heaters had since been commissioned and parts required for production had since become unavailable. The new units were developed for the U.S. Army TACOM (Tank Automotive Command) and are still being manufactured today.

In 1995, Valcom was contracted to modify the heater test stand for use with alternate heaters not supported by the previous models. These units were developed and manufactured for General Motors of Canada, Diesel Division.

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AS-3900A/VRC Antenna

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AS-3900A/VRC

In 1994 Valcom was selected to manufacture and perform First Article Testing on the AS- 3900A/VRC antenna for SINCGARS (Single-Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System). The antenna is a single port, centre-fed whip antenna for vehicular operation in the 30 to 88 MHz frequency band.

Over 10,000 antennas were manufactured and delivered under this contract for the U.S. Army, CECOM (Communication-Electronics Command). As well, since this contract, Valcom has continued to manufacture this antenna for both the United States and Canadian Militaries and the antenna is still under production today.

Additional Experience

Expanding on Valcom's extensive experience, other jobs and projects include building headsets/handsets, designing and building cable adaptors, modifying tie-down clips, modifying power cable assemblies, and many other items.

Valcom has also, in the past, purchased equipment and products from other companies and incorporated them into our own product line. One such example is Valcom's first GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) transmitter, model 697. The original design and associated commercial rights were purchased from Bristol Aerospace and was improved upon for use with the VEDAS units. The GOES transmitters were manufactured for many years until some of the key components had become obsolete and impossible to find. Valcom has recently completed a research and development project to redevelop a new GOES transmitter capable of meeting today's high data rate transmission requirements. This new transmitter is now certified by the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service (NESDIS) and is in full production

As well, Valcom remains a major worldwide producer/supplier of fibreglass whip antennas ranging from Medium Frequency (MF) to Ultra High Frequency (UHF) applications.

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