John Larkin, President
For companies in the defense manufacturing space, the growing demand for instrumentation and simulations has emerged as one of the biggest challenges. Undoubtedly, there are plenty of good engineers coming out of school these days with experience in digital control systems and managing large scale software systems. But, smart systems are increasingly sensordriven systems, and the analog expertise to either monitor or mock those sensors is still hard to find. That’s where Highland
Technology comes in. Founded in 1984, Highland Technology is driven by the mission to design and manufacture standard and custom electronics. The company provides innovative high precision analog measurement and signal generation, data acquisition and control instrumentation,pulse and picoseconds timing delay generation,fiberoptic/photonics, and mixed technology products for demanding aerospace and defense, scientific, and industrial applications. “With decades of experience in designing precision based and highly controllable analog systems for real time monitoring,Highland Technology allows customers to perform extensive testing of their systems,” says John Larkin, the president of Highland Technology.
Today, major aerospace and defense companies are utilizing Highland Technology’s electronics worldwide.
The company provides a wide variety of analog solutions, as well as its increasingly popular VME interface solutions that primarily enables aerospace testing. “Our customers can’t just say Well it worked on the computer, so it’s probably fine,” informs Larkin. “They need to be able to test their hardware against real-world signals and generate and measure those signals in controlled, repeatable ways.” Highland Technology ensures that customers are confident that their hardware will do what it needs to in the field. The company also specializes in electronically variable resistance simulators, and universal LVDT/synchro I/Os, and picosecond delay generators specifically because they’re NOT the same “16-channel A to D” or “4 ins, 4 outs, and an FPGA that’s your problem to program” that everyone else is making. There’s more volume in those commodity products, but when you get into the corners of where customers are having problems you get into interesting challenges. “And when you can solve them, instead of just joining the crowd, you get the chance to pull a customer’s project out of the fire,” Larkin remarks.
Honing such capabilities, Highland Technology has served a plethora of clients. In a recent example, the company had a customer that couldn’t find a good solution for simulating a three-phase aircraft alternator used as a power supply to their FADEC. Over the years they’d been able to cobble something together, but it was too expensive and inflexible to let them road test their power monitoring. Highland Technology worked with them to develop its P900 a single box solution that simulates anything that can come out of that alternator. This allowed the client to stay focused on their FADEC, rather than on “how to look like an alternator”, which was just a distraction.
What enables Highland Technology to maintain its leadership position by helping many reputed clients is its team. The company has a dynamic, creative engineering team with varied experience in solving obscure problems. “By combining the native analog expertise and our signal processing experience,we can offer competency that other organizations would find impossible,” mentions Larkin. “But past that, we also do our own manufacturing in house, and having all that expertise on hand as well means we’re able to avoid problems from the outset rather than having to close a process control loop hundreds of units later.”
To further enhance its capability, Highland Technology had moved into a substantially larger facility recently in 2018. “This has allowed us to improve our manufacturing flow and get more of our processes automated, making sure that our resources are delivering the best product we can,” concludes Larkin.