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High-tech company Rakon turns blocks of quartz into the tiniest components for smart phones, telecommunications and global positioning systems (GPS). Rakon has been riding the wave of growth in the telecommunications industry since Kiwi Warren started making crystals in his Howick garage and then founded the company in 1967. Back then, Robinson was in the marine radio business and manufactured quartz crystals. He set up Rakon after becoming frustrated by lengthy wait times for crystals for which the New Zealand Post Office controlled the import and supply.

Fast forward several decades, and Warren and then sons Brent and Darren have transformed Rakon several times over. New and evolutionary products have emerged as end-use requirements have changed and evolved. Through necessity and enthusiasm to adapt, Rakon has developed unique manufacturing processes.

Still working with quartz crystals, the company is now a leading manufacturer of a large range of frequency-control solutions. These provide reliably stable frequency references in GPS systems, for instance. Rakon’s small, powerful time-compensated crystal oscillators (TCXOs) regularly outperform similar products on the market. The company’s TCXO GPS specs were available back in the early 2000s and are still the industry standard.

As international demand for data grows and grows, the company is not content to stop at the latest achievement. Rakon is now using a 3D photolithography process to develop even smaller, ever more powerful high-frequency oscillators.

Useful links

Find out more about Rakon.
www.rakon.comexternal link

Activity idea

To find out how GPS works and some of its uses, read this article.
Global positioning system GPS

Your students may like a practical experience of how the global positioning system (GPS) is used. In this activity, students use GPS to find out how slow slip events are recorded.
Using GPS


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