Mechanical Group


The Mechanical Group serves three areas within R&D:

  • Industrial: mechanical development for mass production of large sensor systems
  • Instrumental: mechanical development for one-off and small series instruments
  • Production and Prototyping: production of parts for optical and radio domain including assembly

The work ranges from development of instruments for the biggest optical telescope E-ELT to a revolutionary tile for SKA radio telescope made of polyester foil (as used for flower packaging) and EPS (Expanded Polystyrene, like used in any ordinary package).

Challenging factor in the design of large sensor systems are the low-cost/high volume requirements. A close and good interaction with a variety of industries is crucial. In the design of infrared optical instruments are the cryogenic working temperature, the stability, the high precision of design and accuracy of mounting challlenging factors. Very important here is the close cooperation of the mechanical designers with the antenna designers, the optical designers and the workshop engineers. Only this close cooperation results in state of the art astronomical instruments at the edge of the technical possibilities.


Some Highlights
The Mechanical Group does the mechanical design and production, production control of:

  • Radio telescopes based on sensor networks like LOFAR and SKA-pathfinders
  • Optical instruments for astronomical space projects like MIRI an infrared camera and spectrometer for the James Webb Space Telescope
  • Optical instruments for astronomical telescopes like X-shooter for the European Southern Observatory
  • Radio instruments for astronomy like the Multi Frequency Front End in the Westerbork telescope
  • Also advising small enterprises for example in design and manufacture of skates, horse shoes, wooden toys


Personnel and management
The staff of the Mechanical Group includes instrument engineers, instrument designers, industrial designers and CAD/CAM engineers with technical and management capabilities.

Johan Pragt - Competence Group Leader

Sjouke Kuindersma - Support Engineer/ Instrument engineer)

Paula Fusiara - Mechanical designer

Jorrit Siebenga - Research Instrument Maker 


Detailled information:


Design: Kuenst.    Development: Dripl.    © 2020 ASTRON