CoreHW – extreme hardware from Tampere


Engineers who learned their trade by designing Nokia mobile phones founded a company to design integrated microcircuits used in radio technology. CoreHW has already impressed even the European Space Agency.

CEO Tomi-Pekka Takalo says that Nokia mobile phones flicker prominently behind CoreHW. He worked for many years at Nokia, as did almost all of the company’s senior engineers.

“CoreHW’s story is in short that when Nokia first outsourced its microchip development to a company that later closed down, in late 2012, the founding team got together to think how this long experience could be utilised.”

Demand has been so high that in the last 18 months the number of staff has increased from seven to 40, and last year’s turnover was already in the region of EUR 3.5 million.

Space – a new frontier

Artes is a telecommunications technology research programme by the European Space Agency (ESA), helping Europeans to develop new and better technology for satellites in particular. One of the programmes, in which CoreHW also participated, concerned parts used in radio transmitters and receivers. It was a frequency synthesiser used to create the carrier wave for the radio connection.

“ESA’s requirements for the equipment were so high that we were not sure whether it was even possible to make one,” says Mr Takalo with a smile on his face, and lists the requirements for a wide frequency band and low amount of noise.

Unlike in industry, where products usually have to be made ready for the market quickly, with corrections made afterwards, Takalo was somewhat surprised by the procedure with regard to space applications. Nothing sent out to space can be brought back for repair after the launch, so they have to be of the highest quality.

“We even urged to work at a slower pace, which proved to be a good choice. We managed to cut down a decibel of the noise in stages, bringing down to overall noise little by little. In the end the product turned out to be very good, and ESA clients were very happy with it.”

Many applications for the expertise

There is plenty of work for designers of wireless systems: wireless data transfer will be used more and more in future, with all manner of equipment interacting with each other without any wires in between.

The company sees what are known as the front ends of 5G equipment as a new area of operation. Front ends are the parts nearest the antenna in which microcircuits, their algorithms and antennas are integrated into a single compact system.