- Buyers Guide
MWJ: MECA is celebrating its 50th year anniversary this year. So am I. How did the company get its start back in 1961?
CD: My father, Ronald R. Davo worked for Western Electric in Chicago and accepted a transfer to Western Electric Company, Whippany, New Jersey in 1959. He saw the need for competitively priced connectorized Attenuators, Couplers, Power Dividers and Terminations. He incorporated in June of 1961 and started MECA (which stands for Microwave Electronic Components of America) in the basement of his house. Later, he rented office space in Dover, NJ and we eventually moved to our current location in Denville, NJ in 1965 where we continue to operate to this day.
MWJ: Do you think being in business that long reflects positively on the company and if so how does that translate in your approach to serving customers?
CD: Yes it does reflect positively. The MECA name has become synonymous for supplying high quality and performance to our customers with delivery generally available from stock. We’ve learned that a company must be customer centric. When a customer calls looking for assistance we must answer their questions promptly and accurately. Our customer service representatives constantly hear that a new customer called our competitors and oftentimes find themselves leaving a voicemail with the hope they will get an answer within three days. Great customer service is imperative to spreading the good word about MECA!
MWJ: The company primarily designs and manufactures passive components for use up to 20 GHz. How do you differentiate yourself from other suppliers? Are you experiencing pressure from foreign competition? How do you compete?
CD: All of our products are made here in the USA. We take pride in that fact. MECA is proof that a company does not have to send jobs offshore to be competitive. Many of our competitors utilize offshore manufacturing for example. As a result many can’t meet the short lead-time requirements of our commercial customers nor can they supply products to the US military due to ITAR and DFARS regulations. Also, our suppliers are all located within a 150 mile radius or closer to our Denville, NJ facility.
MWJ: MECA provides passive components for the high performance wired and air-interfaced networks, which includes in-building applications, satellite communications, radar, radio communications, mobile radio, aviation & air traffic communications. Are there any particular challenges working in both the commercial and defense markets?
CD: Yes, we had to set up production lines that are dedicated to the specific requirements of the commercial wireless and military markets. Most of our military customers prefer the traditional tin-lead solder whereas the commercial wireless manufacturers require lead free solder that meets the European Union’s RoHS Directives.
MWJ: MECA operates from a design center that also serves as a low-volume production facility and addresses high-volume work via manufacturing contractors. I assume custom engineering is a reasonable percentage of your business. What are some of the more challenging custom designs that you receive? What are some of the larger issues driving the various markets you address?
CD: Custom engineering is a substantial part of our business without question. Many customers want products with smaller package sizes with greater power handling capability and ever increasing bandwidth. Total cost to the customer and time to market are factors as well.
MWJ: Does custom design work ever get to the level of helping customers develop specs?
CD: Yes it does. Most customers will start out with a basic requirement and then we generally work with our customers to customize to their specific needs.
MWJ: A lot of passive component manufacturers are talking about PIM. Is this a concern for your products as well?
CD: Yes, it is. In commercial markets we are seeing an increase in low PIM requirements. Consequently we have been investing in PIM test equipment and incorporating best practices to optimize PIM performance when it is a requirement.
MWJ: Engineering resources, new grad versus seasoned bench jockey. What’s the mix at MECA and what can you say about the engineers at MECA?
CD: I would say we have an even mix. We work with local colleges and participate in their work/study programs. We have injected this resource into our engineering department with great success. Many student engineers have stayed with the company after receiving their bachelors and masters degrees. Also we have recently added a new chief engineer to the company that will complement and increase our capabilities.
MWJ: Where do you see the company at 60?
CD: We plan to continue growing our product lines, manufacturing technologies and operating frequency range from the present 150 MHz -- 20 GHz to 5 MHz -- 40 GHz. Also, we will provide higher levels of integration for our customers. I’m sure we will see new markets in ten years that were not even imagined in 2011.