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Aerospace and Defense Channel / Cellular 4G/LTE Channel / Software/EDA Channel / Test and Measurement Channel

Companies Compete for Gold at EuMW

September 14, 2012
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When athletes assemble at the Olympics to represent their respective countries, the world collectively celebrates individual achievement, national pride and the thrill of watching elite competition. From the Berlin games of 1936 through the Cold War and beyond, bringing home the gold has always translated into a public relations victory for governments good and bad. As a result, Cold War adversaries supported their athletic programs as surely as they invested in national defense. Since the end of the Cold War, the rivalry between east and west has diminished and the support of athletes is more likely to come from corporate sponsorships. Yet we still watch the games with a nationalistic fervor.

In the global marketplace, many companies competing on the world stage as multi-national organizations are still often identified by their country of origin. Yet, many familiar multi-national companies have blurred this identity by setting up shop in select emerging markets to take advantage of being closer to potential customers in as much as they are tapping into lower labor and manufacturing costs. Other companies are distinctly regional, utilizing indigenous talent pools and servicing a localized customer base. Such companies may be well recognized within their own borders, but less so at the international level. Companies looking to expand beyond their country’s borders in search of new markets have the opportunity to do so at a number of industry-based exhibitions that take place across the globe over the course of the year. As the industry descends on Amsterdam for EuMW, the Olympic spirit is alive and well as companies from around the world come to “compete” at the largest microwave exhibition in Europe.

The Global Marketplace

Recent reports on global trade indicate that a quarter of all produced goods will cross national borders and 70 percent of the goods produced in the United States will compete against products made abroad.1 Meanwhile, much of the global economy has shifted away from the U.S. toward China and India as these countries grow into leading economies in terms of total economic output (or GDP) and energy consumption. Estimates show that 70 percent of world growth over the next few years will come from emerging markets, with China and India accounting for 40 percent of that growth. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that the total GDP of emerging markets could overtake that of the developed economies as early as 2014 and these emerging markets already attract almost 50 percent of foreign direct investment (FDI) global inflows and account for 25 percent of FDI outflows. This new direction in the flow of investment dollars is one reason why 7 out of 10 U.S. high technology industries have lost world market share since 1965. In today’s global economy, competition is a matter of survival.

To compete in world markets, technology companies need to 1.) Create, apply, and protect their technology; 2.) Have access to capital for investment and product development; and 3.) Have access to a skilled, flexible and motivated work force. These factors are highly influenced by local business (investment) conditions and government policies (taxes, pro-business policies and support for education/training of its citizens). Given any government’s impact on a business’s ability to succeed, it is understandable that we associate microwave companies with the countries where they originally flourished. Naturally, certain regions are hotbeds for particular technologies, where localized expertise has allowed one or more companies to dominate.

Passive/Active Hybrid Modules

In the RF/microwave hybrid modules category, China is represented by two companies at EuMW. Chengdu Omicron Microwave Technology Co., established in 2007, offers an array of passive RF/microwave components including power dividers, couplers, filters, attenuators, phase shifters, isolator/circulators and terminations with SMA or N-type connectors (up to 18 GHz). The company has a limited line of active components including modularized PIN diode switches (SPST, SP2T, SP4T) and LNAs covering select narrow bands up to 6 GHz. Chengdu Omicron Microwave boosts an internal R&D department for developing new products based on customer specifications, advanced production line, and a team of technical support engineers to address both Chinese and international markets. Visit Chengdu Omicron (www.omicron-mw.com) at Booth 307.

Also from China, Chengdu Tiger Microwave Technology Co., established in 1992, hails from Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. Tiger possesses a production and office area of over 20,000 square meters with more than 500 employees. Tiger’s main focus is in R&D, manufacturing and selling microwave components, assemblies and subsystems, offering products used in military as well as commercial applications, including power dividers, couplers, combiners, hybrids, filters & duplexers, isolators and circulators, TMA, etc. Tiger is one of the biggest microwave components manufacturers in China and has already established long-term partner relationships with Ericsson, ZTE, YAGI and others. Chengdu Tiger (www.tiger-mw.com) shows off its capabilities at Booth 107.

Representing France in this category, AA-MCS is a European leader in design, development and manufacturing of passive and active radio frequency and microwave components including attenuators, directional couplers, filters, dividers and (pin diode) switches for demanding applications in defense, aerospace, telecommunications, medical equipment, emc and instrumentation. On the active side, the company designs and produces broadband solid state power amplifiers (SSPA) covering DC to 50 GHz, for power up to 500 W CW. Say ‘Bon Jour’ to AA-MCS (www.aa-mcs.com/en/) at Booth 507.

France’s second entry in this field is Diconex, a specialist for power loads, resistors and attenuators for RF and microwaves. Founded in 1962, the company that manufactured coaxial connectors for ALCATEL back in 1988 started designing microwave components in 1996 and antenna systems in 2009. With expertise in high power, thick film technologies and antenna systems engineering, Diconex offers products from miniature surface mount components to heavy duty devices for TV transmitters, radiocom base stations, radars, synchrotrons and antennas systems. Visit Diconex (www.diconex.fr/) at Booth 201.

AFT Microwave from Germany comes to compete in Amsterdam with a product range of mainly high power components and subsystems in waveguide and coaxial line technology, including 3 dB and directional couplers, attenuators, amplitude phase (IQ) modulators and circulators/isolators. In addition to the company’s expertise in integrated microwave circuits (ceramic substrates in microstrip transmission line and coplanar line technology), AFT Microwave also competes in several waveguide categories. See AFT Microwave (www.aft-microwave.com) at Booth 105.

The United States is represented in this category by powerhouse Crane Aerospace and Electronics. The Microwave Solutions division demonstrates the depth of its expertise with a wide range of product solutions from component level devices to complex, advanced integrated microwave assemblies including circulators/isolators, passive products (mixers, power dividers, couplers, hybrids, modulators, beamformers, phase shifters and antenna elements), low noise sources, frequency converters, switching and signal detection products. With over 2800 employees, this 150-plus year old company has products that can be found in some of the toughest environments, from aircraft engines and landing gear to space satellites and medical implants. Crane Aerospace and Electronics (www.craneae.com) is situated in Booth 306.

Test & Measurement Equipment

This category has been dominated for years by teams such as the United States’ perennial favorite, Agilent (www.Agilent.com) at Booth 114, Germany’s precision expert Rohde & Schwarz (www.rohde-schwarz.com) at Booth 115 and the measurement gurus at Anritsu (www.anritsu.com) from Japan (with U.S. headquarters in Morgan Hill, CA) at Booth 316. Aeroflex Test Solutions (www.aeroflex.com/ats) with divisions in the U.S. and UK has made an impact in this category as well by offering stand-alone boxes and modular components such as the S-series digital signal generators and vector signal analyzers. The company, which will be located at Booth 523, has been scoring points with highly reliable, customized, innovative and cost effective tools. Meanwhile, relative newcomer to the RF/microwave market, National Instruments from Austin, TX is becoming a major player in high frequency measurement instruments. The company’s graphical programming software, LabVIEW, and modular, open hardware delivers flexible solutions for a wide variety of applications ranging from simple data logging to high-performance automated test, industrial control, and advanced embedded control and monitoring. Check out NI (www.ni.com) at Booth 317. NI will be debuting their new software-defined instrument, the vector signal transceiver, to a general microwave audience.

China Qingdao Xingyl Electronic Equipment, otherwise known as The 41st Institute of CETC (China Electronics Technology Group Corp.) is the only such institute in China developing and manufacturing electronic measurement instruments and automatic testing systems. The company has over 920 employees with more than 350 technical personnel with mid to high level engineering degrees. The company’s long term objective aims quite high, “To be a best in Instrument industry in China; To be a world-known brand; To be a first-class Institute.” To realize such an ambitious goal, the Institute is calling on its teams of researchers “to acquire knowledge and develop its own intellectual property based on self-development and self-design.” With an eye on the advanced technologies throughout the world, CETC 41 management is committed “to the long-term principle of independence gained through complete self-owned knowledge property rights.” Currently the company offers a portfolio of portable and bench top test equipment including transmission line/antenna analyzers, spectrum analyzers, signal generators, power meters and integrated VNAs. To learn more about the company’s product lines and their quest to be a major test & measurement player, visit CETC 41 (www.ei41.com) at Booth 206.

The test and measurement field also includes specialized test solutions from across the globe including competitors in sub-categories such as load pull - Maury Microwave (U.S., Booth 314A) and Focus Microwave (Canada, Booth 510), nonlinear device characterization – Auriga Measurement Systems (U.S., Booth 314E), AMCAD (France, Booth 413), NMDG (Belgium), and Mesuro Ltd. (UK, Booth 226), and VNA add-ons such as wafer probes from Cascade (U.S., Booth 314F) and millimeter-wave extensions from OML (U.S., Booth 310).

Cables/Connectors

There are a lot of global competitors in the cable and connector categories, especially in Switzerland and Germany, where the precision machining found in high-performance interconnects is considered an art form. Microwave Journal readers are well-acquainted with the likes of Huber+SuhneR (Switzerland, Booth 517), Rosenberger Hochfrequenztechnik (Germany, Booth 325), Spinner GmbH (Germany, Booth 613), and Ingun GmBH (Germany, Booth 517). Also from Europe, ATEM Holding offers cable assemblies and coax links designed and manufactured in France. Look for coaxial links, flexible cords (RG, MIL-17, low loss, stable phase), and semi-rigid cables from ATEM Holding (www.atem.com) at Booth 326.

While the American cable/connector companies mostly opted out of the EuMW exhibition, several new competitors from Asia will be at the exhibition looking to establish some penetration into European markets.

From Taiwan, HUANG LIANG designs and manufactures high performance RF and microwave connectors, cable assemblies, adaptors and specialty OEM matching parts. Operating from Taiwan since 1986, HUANG LIANG (www.thlp.com.tw) is in Booth 323. And from China, Xi’an Gold Wave is located in the ancient city of Xi’an. Established in 2002, the company specializes in high precision RF coaxial connectors, low-loss stable cable assemblies R&D and production, the series covers the products that are widely used in the domestic aerospace, aviation, navigation, telemetry, remote control, radar, electronic warfare and other military equipment, military industrial machine systems supporting key units. The company is fully qualified and has passed Chinese military standard of GJB, quality system certification GB/T19001-2009/ISO9001: 2008 confidential certification and weaponry research and production license book, one of the 100 competitive enterprises in Shaanxi Province. Visit Xi’an Gold Wave (www.xiangoldwave.com) in Booth 108.

In our highly specialized field, where performance is paramount to survival, the industry as a whole can take pride in the technological achievements of our fellow microwave practitioners and the companies (and countries) they represent on the field of competition at any of the major trade exhibitions.

Reference

  1. Six Global Trends Shaping the Business World: Emerging Markets Increase Their Global Power Report from Ernst & Young, www.ey.com.

Recent Articles by David Vye - Editor, Microwave Journal

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