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Industry News

Around the Circuit

August 1, 1998
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Around the Circuit

INDUSTRY NEWS

Methode Electronics Inc. has merged its connector and interconnect product divisions to form a new Connector Products division. The resources of the two divisions are now under the direction of one management team and have combined engineering, fabricating and assembly activities. The Connector Products division’s newly expanded state-of-the-art facility houses automatic assembly concepts and an internal communications network to improve customer service and is located at 1700 Hicks Rd., Rolling Meadows, IL 60008 (847) 392-3500, fax (847) 392-9404.

Wireless Inc. and Multipoint Networks Inc. have signed a definitive merger agreement whereby the company will operate as Wireless Inc. The merger is said to be a natural transition from the investment Wireless Inc. made in Multipoint Networks in July 1997. Since that time, both companies’ sales and marketing forces have collectively provided high speed transmission products to the wireless market. The merger is expected to be completed by August 31, subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals. The new corporate headquarters is located at 19 Davis Dr., Belmont, CA 94002 (650) 595-3300, fax (650) 595-2417 or e-mail: info@wire-less-inc.com.

AVX Corp. , Myrtle Beach, SC, has acquired the TPC passive component business of Thomson-CSF for approximately $75 M (including the assumption of debt). With manufacturing operations in France, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brazil, TPC offers products such as film and ceramic capacitors, high energy and high voltage power capacitors, ferrites, varistors and nonlinear resistors. Collectively, these businesses generated sales of $135 M in 1997.

Display product distributor Richardson Electronics Ltd. , LaFox, IL, has acquired Sugar Grove, IL-based Eternal Graphics , a regional, value-added distributor of specialized presentation and flat-panel display monitors, workstations, graphics accelerators and various display technologies. The acquisition reportedly provides Richardson with additional engineering capabilities and a broader display product offering.

Following the recent achievement of strategic initiatives to expand into the test and measurement business and pursue new markets, JMAR Industries Inc. has changed its name to JMAR Technologies Inc. In addition, JMAR has changed the names of several of its subsidiaries, including the Pacific Precision Laboratories equipment subsidiary, which has been renamed JMAR Precision Systems Inc. , the California ASIC Inc. product subsidiary, which has been renamed JMAR Semiconductor Inc. and the JMAR Technology Co. research and development subsidiary, which has been renamed JMAR Research Inc.

In an attempt to more accurately reflect its capital equipment technology solutions, Palomar Products Inc. , Vista, CA, has changed its name to Palomar Technologies Inc. The company designs and manufactures a wide range of bonding, welding and reflow soldering equipment used for precision interconnect solutions in the microelectronics assembly industry.

Shenzhen STS Microelectronics has inaugurated its new state-of-the-art assembly and test plant and advanced, full-custom design and development center in the Futian Free Trade Zone located in the People’s Republic of China. The facility spans 37,100 square miles and is one of the largest joint venture semiconductor companies in China. The joint venture company was formed in 1994 between STMicroelectronics (ST) and the Shenzhen Electronics Group to assemble and test ST’s semiconductor components and provide application-specific IC design services based on ST’s submicron technologies.

Analog Devices Inc. , Norwood, MA, has established an exclusive partnership with The Harman Professional Group to supply SHARC" digital signal processors (DSP) for the company’s high performance product portfolio. The Harman Professional Group will choose from a wide range of 32-bit SHARC DSPs for use in its products, including professional audio and recording equipment.

AT&T Wireless Services and Ericsson Mobile Phones have donated airtime and 225 wireless telephones to 50 Mobile Neighborhood Watch groups in Salt Lake City and Ogden, UT as part of the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association Foundation Communities on Phone Patrol (COPP) program. The COPP initiative was launched in 1996 to provide Mobile Neighborhood Watch patrols across the US with the ability to report crimes or suspicious activity using wireless telephones that are preprogrammed with an emergency number. Over the past year, more than 10,400 watch groups have received telephones and free airtime from Ericsson and wireless carriers, enabling 440,000 volunteers to communicate over the air with police.

Micron Technology Inc. , Micron Electronics Inc. and Rendition Inc. have developed a new graphics architecture that defines the interface between single-chip graphics accelerators and PC system boards. Socket X™ technology will be introduced during an industry-wide open forum in which PC and motherboard manufacturers and graphics developers can provide valuable input toward finalizing the Socket X specification. The cooperative effort will aim to provide an industry-standard footprint for graphics products. Once completed, the Socket X specification will comply with existing PC graphics standards, including AGP, PCI, PC 99, VIP and PanelLink.

Micro Substrates Corp. (MSC) , Tempe, AZ, and Abpac Inc. , Phoenix, AZ, have entered into an agreement to provide complete packaging solutions to MMIC customers. Under the terms of the agreement, MSC will design and manufacture high frequency (up to 40 GHz) ceramic VIA/PAK™ ball-grid array packages for microwave and mm-wave radio applications, and Abpac will provide die assembly and testing services.

RF/microwave coaxial component distributor Microwave Distributors Co. (MDC) , Islandia, NY, has entered into a stocking distributor arrangement with semirigid low loss copper and aluminum coaxial cable manufacturer EZ Form Cable Corp. of New Haven, CT, which will allow EZ Form products to be shipped from MDC stock within 24 hours. MDC will stock EZ Form’s entire cable line, including the new conformable type, and service customer needs for specialty orders, including delay lines.

Linear power amplifier and related subsystem manufacturer Microwave Power Devices Inc. (MPDI) , Hauppauge, NY, has finalized a development and supply agreement with QUALCOMM Inc. , San Diego, CA, under which MPDI will develop, manufacture, test and deliver highly linear, single-channel, cellular code-division multiple access (CDMA) amplifiers. The finalization produced an additional $4.5 M in follow-on production orders for MPDI. MPDI is supplying the amplifiers for use in QUALCOMM’s cellular QCell™ CDMA base stations, which support worldwide wireless local loop applications and will be utilized to upgrade existing cellular infrastructure from analog to digital.

TrueTime Inc. , Santa Rosa, CA, has announced it is supplying time and frequency systems to Hughes Network Systems Inc. (HNS) , Germantown, MD, to support the HNS MobileSat Inclined Circular Orbit (ICO) Global Communications project in London, UK. Each time and frequency system consists of dual redundant Global Positioning System (GPS) primary reference sources (PRS) and model 56000 data rate clock and distribution systems. The GPS PRS/56000 systems work together to time stamp all messages and generate clock rates for the HNS satellite communications gateways. Additional MobileSat shipments will follow as the ICO project and other program contracts expand.

Santa Clara, CA-based National Semiconductor Corp. and Sweden-based IAR Systems have agreed to offer IAR’s Embedded Workbench, a complete C-compiler toolset developed to program and debug National’s COP8 series microcontrollers. The highly integrated, Windows™-based software offers the capability to greatly accelerate time to production and profitability. Final product release of the software is scheduled for November; Beta site release is scheduled for this month.

Northrop Grumman Corp. has announced that its model AN/AAQ-24(V) Directed IR Countermeasures (DIRCM) system has successfully defeated a variety of ground-to-air missiles during its first live-fire test. Northrop Grumman and its major UK-based subcontractors GEC-Marconi (which produced the turret) and British Aerospace (Systems and Equipment) Ltd. (which produced the power supply) are developing DIRCM for the UK Ministry of Defence and the US Special Operations Command to defend rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft from attack by IR-guided, ground-to-air missiles. The initial firing, which occurred June 8 at the US Army’s White Sands, NM missile range, marked the beginning of a series of live-fire tests designed specifically to confirm the excellent results obtained from the simulated, computer-based attacks conducted earlier in the program.

A development team at Sanders , a Lockheed Martin company, Nashua, NH, has successfully demonstrated the first fully integrated development model of the tri-service AN/AAR 57 Common Missile Warning System (CMWS) and AN/ALQ-212 Advanced Threat IR Countermeasures (ATIRCM) system/CMWS. The fully integrated system comprised a CMWS sensor and electronic control unit for missile warning and a single-jam head control unit and laser for onboard IR countermeasures. Each component performed flawlessly in the test, demonstrating the system’s functionality in identifying, tracking and jamming a simulated target and two actual captive missile seekers. The entire sequence of operations during the demonstration, from detection to jamming, occurred in less than a second.

The Transport and Access Systems Group of World Access Inc. , Wilmington, MA, has announced that it will resell Glenayre Western Multiplex ’s LYNX.sc line of point-to-point spread spectrum radios as part of World Access’ newly introduced WavePLEX series of digital microwave radios. The series comprises a full suite of T1/E1 and fractional capacity spread spectrum radios that operate in the license-free 2.4 or 5.8 GHz frequency bands.

Trimble Navigation Ltd. , Sunnyvale, CA, has announced that its GPS equipment was utilized by researchers atop Mt. Everest as part of the 1998 Everest Extreme Expedition to determine the exact height of the mountain. The measurements were made following a successful ascent of Mt. Everest during which climbers placed a Trimble GPS receiver on the summit at 29,028 feet. The geological equipment and GPS surveying receivers also were used to conduct experiments in physiology and telemedicine to determine how the extreme altitudes affect climbers’ bodies.

Aydin Telemetry , a division of Aydin Corp. located in Newtown, PA, has been certified to the ISO 9001 quality system standard.

Cougar Components Corp. , Sunnyvale, CA, has been certified to the ISO 9001 quality system standard and the MIL-PRF-38534 (classes H and K) Technology Review Board (TRB) Option. The company’s TRB is a team of cross-functional department members who meet weekly to assess quality, design, process, manufacturing and test issues. The TRB certification option allows the team to consider and implement improvements and alternative methods that can reduce production lead times, increase quality levels and lower costs. Cougar Components reportedly is one of only four companies worldwide to receive MIL-PRF-38534 TRB Option certification.

Z-Communications Inc. , San Diego, CA, has received a patent aimed at raising the performance standard in low noise VCO technology. Patent number 5,748,051 was issued to the company for its work on improving single sideband phase noise performance over conventional microstrip-based oscillators.

A team of engineers from TRW Inc. , Redondo Beach, CA, has been honored by the International Conference on Indium Phosphide and Related Materials for its work developing high speed ICs constructed from indium phosphide, a next-generation semiconductor material. A technical paper describing the team’s efforts in producing an indium phosphide low noise amplifier chip that can operate at 155 GHz recently was voted one of the best papers presented during the conference’s 10-year history.

FINANCIAL NEWS

Watkins-Johnson Co. reports sales of $68.7 M for the first quarter, ended March 27, compared to $67.2 M for the same period last year. Net income was $9.7 M ($1.15/diluted share), compared to a net loss of $318 K (4¢/diluted share) for the first quarter last year.

REMEC Inc. reports sales of $45.8 M for the first quarter, ended May 1, compared to $33.9 M for the same period last year. Net income was $4.4 M (19¢/diluted share), compared to $2.4 M (11¢/diluted share) for the first quarter last year. In related news, REMEC reports that a number of commercial customers have rescheduled releases of existing orders. (No significant orders have been canceled.) These delays are expected to produce a lower revenue on a quarter-to-quarter sequential basis, resulting in REMEC’s failure to achieve its predicted income for the second quarter, ended July 31.

Comtech Telecommunications Corp. reports sales of $8.7 M for the third quarter, ended April 30, compared to $5.5 M for the same period last year. Net income was $388 K (15¢/share), compared to $83 K (3¢/share) for the third quarter last year.

In an attempt to amend its publicly traded common stock purchase warrants, JMAR Technologies Inc. has proposed an increase in its warrant exercise price from $4.68 to $5.50 per share, an adjustment to the existing redemption provision to state that the company may redeem any unexercised warrant for 5¢ each if the average closing price of the common stock is $7 or more over a period of 10 consecutive trading days and an extension of the expiration date of the warrants to May 15, 2000. Prior to the warrant consent solicitation, a total of 2,705,882 common stock purchase warrants were issued and outstanding. Holders of 2,443,549 warrants have consented to the proposed amendments and 262,333 warrants have expired due to either the receipt of a negative vote or the failure of the holders to respond to the solicitation by the deadline.

CONTRACTS

Lucent Technologies was awarded a contract valued at approximately $700 M from Sprint PCS to supply equipment and services for the next phase of Sprint PCS’ nationwide wireless network development and expansion. A $1.8 B contract was exercised with Lucent during the first phase of Sprint PCS’ national roll-out of its 100 percent digital/personal communications service (PCS) nationwide wireless network. Under the terms of the current agreement, Lucent will supply and install CDMA network infrastructure equipment and services, including base stations, switches, software and professional services. Sprint PCS plans to expand coverage in its current markets and build new networks in markets not being served currently, including Las Vegas, NV; Riverside, CA; southern New Jersey (including Atlantic City); and Colorado Springs, Vail and the Summit County ski areas in Colorado.

GaAs MMIC and MMIC-based module producer TRW Inc. , Redondo Beach, CA, has increased volume production of its GaAs-based multichip electronic modules following a $15 M order from Nokia Telecommunications for mm-wave receivers. TRW will deliver modules operating in frequency bands from 18 to 38 GHz. Work on the modules will be performed at the TRW MilliWave subsidiary located in Diamond Springs, CA.

Etch and deposition process equipment manufacturer Veeco Metrology , Santa Barbara, CA, has received a $2 M contract from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) for multiple metrology systems. The order includes the new DEKTAK SXM-320 series automated critical dimension atomic force microscopy and DEKTAK Series V automated stylus profilers for installation at AMD’s Fab 30 facility in Dresden, Germany. These metrology tools incorporate clean room engineering with robotic handling and an integrated SMIF interface. Delivery is scheduled for the second quarter of this year.

The Transport and Access Systems Group of World Access Inc. has received a $1 M contract from Siemens AG to provide digital microwave radios and integration services to Philippines-based National Power Corp. (NPC). As part of NPC’s expansion of its telecommunications and control systems covered by the Asian Development Bank-financed Northwestern Luzon 500 kV Project, World Access will supply digital microwave radios and integration services through Siemens AG (the turnkey contractor of the project). The Northwestern Luzon 500 kV Project is NPC’s first 500 kV substation in the Philippines. NPC will deploy World Access’ WavePLEX FSK+ series digital microwave radios operating in the 7 GHz frequency band using a combination of 4, 8 and 16 E1 data rates. World Access also will provide network design, integration and testing services to upgrade the existing communications infrastructure with new digital microwave radio links.

Comtech Telecommunications Corp. ’s Arizona-based Comtech Communications Corp. operating unit has received a $500 K contract for satellite communications frequency converters that will be used in the expansion of Hughes DirectTV" direct broadcast satellite service. DirectTV Inc. plans to use multiple Ku-band transponders to further expand its programming lineup in the US with a broad array of diverse special-interest services to underserved consumer segments. New services will include niche programming, future business-to-business applications and high definition television programming. Currently, DirectTV provides more than 3.3 million subscribers with access to more than 175 channels of entertainment, sports, news and family programming.

CommQuest Technologies Inc. has received a multimillion-dollar contract from Hong Kong-based Truly Telecommunications Company Ltd. for the design and production of GSM wireless telephones in cooperation with Chinese design specialist Telecom Technology Centre. Truly Telecommunications will use CommQuest’s Total System Solution™ and GSM-XL chipsets for handset design, PCB modifications, user interface software customization, testing and other technical support.

PERSONNEL

Vincent Lutheran has been named president of Semflex and Swiss Precision Products. Formerly, Lutheran was VP and GM at Wiltron Co.

Kyocera America Inc. has appointed Doug Allday VP of its growing Kyocera Mexicana S.A. de C.V. (KMX) ceramic IC package manufacturing operation in Mexico. Most recently, Allday was operations control manager at the KMX division.

Rick Ried has been appointed VP, marketing and sales at GEL-PAK Corp. Prior to joining the company, Ried was director of multichip module ball-grid array products at Amkor Electronics.

Jack Fenster has been named director, RF communications products at Broadband Communications Products Inc. where he will be responsible for market analysis, product planning, product and account management, and marketing communications for the company’s commercial fiber-optic RF communications product line. Previously, Fenster was director of Scientific Atlanta’s satellite broadcast unit.

Kimberly Conway has joined Alpha Industries as GaAs fab manufacturing process engineering manager. Prior to this appointment, Conway held a number of technical engineering management positions in silicon fabs at Digital Equipment Corp., including section head and engineering manager of diffusion/films/chemical vapor deposition/implant and photolithography.

Leonard Amaton has been appointed director of quality assurance at Precision Tube Co. where he will be responsible for all phases of materials compliance and quality assurance as well as product quality control. Previously, Amaton was quality control supervisor at Amcast Industrial Corp.’s Brass division.

The North American Headquarters of Radiall Inc. has named Nancy J. Smith manager of customer support services. Smith has held similar positions within the coax industry for 15 years.

REP APPOINTMENT

Connor-Winfield Corp. , Aurora, IL, has appointed two independent sales representatives to market its full line of frequency control devices and subsystems. Richmar Electronics Corp. , Downers Grove, IL, will cover Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska; R.O. Whitesell and Associates , Indianapolis, IN, will cover Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

WEB SITES

Thick-film ceramic substrate manufacturer Amitron Inc. has developed a Web site to provide technical specifications on its products. The site, which is located at http://www.amitron.com, also includes a design guide and a virtual tour of the company’s manufacturing process.

Hewlett-Packard Co. has designed a new Web site that offers research and development and test professionals an opportunity to examine the company’s 6800 series AC power source/analyzers through demonstrations of the graphical user interface, product data and application references, including details on 50/60 Hz power line disturbances, 400 Hz avionics power, applications and sample waveform pictures. A downloadable product tour also is provided. The site can be accessed at http://www.hp.com/go/acdemo.

Wireless test equipment manufacturer Noise Com Inc. , Paramus, NJ, has redesigned its Web site to include a sophisticated database-driven construction that allows dynamic, real-time information updates. The new format also allows technical specifications on the company’s test systems and components to be accessed quickly. The site, which is located at http://www.noisecom.com, has been optimized for viewing in Microsoft Internet Explorer" and Netscape Navigator."

Pulsar Microwave Corp. has developed a new Web site that features a corporate profile and detailed information on its products. The site can be accessed at http://www.pulsarmicrowave.com.

Signal Technology Corp.’s Arizona Operation & Space Center has introduced a new Web site located at http://www.sigtech.com/Arizona/index.htm.

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