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Industry News

Around the Circuit

March 1, 1999
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Around the Circuit

INDUSTRY NEWS

William C. Brown , a pioneer in microwave power transmission whose contributions to the field included work on the Apollo lander that sent televised images from the moon to the earth, died of cancer February 3 at his home in Waltham, MA. He was 82.

Brown was born in Iowa and received his BSEE from Iowa State University and his MSEE from MIT in 1937 and 1941, respectively. In 1940, he joined Raytheon Co. where he improved upon the design of magnetrons used in World War II microwave radar. In 1952, Brown developed the cross-field amplifier, which found immediate application in military and civil markets, including the Navy Aegis radar, the Hawk and Patriot missile systems, commercial air route surveillance radar and the high data rate communications system in the Apollo lander. This contribution earned him the MTT-S Pioneer Award in 1995.

Brown later proposed the use of microwaves for wireless power transmission and wrote the first published article that explored these possibilities in 1961. In 1964, he demonstrated a microwave-powered helicopter on the CBS News hosted by Walter Cronkite. This concept is widely believed to have led to the development of the rectenna, a device designed to simultaneously absorb a microwave beam and convert it to DC power.

Following his retirement in 1984, Brown continued his work at Raytheon as a consultant. He held 50 patents and authored nearly 100 scientific articles. He was also a Life Fellow of the IEEE. Brown leaves his wife, four daughters and five grandchildren.  

The Magnum Microwave and Radian Technology wholly owned subsidiaries of REMEC Inc. have merged into one operating unit. The new REMEC Magnum Inc. houses both subsidiaries' lines of mixers, VCOs, frequency sources, and filters and multiplexers, and is located at 1990 Concourse Dr., San Jose, CA 95131 (408) 432-9898, fax (408) 432-1551.

In an effort to expand its switching products group, Hudson, NH-based Micronetics Wireless Inc. has acquired Danbury, CT-based Microwave & Video Systems Inc. (MVS) , a designer and manufacturer of microwave components and subassemblies. The acquisition will reportedly increase Micronetics' revenue base by more than 35 percent. Floyd Parin will remain president of MVS.

Morton International , Chicago, IL, has acquired precision fabricator Chand Associates , Spencer, MA. The facility will be used for precision fabrication of high technology ceramic components based on Morton's CVD Silicon Carbide® series products. The acquisition includes a fabricating facility, technology and intellectual property. The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The new facility will become part of the Woburn, MA-based Morton Advanced Material unit, a manufacturer of advanced ceramics for use in semiconductor processing equipment and zinc-based infrared transmitting materials for lenses, prisms, laser optics, thermal imaging and target detection systems.

RF and microwave specialty component distributor Richardson Electronics Ltd.'s Solid State and Components Group has acquired substantially all of the assets of the RFIC business of Pacific Monolithics Inc. The acquisition represents an effort to maintain reliable supply of Pacific Monolithics' line of power amplifiers up to 2.5 GHz, switches, attenuators, VCOs and low noise amplifiers, which Richardson has distributed since 1995. Richardson will utilize the same foundries and assembly facilities for manufacturing and continue to market the parts under the Pacific Monolithics name. Final test will be conducted at Richardson's LaFox, IL value-added facility using the acquired equipment and processes. In related news, the Solid State and Components Group and frequency control product supplier SaRonix have signed a North American distribution agreement under which Richardson will offer SaRonix's broad line of quartz crystals, clock oscillators, and voltage-controlled and temperature-compensated crystal oscillators in metal, plastic and ceramic packages to an established customer base in the computer, networking, telecommunications and wireless systems markets.

In a mutual agreement, highly linear power amplifier manufacturer Microwave Power Devices Inc. , Hauppauge, NY, has determined it will not proceed with its proposed acquisition of ultra-linear power amplifier and related subsystem developer Amplidyne Inc. , Somerset, NJ. The terms of this decision were not disclosed.

Test instrument and system designer Telecom Analysis Systems Inc. (TAS) , Eatontown, NJ, has acquired the wireless and satellite communications testing product lines of Noise Com Inc. , Paramus, NJ, for $19 M. Noise Com's engineering, technical support and administrative staff will join TAS to ensure the continued support of existing Noise Com products and to develop new products to be marketed under the TAS brand name. A new facility in northern New Jersey will house the new TAS employees who will also help define and develop satellite communications test equipment for TAS' sister company, Global Simulation Systems Inc. Noise Com chairman Dale Sydnor has been named VP and GM of the new TAS development and support facility. The transaction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of the year.

Crystal oscillator manufacturer Raltron Electronics Corp. has relocated to its newly completed corporate headquarters and manufacturing and test facilities. The combined facilities cover 51,000 square feet and house all of the features required for state-of-the-art design, development, manufacturing and sale of crystal-based frequency management products, including a clean room, automated aging racks and a highly sophisticated failure analysis lab. The new facilities are located at 10651 NW 19th St., Miami, FL 33172 (305) 593-6033, fax (305) 594-3973.

Precision waveguide component manufacturer Aircom Inc. has moved to a new facility located at 334 East Main St., Orange, MA 01364 (978) 544-8225, fax (978) 544-9902 or e-mail: Aircom@WebTV.Net.

Electronic component and custom assembly manufacturer CTS Corp. , Elkhart, IN, has announced plans to increase its technology capabilities, add new automated assembly equipment and create more than 200 jobs during the next three years at its CTS Corp. UK Ltd. operations in Blatyre, Lanarkshire, Scotland. CTS will invest up to $25 M in the facility as well as its sister operations in Hudson, NH. The company expects the expansion to broaden production activities by creating additional capacity for manufacturing automotive sensor products, enhancing technological capabilities with surface-mount production lines for next-generation products, adding new electronic test capabilities for the interconnect systems business, expanding its plastic molding operations and allowing for the commencement of in-house element printing operations. In related news, CTS and ANADIGICS Inc. have joined the Bluetooth consortium special interest group of industry-leading companies that are working together to deliver seamless connectivity between mobile devices. The consortium was originally founded in May 1998 by Ericsson , IBM , Intel , Nokia and Toshiba .

High reliability hermetic enclosure manufacturer Balo Precision Parts Inc. , a subsidiary of Pacific Aerospace & Electronics Inc. located in Butler, NJ, has purchased the 30,000-square-foot building that houses its state-of-the-art glass-to-metal sealing, brazing and plating operations as well as its Swiss screw machining and CNC turning and milling departments. The company has leased the building since 1985.

AVX Corp. , Myrtle Beach, SC, has developed a fully integrated resistor/capacitor (R/C) impedance-matching device that utilizes DuPont 's low temperature cofired ceramic (LTCC) Green Tape™ technology and thick-film resistor compositions as the electrodes in a multilayer structure. The AVX |Z| Chip™ series integrated R/C devices are designed for bus termination of data transmission lines in high speed digital interconnects for portable consumer products. These terminations are used to maintain signal integrity (by controlling signal reflections), adjust propagation delays and minimize power consumption. The units yield a ±10 percent resistor tolerance after cofiring and are available with a capacitance of 33 to 150 pF and resistance between 22 and 100 W. The R/C devices are the first in a line of Green Tape technology-based integrated passive components being introduced by AVX's research laboratories.

Test and measurement instrument designer IFR Systems Inc. and Giga-tronics Inc. have announced an agreement under which IFR Systems will sell Giga-tronics' range of microwave synthesizers and power measurement instruments internationally. In addition, IFR will gain exclusive distribution rights to the Giga-tronics product line (branded with the IFR name) and provide calibration and repair in all countries except the US, Canada, Mexico, Japan and South Korea.

Time-to-market test chip solution developer TestChip Technologies Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) have jointly designed a new rapid conversion process for customizing parametric test system interfaces. The new service helps design engineers quickly create new validation tools for semiconductor manufacturing processes by converting from HP's Integrated Circuit Modeling Software (ICMS) to the advanced Semiconductor Process Evaluation Core Software (SPECS). By linking HP parametric test systems to TestChip's ready-for-test designs, the number of engineering hours required to prepare a process test cell is expected to be reduced sharply. TestChip has also developed additional fabrication validation services to accelerate integration of HP hardware and software upgrades, including test floor assessment, ICMS wafer or cassette test migration and data correlation. Prices for the process range from approximately $3995 to $39,995 per test plan (depending on the complexity of the plan). In related news, HP EEsof and ANADIGICS Inc. are jointly developing and enhancing design tools in an attempt to improve research and development efficiency. Using the HP Advanced Design System, engineers at both companies are collaborating on product design and software capabilities to improve package modeling, training and integration. Long-term goals of the collaboration include advancing the concept of virtual sampling (the ability to design a software sample that represents a hardware circuit).

Embedded automatic test equipment (ATE) developer LogicVision Inc. , San Jose, CA, has signed a joint marketing agreement with full-service IC foundry provider Worldwide Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. (WSMC) under which the companies will promote LogicVision's embedded ATE technology to mutual customers in an attempt to reduce semiconductor manufacturing test costs. In addition, the companies will jointly certify LogicVision's icBIST™ series embedded ATE product series using WSMC's advanced manufacturing technology.

Smart antenna system provider Metawave Communications Corp. , Redmond, WA, has announced a technical cooperation agreement with Shanghai-based GSM network operator Shanghai Post & Telecommunications Administration and telecommunications equipment distributor Shanghai New Globe Co. The terms of the agreement provide for the development and testing of a new Metawave GSM network smart antenna system that will be tested in Shanghai Telecom's GSM network. New Globe will provide engineering support and a GSM base station to assist the development efforts.

Advanced wireless broadband headend and subscriber product manufacturer Stanford Telecommunications Inc. , Sunnyvale, CA, has signed an agreement with Toshiba Corp. under which the Stanford Wireless Broadband Inc. subsidiary will supply Toshiba with broadband wireless subscriber units and headend network interface units to be incorporated in a wireless broadband system. The equipment supports full-featured telephony and data services, including high speed Internet access, and provides the core technology for networks supporting local multipoint distribution services. Toshiba's wireless broadband system configuration will incorporate Stanford's DAVIC standard-based point-to-multipoint access links operating at up to 42 Mbps in downstream and multiple channels of up to 10.1 Mbps in upstream.

Under the terms of an expanded US partnership agreement, Tektronix Inc. 's end-of-life measurement products (discontinued products at the end of their Tektronix service support program) will now be serviced and supported by GTE Supply's Electronic Repair Services (ERS) , a division of GTE Communication Systems Corp. GTE ERS will allow customers to ship instruments covered by this program directly to its service depot.

The Automatic RF Techniques Group (ARFTG) has developed a new microwave measurement student fellowship program to recognize and provide financial assistance to graduate students who show promise and interest in pursuing research related to improving RF and microwave measurement techniques. One $7.5 K award or more may be granted each year based on available funding and on the number and quality of applications received. The next deadline for applications is April 15, 1999. To be eligible for the award, applicants must have a bachelor's degree in engineering, physics or computer science and be enrolled as a full-time student in a graduate degree program at a suitably qualified higher learning institution. In addition, applicants must be conducting research that clearly involves RF/microwave measurement under the direct supervision of a full-time faculty member. The faculty advisor must be an ARFTG member or the proposal must be sponsored by an ARFTG member. Additional information can be obtained at www.arftg.org/fellow.html or by contacting Jeffrey Jargon, ARFTG fellowship coordinator, National Institute of Standards and Technology, 325 Broadway, M/S 813.01, Boulder, CO 80303 (303) 497-3596, fax (303) 497-3970 or e-mail: jargon@boulder.nist.gov.

Antenna solution designer Cushcraft Corp. , Manchester, NH, has achieved ISO 9001 certification.

FINANCIAL NEWS

Northrop Grumman Corp. reports sales of $8.9 B for the year, ended December 31, 1998, compared to $9.2 B in 1997. Net income was $407 M in 1997. Sales were $2.5 B for the fourth quarters of both 1998 and 1997. The company reports that these results were reduced by previously announced pretax program charges of $125 M in the fourth quarter and $186 M in the first and second quarters for costs related to the terminated merger with Lockheed Martin Corp.

Andrew Corp. reports sales of $218.6 M for the first quarter, ended December 31, 1998, compared to$231.1 M for the same period in 1997. Net income was $23.2 M (28¢/share), compared to $28.3 M (32¢/share) for the first quarter in 1997.

Watkins-Johnson Co. reports sales of $212.2 M for the year, ended December 31, 1998, compared to$291.3 M in 1997. Net income was $32.9 M in 1997. Sales were $63.5 M for the fourth quarter, compared to $72.2 M for the same period in 1997. In related news, Watkins-Johnson has repurchased and retired 3,500,000 shares as authorized by its board of directors. (Currently, 6,547,687 shares are outstanding.)

Microwave Power Devices Inc. reports sales of $55.8 M for the year, ended December 31, 1998, compared to $52 M in 1997. Net income was $580 K in 1997. Sales were $17.7 M for the fourth quarter, compared to $15.8 M for the fourth quarter in 1997.

CONTRACTS

Microwave Power Devices Inc. , Hauppauge, NY, has been awarded a consignment order estimated at $39 M for the supply of highly linear, single-channel, cellular CDMA amplifiers. The amplifiers will be incorporated in Lucent Technologies' international cellular CDMA wireless telecommunications base stations. Deliveries have begun already under the order; multiyear shipments are expected.

Advanced electronic system and microelectronic component manufacturer Aeroflex Inc. 's Microelectronics Division (comprising Aeroflex Circuit Technology and MIC Technology ) has received orders valued at approximately $4.7 M from Lucent Technologies and Raytheon Co. Terms of the contracts call for the supply of microelectronic products used to support fiber-optic interfaces for Internet communications and data communications for the latest-generation Thermal Weapons Sight. Deliveries are expected throughout the year.

Global satellite earth station and network supplier Globecomm Systems Inc. , Hauppauge, NY, has received a $3 M contract from Hughes Network Systems to provide a satellite earth station network in Brazil. The satellite communications network will include solar power subsystems for more than 100 very small aperture terminals and is scheduled for installation in 2000 and 2001.

Danvers, MA-based Signal Technology Corp. has received a $1.5 M follow-on contract to manufacture multi-output, low voltage power supplies for F-18 aircraft. Long-term projections for the program exceed $5 M over the next five years. The company's Keltec Division , Ft. Walton Beach, FL, will continue to manufacture and test the power supplies. In related news, the Keltec Division has received a $500 K contract to develop next-generation high voltage power supplies for multimode radar systems used on fighter and surveillance aircraft. Work on the products will be performed throughout the year. Follow-on production awards are estimated at $12 M over the next six years.

COMSAT Laboratories , Clarksburg, MD, has been awarded a $1.4 M consulting contract to provide technical review and construction monitoring for two satellites that are being constructed for XM Satellite Radio Inc. XM Satellite Radio will offer approximately 100 radio channels of news, sports and entertainment via satellite to automobiles and homes in the US. The satellites are expected to be launched and begin service in late 2000. Terms of the contract call for COMSAT Laboratories to review the design, integration and testing of satellite functions, including propulsion, attitude and thermal control, electrical power, mechanic operations and the antenna system. In addition, the company will provide technical support during and after the launch of each satellite.

Advanced component and subsystem manufacturer Wide Band Systems Inc. , Rockaway, NJ, has received a US Navy contract for modification kits to extend the supportable life span of AN/WLR-1 countermeasures receiver sets for Navy ships. The advanced electronic support measure systems provide 0.5 to 18 GHz coverage, high probability of intercept and detailed analysis tools for emitter identifications. The units are composed of a Wide Band Systems instantaneous frequency measurement receiver in parallel with a channelized superheterodyne receiver supported by dual Pentium® II processors, flat-panel displays and a dedicated antenna. Navy requirements for the contract include revision of all logistic support documentation affected by the design changes.

PERSONNEL

Allen Telecom Inc. has appointed Douglass R. Hall president of its Comsearch division. Most recently, Hall was VP of operations at the division.

Eugene W. Niemiec , vice chairman and chief technology officer of Merrimac Industries, has retired. Niemiec served in several capacities at the company, including various executive officer and engineering positions. He will continue to serve as a member of the company's board of directors.

Sawgrass Electronics Group Inc. has named Michael J. Ferrantino president and CEO. Formerly, Ferrantino was executive VP and COO of CP Clare Corp. where he introduced several new product lines that resulted in significant corporate growth.

David Tennant has been named VP, RF amplifier products at Andrew Corp. Prior to joining Andrew, Tennant was employed at Motorola Inc. for 19 years where he held a series of management positions and was most recently director of operations for multicarrier linear power amplifiers in the cellular infrastructure group.

Richard S. Beeber has joined Signal Technology Corp. as VP, sales and marketing of the company's Arizona and California operations. Beeber brings to the company more than 20 years of managerial experience in sales, marketing, operations and general management at companies such as Hughes Aircraft Co., M/A-COM Inc., Alpha Industries and California Microwave.

In an effort to strengthen long-term sales and distribution development programs, Peregrine Semiconductor Corp. has promoted Milt Miller to VP of sales. Miller has been with the company since 1996 as director of sales.

Sanders, a Lockheed Martin company, has appointed Richard Diamond VP, business development with responsibility for all domestic and international business development activities. Previously, Diamond served in a succession of key business development positions at Lockheed Martin Electronics and Missiles Co., including as director of business development for the company's fire control systems mission area.                

Phillip Musgrove has joined Johnstech International Corp. as director of sales. Musgrove has 23 years of experience in sales and marketing and, most recently, was employed at Gray Fox Technical Services, a division of Control Data Corp.

Richardson Electronics Ltd. has announced several personnel appointments at its Richardson Electronics Italy operations, including Claudio Casali as outside sales team manager to supervise district sales managers who cover Italy, Greece and Turkey; Antonio Bianchi as district sales manager to cover Eastern Europe and Russia; Keith Yexley as European regional product marketing manager to provide customer and sales support for display products, including cathode ray tubes and display monitors; and Marco Birra as medical products district sales manager to support customer requirements in Italy, Greece and Turkey.

Donald G. Bodnar has been appointed director, new business development at Microwave Instrumentation Technologies LLC to identify, define and develop new opportunities for the company's products and technologies. Bodnar joins the company from the US Air Force Research Laboratory where he most recently served as chief scientist, Sensors Directorate.

Boldt Metronics, a business unit of BMI, has named Christian Bahim international sales manager responsible for building awareness and increasing sales of the company's products in Europe. Bahim brings to the position more than 14 years of experience in international manufacturing, including direct sales to multinational customers, and account and European distribution network management. In addition, the company has appointed Steve Lieberman western regional sales manager and Mark Prchlik regional sales manager in Austin, TX and the southwest. Lieberman has served in a variety of sales and electrical engineering capacities for more than 10 and most recently was area sales manager for a PC motherboard development company. Prchlik has worked in the electromagnetic interference/RF interference shielding industry for more than 14 years and was most recently director of sales at EMC Test Systems LLC.

Kyocera America Inc. has promoted Robert Lanzone to GM of the company's new Flip Chip Packaging Division. In addition, Andy Piloto has joined Kyocera America as senior technical staff engineer of research and development in the areas of microwave and high speed digital module development. Prior to this appointment, Piloto was an engineer at Northrop Grumman for 16 years.

Jerry Bleich has been named industry manager of VerticalNet Inc.'s RF Globalnet Web site. Bleich's prior experience includes work in the publishing industry and RF/microwave component marketing.

WEB SITES

Aircom Inc. , Orange, MA, has updated its Web site at www.avsweb.com/aircom to include information on its products, including adapters, antennas, attenuators, bends, detectors, directional couplers, frequency meters, loads, phase shifters, power dividers, pressurizing components, standing-wave detectors, straight sections, switches, transitions, tuners and twists. Contact information, a price list and a complete product catalog can be accessed at the site.

Analog Devices Inc. , Norwood, MA, has updated its Web site to include its Analog Dialogue technical magazine. The magazine features products, applications, technology and techniques for analog, digital and mixed-signal processing, and can be accessed at www.analog.com/analogdialogue.

Resistor manufacturer International Resistive Company Inc. , Boone, NC, has launched an interactive database-driven Web site at www.irctt.com that aids in research and purchasing tasks, including locating inventory, verifying order status, tracking shipments and viewing product information. In addition, the site includes a list of sales representatives and distributors, new product announcements and employment opportunities.

Electronics, power and automatic fuse producer Littelfuse Inc. , Des Plaines, IL, has added an inventory search capability to its Web site at www.littelfuse.com to provide stock availability information on participating distributors of the company's products. Up to three Littelfuse part number inquiries can be entered to obtain a list of distributors that currently have the items in stock.

Glass-to-metal seal package manufacturer Package Technologies Inc. , Taunton, MA, has introduced a new Web site to provide design guides on thermal packages for wireless communications, plastic equivalent packages for research and development microcircuit development and standard metal packages (both flatpack and plug-in designs), glasswall packages (two and four sided), gullwing styles and lids (flat and stepped). Additional sections feature technical data, materials, plating types, quality assurance issues and package evaluation testing. The site can be accessed at www.packagetech.com.

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