Having recently taken over the Advanced Connectivity Solutions group, what are your some of your high-level strategic plans?
We will continue to provide leading customer service and support for RF materials in a broad range of high frequency applications. Specifically, we are taking a couple of actions which can better support the needs of our customers:
- First of all, we are building capacity at manufacturing sites closer to our customers’ locations, especially for customers in the telecommunication and automotive radar markets, in order to shorten lead times.
- Secondly, we are providing multiple product solutions to address customers’ design needs in fast-growing markets such as 5G massive MIMO AAUs and 77 GHz automotive radars.
- Thirdly, while we have a strong team, we will further enhance the skill sets of our sales and marketing team to better support our customers’ commercial and technical needs.
What are the main challenges facing your customers?
One of the main challenges is to build adequate capacity to support the rapid and massive 5G rollout, not only in 2019 but also in 2020 and beyond. Our Advanced Connectivity Solutions (ACS) team predicted the large capacity needs for 5G a couple of years ago and have been expanding capacity in the last 2-3 years to get ready for the big 5G wave. We installed more presses and treaters in our global supply network; increased productivity of our existing presses and treaters; in addition, we bought production assets in Chandler, Arizona from Isola in the second half of 2018. Now, we are confident our capacity is more than sufficient to meet the surging demands from 5G.
What are the major market opportunities for Rogers in high frequency applications?
High frequency applications are growing very quickly in multiple market segments, providing many new opportunities for the ACS business of Rogers Corporation. One example is RF and Transceiver boards for 77 GHz automotive radars, which are being installed in more and more mass-market car models. 77 GHz radars require very low insertion loss, very tight Dk tolerance and phase change, very good fabrication properties including smaller vias, and accurate characterization of electrical properties at actual operating frequency of 77 GHz. We launched two new products in the past two years to address these design needs, one with ceramic-filled PTFE and the other with thermoset resins. Both products have been successfully adopted by multiple radar suppliers and volume production has already started.
How is Rogers helping designers in mmWave applications such as 5G, satellite and automotive radar?
We launched multiple products over the past few years to broaden our solutions for mmWave applications at 5G, satellite and automotive radar. Take 5G mmWave high power radio as an example, we provided two solutions. The first solution is based upon thermoset technology, using RO4835T™ laminate and RO4450T™ bondply, which have all the performance advantages of Rogers RO4000® laminates and bonply materials with the benefit of multiple thinner thickness options. Both products were launched in early 2018. The second solution, CLTE-MW™ laminate is based on PTFE technology, which has even lower insertion loss. At the same time, we also generated very comprehensive electrical testing data of these products at various mmWave frequencies to assist the RF designers.
How has Rogers’ materials helped with the thermal challenges that designers are facing today with higher power circuits?
RO4000® laminates have very good thermal conductivity properties. For example, RO4350B™ laminate has a thermal conductivity (TC) value of 0.69/ W/(m∙K). For the applications requiring even higher thermal conductivity, TC350™ laminates have a TC value of 1.0. During IMS 2019 in Boston, we launched TC350 Plus laminates, which have a TC value of 1.24 W/(m∙K) and provide even better thermal conductivity.
Where does Rogers participate in the A&D markets and what advantages does Rogers offer in this market?
Our products are broadly used in the A&D markets, such as radar systems, guidance systems, and high reliability satellite and ground terminals. We have a broad product offering to serve these applications. RT/duroid® laminates, TMM® laminates, and CLTE Series® laminates are some of most popular Rogers’ RF laminates used by RF designers for A&D markets
Rogers provides many advantages to the A&D markets and has been the leading choice of RF laminates and bondplys in the A&D market for more than 50 years. I want to highlight two advantages here. One unique advantage is long-time reliability of our products under very harsh environments, even including space. The second advantage is we provides many custom solutions to the customers in A&D markets including material with magnetic properties and 3D shapes for antennas.
Rogers recently introduced a PCB material for high-speed digital applications, how is Rogers penetrating this marketplace?
Yes, Rogers launched XtremeSpeed™ RO1200™ laminates about 2 years ago. These are very low loss laminates targeting the higher speed IP infrastructure market, including switches and routers etc. We are working with main IP infrastructure OEMs to assist their high-layer count designs for speeds up to 112 Gbps and working with leading fabricators to fabricate these complex designs successfully. The fabricated prototypes have passed signal integrity tests from multiple leading OEMs.
Rogers recently re-designed their web site, what improvements were made and how has it been received by customers?
The fully redesigned Rogerscorp.com launched on October 15, 2019. In addition to the visual look and feel of the site, improvements also include elevated relevant content – including calculators, tools and support hubs – so they are easier to find, simplified navigation and layout for more intuitive browsing as well as a heightened presence for customer support, so it is easier to find the right Rogers resource quickly. We’ve received some great customer feedback, but our favorite called the new site “World Class” and I want to take this opportunity to thank the Rogers’ team responsible for the significant enhancements.