SMP-MAX Evolution is Radiall’s latest expansion of the SMP-MAX series. The evolution of SMP-MAX connectors represents a significant leap forward in the realm of subminiature RF connectivity. Developed by Radiall, a renowned global provider of advanced interconnect solutions, the SMP-MAX Evolution family features a broad range of solutions for board-to-board connectors tolerating larger misalignment. With the SMP-MAX Evolution, there is a cost savings with no compromise on performance. Additionally, the SMP-MAX Evolution is fully compatible with the SMP-MAX portfolio and provides more flexibility in part number selection. SMP-MAX Evolution has an excellent cost-to-performance ratio among board-to-board connector solutions.

Figure 1 SMP-MAX Evolution receptacles.

Figure 2 SMP-MAX Evolution adapters.

SMP-MAX Evolution employs innovative technology in the adapter bullet to reduce cost. A composite catcher’s mitt is also used instead of a metal bowl to reduce the overall surface of gold plating. The improved design expands axial misalignment from ±1 mm to ±1.2 mm without sacrificing performance. Figure 1 shows examples of the SMP-MAX Evolution receptacles and Figure 2 shows examples of the SMP-MAX adapter types.

The SMP-MAX Evolution story is incomplete without understanding the origins of the family. SMP-MAX connectors have their roots in the SMP connector family, known for their subminiature design and push-on coupling mechanism. While SMP connectors have established themselves as reliable components in various applications, the evolution to SMP-MAX signified an enhancement that caters to the ever-growing demand for higher performance in smaller packages. The SMP-MAX family was a notable improvement in several areas, which are listed below.

Increased Power Handling Capability: Engineers at Radiall have refined the design to enable these connectors to accommodate higher power levels, making them suitable for applications where power requirements have escalated, such as in advanced radar systems or high-power RF modules.

Extended Frequency Range: While maintaining the subminiature form factor, the SMP-MAX connectors operate over an extended frequency spectrum, reaching frequencies up to 40 GHz. This expanded frequency range aligns with the demands of emerging technologies like 5G, where higher frequencies are becoming integral for enhanced data transmission rates.

Enhanced Durability and Robustness: The SMP-MAX connectors underwent enhancements in durability and robustness. The improvement revolved around the use of advanced materials and manufacturing techniques, ensuring that the connectors can withstand harsh environmental conditions, vibrations and mechanical stress. This robust construction is particularly crucial in aerospace and military applications where reliability under adverse conditions is non-negotiable.

Building upon the advancements of the SMP-MAX product family, the SMP-MAX Evolution connectors offer the following improvements:

  • Up to 2.4 mm board-to-board axial misalignment
  • Radial misalignment: 3 degrees minimum tilt
  • Power up to 300 W
  • Robust bullet with a larger diameter
  • Expanded pour-in range to secure blind mating
  • High quality with automated video quality control.

The team at Radiall has developed an extensive product range:

  • SMP-MAX Evolution test probes and test cables available
  • Complete range of configurations available
  • Unique compatibility with legacy equipment
  • Fully compatible with existing SMP-MAX connectors
  • Multiple sources available.

The broad range of products and the compatibility with existing SMP-MAX solutions allow the SMP-MAX Evolution to target a variety of applications:

Test and Measurement Equipment: The enhanced power handling capability and extended frequency range of SMP-MAX Evolution connectors make them invaluable in test and measurement applications. These connectors find applications in RF testing, network analysis and other measurement systems where precision and reliability are paramount. The compact size allows for intricate designs in testing setups without compromising performance.

Aerospace and Defense Systems:The SMP-MAX connectors address the size, weight and performance challenges and the SMP-MAX Evolution family improves the cost. Their increased power handling capability and robust construction make them suitable for deployment in radar systems, communication equipment and other critical components of aircraft and defense systems.

Satellite Communication Systems: In satellite communication systems, where space is at a premium and high frequencies are often utilized, these connectors offer an optimal solution. Their miniaturized design, enhanced power handling and extended frequency range make them well-suited for integration into satellite antennas, communication modules and other space-constrained components.

Figure 3 Interconnecting radio unit boards in a base station.

Telecommunications Infrastructure:The extended frequency range aligns SMP-MAX Evolution connectors with the evolving landscape of telecommunications infrastructure. As the demand for higher data rates and increased capacity grows with the deployment of 5G technology, these connectors play a crucial role in small cell installations, base station antennas and other components of the telecommunications network. Figure 3 shows a typical wireless communications application, where SMP-MAX and now SMP-MAX Evolution connectors and adapters can be used to transport signals between PCBs.

The evolution of SMP-MAX into SMP-MAX Evolution connectors continues the delicate balance between miniaturizing the footprint, enhancing power handling capability and reducing cost. These trade-offs become particularly significant as space becomes limited in emerging applications. Despite these space limitations, there is a growing demand for connectors that can handle higher power levels without sacrificing performance.

The extended frequency range of the SMP-MAX Evolution connectors ensures that they remain relevant and effective in the face of evolving technology. Communication systems and applications are going to higher frequencies in search of more bandwidth. The ability of the connectors to operate to 40 GHz expands their usefulness for emerging high frequency applications.

The Radiall SMP-MAX Evolution product family represents an innovative stride in subminiature RF connectivity. As technology advances, these connectors stand as a testament to Radiall’s commitment to improvement and meeting the evolving needs of industries such as aerospace, defense, telecommunications and satellite communication. The family exemplifies the delicate balance between size, performance and cost, paving the way for the next generation of compact, yet powerful RF connectivity solutions. The SMP-MAX Evolution represents the next step down the path of enabling higher performance solutions at a reduced cost.

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