Executive Interview: Bill Callahan, General Manager of Times Microwave
Times Microwave is a well-known name in the industry, yet I’m not sure how many of us can recall the history of the company. Tell us about the origins.
Times Microwave Systems was founded in 1948 as Times Wire and Cable Company in New York City and derives its name from its original location near Times Square. In the early 1950s, the company relocated to Connecticut. Smiths, a U.K. company, acquired Times in 1989, and we joined Amphenol in 2009.
What is the market and product focus of Times Microwave today? How high in frequency and power do your products support?
Times Microwave Systems focuses on RF and microwave interconnects for a broad range of industries and applications. These include military, aerospace, telecommunications, medical, high energy physics, rail/transit and industrial markets.
We offer the broadest range of products and manufacturing technologies of any supplier. Our products range in size from 0.047 in. to more than 2 in. diameter. We can process virtually any type of plastic for dielectrics and jackets and even offer silicon dioxide dielectric cables. The outer conductor types we supply include flat and round wire braids, helically wound strip, smooth wall tubes, corrugated copper and several proprietary outer conductor designs.
We support applications from DC to over 100 GHz.
Our strength is our product offering breadth, which allows us to engineer the right solution for the application.
Where are your design and manufacturing facilities located, and what’s the thinking behind your geographic footprint?
We manufacture cable in our Wallingford, Connecticut headquarters and in our Shanghai, China facility. Our Shanghai factory supports our commercial business and many of our international customers. In the U.S., we also have assembly operations in Arizona and Florida. Each facility specializes in particular technologies and provides production capacity to meet the growing demand for cable assemblies.
What differentiates Times Microwave in a playing field that seems pretty crowded with companies offering cables, cable assemblies and connectors?
We are an engineering company first. Our field sales team is comprised of highly technical engineers that provide solutions to customers and not just sell products.
We are highly vertically integrated, meaning that we design and produce both the cable and the connectors, so we can control the performance of the finished cable assembly and provide products that are optimized for the application. This goes back to the large range of manufacturing technologies and materials that we have to draw upon. Because we have this range of existing products, our solutions are frequently the most cost-effective for the customer.
Describe your Silverline cable assemblies for high performance test and measurement applications.
SilverLine® is a complete family of test cable products. The standard SilverLine test cable product is a cost-effective durable assembly for applications to 26.5 GHz. We have expanded the product line to include armored cables, low loss cables, 75 Ω, versions with special dielectrics that exhibit extraordinary phase stability over temperature, cables for use with VNAs up to 110 GHz and cables to use with equipment for measuring PIM (passive intermodulation distortion). The most recent addition is SilverLine Extraflex, which is a smaller diameter, more flexible, general-purpose test cable. Also, in our test portfolio, we offer PIM loads, low PIM adaptors and custom test probes for production testing of mobile devices.
Each market has a tough set of specs — phase stability for test and measurement, low PIM for wireless infrastructure, high reliability for space.
Discuss your approach to product quality that assures customers that Times Microwave products will keep working.
Throughout our company, the team is fully aware of the demanding environments and critical applications where our products play. Quality is of paramount concern in our culture. We build our cable assemblies to rigorous standards for reliability and supply complete test data on VSWR, insertion loss, corona and other critical performance requirements, as required by the customer.
Where do you see the opportunities for growth during the next five years or so, both for the RF/microwave industry and Times Microwave?
The trends we see in the industry are towards higher frequencies, smaller and lighter cables and the expectation of customers for quicker response and delivery. We have initiatives in place to address these.
Markets that Times is targeting include rail/transit, commercial air, test and measurement and space. We see substantial growth in these markets and great opportunity for Times.
Tell us about your own background and what led you to the RF/microwave industry?
I am an engineer by education, having obtained my mechanical engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and MBA from Boston College.
Most of my career was spent working for Smiths in their Interconnect division, and I was therefore familiar with Times Microwave Systems, since it was owned by Smiths at the time.
I joined Amphenol 3½ years ago as GM of Amphenol Borisch Technologies in Grand Rapids and am now several months into my new role as the GM of Times Microwave Systems. I am from Massachusetts, so it’s nice to be back in the New England area.
Describe your business philosophy and what you’re trying to accomplish at Times Microwave.
Times Microwave has built an incredible reputation for its technology in the RF/microwave industry. And it’s very well deserved. We have a phenomenally talented team. I am looking forward to working with this team to make bolder moves into markets where we are under penetrated: space, medical, rail/transit, test and instrumentation and telecommunications. We will continue to make significant investments in R&D and engineering to maintain our technical superiority. Finally, we are placing an intense focus on our operational excellence to remain cost competitive and cultivate an image of top-level delivery and service.