Korne Vennema, Product Line Manager, PA Products
Mark Murphy, Product Line Marketing Manager, PA Products
As the we become more dependent on numerous wireless applications in our daily lives, and with the rise of 5G networks, new Wi-Fi bands, the internet of things and many industrial applications, the demand for more RF power is exploding. Mini-Circuits sees these trends as excellent opportunities to grow our business and take a leadership position in the market for turnkey high-power amplifier solutions. To support this strategy, in October 2019, the company expanded its amplifier design capabilities with the addition of a new design engineering group and a new corporate design center in Lincoln, Rhode Island.
The new team of eight engineers, led by Product Line Manager, Korne Vennema has over 150 years of combined experience designing and developing RF amplifiers and power products. They have worked at some of the key companies for RF power devices such as Philips, Skyworks, Raytheon, NXP, Ampleon, and Macom and bring a deep understanding of the key technologies and devices needed to create high-power solutions. Since joining Mini-Circuits, the team has hit the ground running by building upon Mini-Circuits’ existing capabilities in areas such as design, manufacturing, operations and quality.
The team’s main focus is on HPA-series (rack mounted) and ZHL-series (connectorized) power amplifiers ranging from 10W up to 1000W and from a few MHz up to 8 GHz. There are two primary market segments we are addressing:
(1) General-purpose test and measurement. End applications in this segment include benchtop test setups, burn-in systems, life test systems, EMC test setups, characterization systems and even jamming. This customer base is diverse, and we are selling products to major companies in telecommunications, semiconductor chipmakers and universities among many others. Internally, our own test solutions business is also a very important customer.
(2) In addition to the test and measurement segment, we are leveraging Mini-Circuits’ manufacturing and supply chain capabilities to develop a high-power amplifier portfolio for the emerging solid-state industrial heating market, where magnetrons are being replaced by solid state solutions. Here, our amplifiers will be used in a diverse mix of applications from commercial food heating, industrial cooking and food processing to industrial heating/drying of foods and other materials, welding, material processing, microwave-assisted chemistry, plasma generation, particle accelerators and many more. These Industrial applications use the ISM bands (for “Industrial, Scientific and Medical”), and the Mini-Circuits power amplifier portfolio will eventually offer solutions at 27 MHz, 415 MHz, 915 MHz, 2.45 GHz and 5.8 GHz. This market is very much looking for a turnkey power amplifier supplier and this desire is a good match for Mini-Circuits’ core capabilities.
While the RF part of the design for this new model is being done in Rhode Island, the power control and sensing are done by our team in Israel, and the final layout is done by our team in India. There have also been numerous peer reviews with different groups in New York, making the effort a true global team approach. The Rhode Island team is looking forward to testing the first samples toward the end of April.
“When we joined Mini-Circuits, we defined a set of criteria that would allow us to contribute quickly to the continued success of Mini-Circuits,” explained Mr. Vennema. “For example, with our new test and measurement designs we’re striving to reduce cost, but without sacrificing performance and reliability. We will achieve the published rated power on our HPA models, while at the same time improving linearity so we can play better in the communications segment.”
Currently, the team is working hard on the design of their first products, one of which is the HPA-0660-50, a 50W, rack mounted system operating from 600 MHz to 6 GHz. Another is the ZHL-2425-250X+, a 250W CW, 2.45 GHz amplifier for industrial heating. According to Product Line Marketing Manager, Mark Murphy, “This product is a good example of how we’ve been able to leverage Mini-Circuits’ existing resources across the whole company to innovate new capabilities in the product line.”