Mini-Circuits’ vision to be the preferred worldwide supplier of RF and microwave products means not only providing products with outstanding quality and performance, but also providing best-in-class technical support and design resources to customers using those products. RF and microwave system designers use many sophisticated tools to determine which components are an ideal fit for their designs, and selecting the right components is one of the most important and time-consuming parts of the design process. Success in the marketplace for RF components depends on customers choosing components at the early design stage, so when successful prototypes advance to production, Mini-Circuits components are designed into the architecture. As the saying goes, “the customer’s success is our success.”
The importance of the component selection stage is one reason why Mini-Circuits provides such a wide range of support resources for each of our products, from engineer-to-engineer application support to free performance data, evaluation boards, S-parameter downloads, PCB layouts, application notes and so on. These are all tools that make it easier for designers to identify parts that meets their requirements. The industry is innovating all the time, and in order to stay ahead of customer expectations, it’s important to identify and leverage new advancements that may be beneficial to our customers. One such advancement was recently developed by a young Texas-based company called X-Microwave.
X-Microwave developed the industry’s first truly modular evaluation system for RF/microwave components and integrated assemblies. The X-Microwave system consists of a portfolio of components mounted on physically compatible drop-in modules called “blocks.” The blocks can be mounted to a solderless prototyping plate for evaluation. Customers have referred to the system informally as “microwave Legos,” and the resemblance is hard to deny.
The company’s co-founder and President, John Richardson worked for many years as a microwave system designer, and had been a longstanding Mini-Circuits customer. His experience gave him unique knowledge of the pain points in the design process for integrated microwave assemblies. He understood that the incompatibility of evaluation boards from different component manufacturers and the time and expense required to draft and fabricate custom evaluation boards for microwave assemblies were significant hurdles for all system designers. He started X-Microwave to create an innovative system that achieves physical compatibility between components from multiple manufacturers, and that allows quick, easy configuration and evaluation of assemblies without the challenge of developing custom eval boards for every incremental version of a design prototype. The modular approach, once widely adopted, has the potential to dramatically reduce costs, shorten design cycles and accelerate overall time to market for customers.
On Aug. 8, Mini-Circuits and X-Microwave announced their collaboration to offer a wide selection of Mini-Circuits components in X-Microwave block drop-in format. The partnership launched with an initial offering of over 400 blocks for Mini-Circuits components, including LTCC filters, reflectionless filters, attenuators, mixers, multipliers, limiters, couplers, splitters and MMIC amplifiers with more models planned for future release. Mini-Circuits products now comprise the largest selection of any supplier in the X-Microwave ecosystem.
Richardson commented, “X-Microwave is proud to partner with Mini-Circuits to offer their unique range of high-performance RF and microwave components on our modular drop-in format. Adding Mini-Circuits components to our portfolio is an exciting step in our mission to provide the full complement of components across all categories enabling designers to quickly and efficiently develop any market solution.”
Mini-Circuits President, Ted Heil commented, “Through our partnership with X-Microwave, we’re enabling our customers to more rapidly validate Mini-Circuits models at the system level and confirm their simulation results. We think the X-Microwave system adds another element to the engineer’s toolbox to capture more realistic results and speed up the transition from concept to working design.”
Product dashboards on minicircuits.com for parts with available X-Microwave blocks now contain links to corresponding dashboard pages on the X-Microwave website. Mini-Circuits will also maintain an online directory of Mini-Circuits part numbers indexed to sibling X-Microwave part numbers as a convenience to customers.
Mini-Circuits has a long history of forming strong partnerships within the industry to provide customers with the best technical support and design resources available. Our partnership with X-Microwave will expand the capabilities we offer customers with easy access to an innovative new way to evaluate Mini-Circuits parts in new system designs. It’s part of our strategy to provide industry leading customer support, and it’s an example of the company’s relentless pursuit of advanced technology and innovation through collaboration with our industry peers.