MegaPhase Optimizes Airborne Cables - Megaphase
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MegaPhase Optimizes Airborne Cables

Lifecycle Management for Aircraft Manufacturers

Stroudsburg, PA – May 7, 2009 — MegaPhase, the leading manufacturer of super-flexible and highly reliable coaxial cables and assemblies is changing how advanced aircraft avionics and EW systems are built and maintained. For too long limited proprietary options restricted aircraft contractors to solutions that reduced their ability to source, build and maintain complex communications and RADAR antennas. MegaPhase’s microwave cables meet rigorous design specs with standard RF and microwave connectors. By engaging MegaPhase engineers, aircraft communications suppliers design connectors and cables that are standardized and save installation time and engineering costs. And since the connectors meet uniform standards, cabling options are no longer limited to one proprietary vendor.

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MegaPhase designs standard coaxial cable connectors, adapters, low loss cable connectors and terminations to meet nearly all defense and commercial applications. While custom designs are available including high density pcb connector, ZN and ZMA, MegaPhase encourages its customers to improve their lifecycle risk by eliminating proprietary designs. Additionally, “build-to-print” connectors are available, plus most common RF/Microwave connectors including Type N, TNC, HN, SC, 7-16, SMA plugs, 3.5 mm, 2.92 mm, 2.4 mm and 1.85mm.

“Too often onsite repairs require too much time to retrofit solutions and work around proprietary constraints,” observes William Pote, MegaPhase’s CEO. “Increasingly aerospace contractors require suppliers to conform to industry-wide standards to extend the service life of in-place systems or dramatically reduce maintenance and repair costs,” he reports.

Case Study: Standardized SMA Cable and Connectors Reduce Costs and Improve Maintainability

The Problem

Major defense aircraft manufacturers when building the critical path connections into EW and avionics components, engineers too often found themselves limited to purchasing unnecessarily expensive, proprietary cables and connectors. Whenever a connector needed replacement, engineers were strapped with a higher cost of materials and labor. These proprietary connectors and cables came from a single manufacturer, making replacement parts dependent on production schedules of one supplier — and could not be reliably obtained when and where they were needed.

The Solution

When a leading integrated microwave antenna assemblies provider came to William Pote, president of MegaPhase with their frustration, Pote went back to his engineers to design a standards-based solution that could be implemented in the field with far fewer steps and processes. This line of flight-qualified RF cable assemblies and connectors conform to interface standard and are manufactured at a fraction of the cost of legacy counterparts.

MegaPhase’s engineers reviewed their unique requirements and proposed a solution. “We spent a few hours talking to the engineers at the plant,” recalls Pote. “We went back to our office, brainstormed several alternative solutions, tested different integration solutions, and based on our research, were able to recommend a reliable and efficient solution that easily saved the customer, and therefore the taxpayer, tens of thousands of dollars.”

MegaPhase’s connectors work seamlessly with their line of GrooveTube® cables that are equipped with a super-flexible, rugged outer conductor. This high performance outer conductor is manufactured using the highest quality, pure oxygen-free copper tape. MegaPhase produces the copper tape into flexible copper tubing, which offer the following benefits.

Electrical benefits:

  • Repeatable, reliable performance over time because the outer conductor does not fatigue when flexed like traditional braid/foil outer conductors and stiff corrugated copper types.
  • Superior phase and amplitude stability during flexure because the inner conductor stays in the center of the outer conductor – where it belongs. The insured concentricity maintains impedance and low SWR.
  • Low VSWR and Insertion Loss, because each connector screws directly on to GrooveTube, the outer conductor, and then the seam is 100% soldered versus other cable brands terminating to small strands of braid.

Mechanical benefits:

  • Smaller bend radii.
  • Built-in crush-resistant armor that withstands over 150 lbs of plane compressive force per inch (66 kg per 2.5 cm).
  • Strong mechanical termination at connectors. Connectors screwed on.

The Result

The MegaPhase connectors have proven to be reliable and much less expensive than the legacy alternatives. MegaPhase’s connectors and GrooveTube cables are widely used today in aircraft installations and applications, where they have significantly cut costs and improved sourcing options.

The Build-to-Print & Custom Design Process

When standard off-the-shelf RF connectors do not meet the needs of a defense supplier, MegaPhase’s engineering staff works collaboratively to design interconnect products to meet their stringent requirements. Their quality engineering expertise has developed from wide experience in designing custom connectors for Defense, Commercial, and Aerospace customers. MegaPhase also offers electronic and mechanical qualification testing, prototypes, and prove out of final design.

MegaPhase’s field support gathers the unique requirements, proposes the most efficient and cost effective solution, and provides complete documentation of the solution, including 3D Modeling and EM Simulation. The production team assembles and tests for quality fully before delivery, where again the field support can oversee the installation. MegaPhase’s project team manages the process to make sure the assemblies are delivered on time and within budget. All special assemblies are MegaPhase certified and labeled with product specific and contact information so field staff understand what components are used, and who to call for more information.

MegaPhase Solutions

MegaPhas’s Build-to-Print & Custom Design Process Center has been called on by leading companies working with RF cable systems. Special assemblies have included:

  • Specially designed connectors in a wide variety of interfaces and configurations in accordance with MIL-STD 348, IEEE 287, and other pertinent specifications.
  • Interfaces including 1.85mm, 2.4mm, 2.9mm, 3.5mm, SMA, N, TNC, ZMA, and ZN.
  • Multiple configurations including Straight, Jack, Bulkhead, Right Angle, and PC Mount.
  • Multi-port, quick disconnect connectors, waterproof coaxial cable connectors.
  • Semi-rigid and flexible cable types terminated with either Crimp styles, direct solder, or solder clamps.

“We suggest engineers call us when they need a solution and estimate when they need to assemble a special RF cable solution. The comprehensive Build-to-Print & Custom Design Center provides technical information, parts, new and retrofitted assemblies, and service,” offers Pote.

About MegaPhase, LLC — MegaPhase is an ISO-9001:2008 certified privately-held company that designs, manufactures and sells RF/Microwave coaxial cable, cable assemblies, connectors and RF components through 70 GHz. Located in Stroudsburg, PA, MegaPhase customers include OEMs in instrumentation, broadband networking, wireless communications, semiconductor, advanced microwave and optical electronic systems, space and defense. MegaPhase products include GrooveTube® test cables, semi rigid cables and flexible coaxial cables for advanced systems, test adapters and coaxial connectors. MegaPhase’s broadband and high frequency interconnect technologies include coaxial cables have been used reliably to test smart phones, transmit signals on the US Navy’s new AWACS E-2D Advanced Hawkeye, Agilent’s new FireFox® handheld analyzers, and many other high-profile projects.