As the SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave) Product Line Manager at API's Marlborough, MA facility, Mike Schweyer works directly with customers to find the best SAW Delay Line solution to fit their needs. API offers a variety of SAW Delay Line bandwidths, frequencies, packaging, and substrates, which ensures that customers get a solution that meets their exact requirements.
Q: What is your title here at API and what is your background?
A: I’m the Product Line Manager for SAW products at API’s Marlborough, MA facility. I got my degree in electrical engineering from the University of Maine and I’ve been in this field for 15 years. During my career, I’ve worked mostly with different types of SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave) products, including SAW delay lines.
Q: How are delays created in the SAW delay lines?
A: We use three different substrates that have different wave velocities which produce different delays. We choose the substrate based on the end use. We also use aluminum transducers that convert an acoustic wave to a fixed velocity, and then we can adjust the delay based on how far apart we place the transducers. The further apart the transducers, the longer the delay.
Q: Where can API’s delay lines be found and why are delay lines needed?
A: For example, the military uses our SAW delay lines for radar calibration and jamming. The delay lines allow the radar system to effectively process and synchronize signals that are traveling at the speed of light. Without the delays, the radar wouldn’t be able to interpret all of the signals it is receiving.
Q: What makes our SAW delay lines unique to our customers?
A: There are a few reasons. First, we manufacture our SAW delay lines in a MIL-PRF-38534 Class H and Class K facility in Marlborough, MA. While this is a requirement to do business with military customers, we use the same equipment and design philosophies when we are working with our commercial customers, resulting in the same high quality, high reliability products.
We pride ourselves on being able to successfully deliver on even the most difficult technical specs. As an example, while the typical SAW delay line is around 13.3 mm x 6.5 mm, we created packages that are as small as 3 mm x 3 mm for customers that needed an extremely small footprint.
API doesn’t just deal in extremely large volumes like a lot of our competitors do. None of our SAW delay lines come off the shelf, they are all either semi-standard or custom. Over the years, we have created over 3000 different designs, so we have the heritage and experience customers need.
API also offers an integration team dedicated to creating a complete solution for customers. We can craft an entire sub-system using the other products in our RF & Microwave line. If a signal needs to travel a particularly long distance, we can add one of our amplifiers to the sub-system. That amplified signal can then be delayed based on customer requirements.