Delay Lines Week Meet the Team: Bob Comstock, General Manager

by Jaymie Murray 10. March 2015 13:57

In his role as the General Manager of API's Auburn, NY facility, Bob Comstock works with several delay line topologies, including BAW, Dispersive Steel, Coaxial, and Lumped Constant (LC). In this Q & A, he discusses some of our delay lines, their applications, and what sets us apart from our competitors.   

Q: How long have you been here at API?

A: I’ve done a few long stints off and on over the past 30 years, so I would say that I’ve worked here for about 21 years total. During that time I’ve worked extensively with several of our delay lines topologies. In the early 80s, it was Dispersive Steel delay lines that were used to enhance radar signals for smaller targets. In the 90s, I worked with long dispersive delay lines that were also used in radars. From about 2002 until now I’ve been heavily involved with BAW (Bulk Acoustic Wave) delay lines in the 10 MHz – 120 MHz range with varying delays. These are primarily used for target generation, radar calibration, EW (Electronic Warfare), and digital memory delay. The BAW delay lines that calibrate radar and display systems are made out of quartz or glass that can be unheated or heated for increased stability.

Q: What other Delay Line products are made in the Auburn facility?

A: We also manufacture Lumped Constant (LC) delay lines that are used for video delay. They have short timers with delays of only a few nanoseconds to microseconds and feature discrete capacitors with digital inputs. 

Then there are our Coaxial delay lines which are made out of coaxial cables with a high frequency range and short delays of 250 nanoseconds down to 1 nanosecond, which is 70% the speed of light. These cables range from ¼ in long to 225 ft. long. With Coaxial delay lines the longer the cable, the longer the delay. 

Q: How do we add value for our customers?

A: We customize our delay line products about 99% of the time, so our customers almost always get a solution that is tailor-made for their specifications and needs. Our customers can also rest assured that these products are made to be highly reliable. Our Dispersive Steel delay lines are known to be used for 20 years without any issues, and they frequently do not need to be retuned until they have been in use for 30 years.  Our BAW delay lines provide a passive, stable delay source which can serve as reference for radar systems for many years, which is extremely important for radar calibration. 

We also offer a lower frequency Coaxial delay line box with switches that allow for trimming up to 10 radar channels. The customer can then control the trimming based on the delay that is needed. This is primarily used for multiple channels that need to be arranged in time, with each step having a 1.4 nanosecond change.  

Learn more about API's Delay Lines, request a quote, or contact us

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Meet the Team | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Delay Lines Week Meet the Team: Mike Schweyer, SAW Product Line Manager

by Jaymie Murray 10. March 2015 09:01

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.

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Meet the Team | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Commercial Wireless Solutions Week | Meet the Team: John Yania, Filters Product Line Manager

by Jaymie Murray 18. February 2015 14:00

In his role as Filters Product Line Manager, John Yania engages with customers to find the best filter solution to suit their project requirements. For customers in the telecom and wireless communications industry, John uses his extensive experience and product knowledge to create custom bandpass, bandreject, and duplexers / diplexers filters for broadband networks, communication uplink / downlink systems, spectrum clearing, as well as many other applications. 

Q: What is your role, how long have you worked at API, and what does your position entail?

A: I was one of the founders of FSY Microwave in 1983, which was then acquired by Spectrum Microwave in 2002, which became API a few years ago.  I have been in this field for over 30 years and with API since they expanded their RF & Microwave business.  

I’m the Filter Product Line Manager in API’s RF, Microwave & Microelectronics (RF2M) group.  In this role, I work directly with our customers to create fully customized filters that are optimized to fit their needs, whatever they may be.   

Q: What are some of the custom needs our customers have? 

A: None of our filters are standard, off-the-shelf products.  Every filter we make is created specifically for our customers to fulfill their needs.  Whenever I work with a customer, I try to engage with them early on in the process to get a better idea of their priorities so we can create the design based on those needs.  Sometimes cost is the most important factor, sometimes size, rejection, insertion loss, or another electrical parameter is paramount.  If the filter is going to be used for defense or space applications, a fighter plane or a satellite for example, reliability is obviously going to be the prime concern.  

For our commercial customers, I’ve found that they put a lot of emphasis on quick turnaround times.  If a company wants to be first to the market with a brand new idea, they need to get their products manufactured as soon as possible.   Commercial customers tend to want much more compressed development times and a significantly higher volume of filters compared to our defense customers, but API has the expertise and infrastructure in place to be able to fulfill these needs.

Q: What are the commercial applications for our filters? 

Our filters can be found in a wide range of commercial products, from medical testing instruments to GPS equipment.  In cable TV applications, our filters are used to ensure customers only receive their package’s channels.  For utility companies, API’s filters are used for remote meter reading.  These readings can be sent directly to the utility, or can be scanned by a van passing through the area.  Our Rancho Cordova, CA location mainly manufactures filters that are used in wireless and other demanding commercial applications.  We also provide filters used in location tracking for our commercial as well as defense customers.  

Q: What differentiates our products from what our competitors offer?

A: Over the years, we’ve created over 10,000 different models for our customers.  It’s highly unusual for us to sell the same exact part to two different customers.  I think that is what really sets us apart from our competitors.  We partner with our customers to create a filter that fits their exact specifications, rather than taking an existing product and then adapting it.  We don’t subscribe to the “one size fits all” philosophy that some of our competitors have, and that really does add value to our proposition.  

We also offer our customers the option of having their filters produced at our low cost manufacturing facility in Mexico.  By utilizing our production team in Mexico, our customers can cut costs without sacrificing quality.  The filters produced there are exactly the same as the ones produced in the US, but we are able to pass the labor savings on to our customers.  

Learn more about API's commercial wireless solutions, contact us for more information, or request a quote

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Meet the Team | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Data Privacy & Protection Week: Meet Richard Mundy, SSIA Security Manager

by Karen Gait 27. January 2015 11:38

As part of our Data Protection Week we introduce the SSIA Security Manager Richard Mundy, who is responsible for the overall data protection and information security for the SST product line. As technical sales director and security manager, Richard is responsible for managing key sales accounts as well as information and overall security at the SST location.

Q: What is your background and when did you start at SST?

A: As a teenager I completed an apprenticeship with Square D Ltd during which achieved a Higher National Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. This resulted in a role as a design engineer. I have been a senior development engineer / assistant chief engineer at Philips TMC designing telephone equipment and PABXs where I also gained my Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Electronic Engineering. After holding a variety of senior management roles at Dowty Limited and Menvier, I joined SST as the technical director (which has evolved into the technical sales director role) I also took on the additional responsibility of the security manager. 

Q: How important is data protection in your role?

A: Data protection is vital for all companies in order to protect sensitive competitive information.  This ranges from critical design information through to financial and operating information for companies. Every company also has an obligation to protect an individual’s identity and information, whether this be employee, customer, or supplier. With our role in the industry in which we operate this is particularly important as we handle classified information on behalf of the UK government and NATO organisations. This is a full time commitment to keeping aware of the latest risks and vulnerabilities, taking appropriate action to mitigate these threats, and managing the IT infrastructure to provide the best possible protection. 

Q: Is data protection and information security important away from the workplace?

A: For a great deal of these issues highlighted for companies to consider, there are parallels for individuals to consider in their home life.  The consequences of identity theft are well publicised and can cause significant financial or other hardships.  We should all be well aware of looking after our credit card and similar personal details nowadays, but how far do we take this really?  Do we adequately destroy bill receipts?  Are we careful of what we throw into the general refuse bin?  Do we change default passwords on home WIFI networks and similar equipments? Maybe not as often as we should... it is critical that we are equally vigilant in our personal life as in our work environment.

Meet Rebecca McCarron, Product Line Manager, RF, Microwave & Microelectronics

by Allison Goss 5. January 2015 10:02

Rebecca McCarron is the Product Line Manager at API Technologies’ Nashua, NH facility. The Nashua facility is home to many of API’s Electronic Warfare (EW) solutions like multiplexers, DFDs & IFMs, as well as passive components such as phase shifters, rotary joints, and switches

As Product Line Manager, Rebecca's role is to identify opportunities and develop strategies to meet the goals of the company through existing and new product introductions. She works closely with the engineering and production teams to support new product inquiries and development projects.  

Q. How did you get started with API Technologies?

A. I started with API Technologies back in 2009 when we were Sage Laboratories. I had worked with Mike Wisner (Director of Sales) at Huber & Suhner in the 1990s and early 2000s. I have been in my current role as Product Line Manager for a little over 3 years. 

Q. What are some fun facts about you?

A. I am a twin-- I have an identical twin sister, and before you ask she is 6 minutes older. I used to own a video rental store, so I am usually a great choice for trivia night! I've been commissioner in my fantasy football league for over a decade, so I am obviously a big football fan. I also really enjoy hockey. 

Q. What API product are you most proud of?

A. I’ve been very proud of the success we’ve had with our Switched Multiplexer with Integrated LNA. It’s been very well received in the market place and we’ve had great success customizing this filter to specific applications. 

Q. What’s coming up in 2015?

A. I am really excited about the improvements we're making to our flagship IFM (Instantaneous Frequency Measurement) product (FDFD7409-2), as well as a the introduction of an expanded digital offering. 

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Meet the Team | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Meet the Team: Engineering Apprentice Lewis Childs

by Karen Gait 25. November 2014 12:00

SST, part of API's SSIA product line, is proud of our engineering department and the skills that our highly qualified personnel possess. Our engineers have demonstrated expertise in COTS product modification with in-house 3D CAD modelling and rapid prototyping, as well as electrical and electronics engineering across a wide range of products, environments, and customers.

As part of our acknowledgement of the importance of this skill set, we are delighted to have been able to recruit local student Lewis Childs as an engineering apprentice. Lewis will complete a four year programme and achieve a nationally recognised qualification whilst training on site at SST. 

Profile
My name is Lewis Childs, I’m 19, and I became SSIA-UK’s first Engineering Apprentice in August 2014.

Likes:

  • Playing football for my local club, Randwick FC
  • Cycling
  • Going to the gym and keeping fit
  • Socialising
  • I like food. A LOT. 

Why I Chose an Apprenticeship...
I have always been interested in product design and how things work. Through Gloucestershire Engineering Training I researched the Apprentice Programme and decided that this was the route that I wanted to take: ongoing education with hands on experience and the opportunity to work with and learn from other engineers. I am really looking forward to completing my first year of technical study at Gloucestershire College so that I can start full time at SST and become involved in the company.

What I Am Most Proud of...
I am very proud that I managed to get this apprenticeship. Being interviewed for this position was a new experience for me, and as I had researched API Technologies and SST on the internet, I was very keen to land the role. I feel that this is an exciting opportunity which I know I will enjoy. I do realise that it will be hard work but I think that it will be worth it, and puts me in a better position than a lot of young men my age. 

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Meet the Team | Secure Systems & Information Assurance

Magnetics Week: Meet Jason Russolese, Director of Global Sales and Marketing

by Amy Brown 13. June 2014 09:19

To close out Magnetics Week 2014, the blog is featuring a special interview with Jason Russolese, Director of Global Sales and Marketing for API's Electromagnetics Integrated Solutions (EIS) product line.

What is unique about API Magnetics?

What differentiates us from the rest of the world is our ability to design high-end custom solutions that seem to be extremely challenging for our competitors. Our ability to solve our customers' problems and deliver to that promise is unmatched.

Are the products standard or custom built?

Both. We have a small offering of standard products, but most of our parts are custom.

What industries and applications can these products be applied to?

Power conversion, storage, and generation applications for the Military, Aerospace, Medical, and Industrial market spaces.

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Electromagnetic Integrated Solutions (EIS) | Meet the Team

Meet the Team: James Cook, Senior Design Engineer

by Karen Gait 17. February 2014 11:27

About Me
My name is James Cook, I’m 31 and I’ve been working as a Senior Design Engineer in API’s SSIA-UK (Secure Systems & Information Assurance) group, which makes the SST product line, for just over seven years.

Likes:

  • Nights out with friends
  • WW2 vintage aircraft
  • James Bond movies
  • Indie/pop music
  • Squash (I'll be turning semi-pro next year)
  • Skiing/snowboarding
  • Scuba diving, trekking & hiking

Dislikes:

  • Chinese food
  • Daytime TV
  • Cricket


Having been inspired in my childhood by my grandfather who flew with the RAF for 27 years, I grew up fascinated by aircraft, especially the design and operation of them. I took a degree in Aerospace Engineering but realised that although my interest in aircraft was unchanged, a design role within an aerospace company would not necessarily lend itself to the design creativity that I enjoyed.  I found that creative outlet seven years ago when I joined SST, and since then I've been lead in a number of design projects.

One of the advantages SST has is the confidence that our key customers have in our design abilities. I have been able to get involved from the start of a project, working with the customer to identify and prioritise their requirements, and then interpreting these into a robust, attractive, and commercially viable design.

I am always mindful of cost to the customer but also cost to SST!  For one of my projects, I took a commercially available rugged laptop and modified it to accommodate specific connectors and interfaces. Knowing that I have designed equipment that helps to protect data and aid communication, sometimes in difficult environments, is very rewarding.

Contact us to learn more about API's SST line of products.

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Meet the Team | Secure Systems & Information Assurance

Meet the Team: Greg Dussek, SST Design Engineer

by Karen Gait 14. November 2013 10:14

About Me
My name is Greg Dussek and I’ve been working as a Design Engineer at SST for just over 2 years since graduating from Bournemouth University with a first class degree in Product Design.   

Likes:

  • Motorbikes
  • Formula 1
  • MotoGP
  • Nights out with friends
  • Drum and Bass music
  • Cinema
  • Italian food

Dislikes:

  • Miranda Hart
  • Dumplings
  • Rainy days (can’t go fast on the bike!)

Thin Client SV510TF Design
Detailed below is an overview of my latest project and how I managed to fulfil the design brief and meet the cost expectations of the Sales Department.

The project brief was to design a TEMPEST Level A Thin Client using the HP510 OEM with the main objective being to keep the unit as small and good looking as possible. My utilisation of right angled connectors and small back shells meant that I was able to keep the final size not much bigger than the OEM donor unit. A risk when striving to minimise the product size is that assembly may prove impossible. I found that the best way to ascertain if production grade assembly would be possible was by using the triad point on parts in Solid Works and manuvering them into position as they would be done on the shop floor. Once all components are mated in position the Interference Validation test is a useful tool which highlights any parts which are touching or overlapping.

We are always trying to produce the most attractive products possible but I was also mindful of the cost associated with doing so. Often in our line of work aesthetics very much come second to function but on this occasion the SV510TF Thin Client was a great opportunity to design a stylish yet cost effective product. By adding an oversize radius on the top front of the box I was able to give it a more interesting form – but still maintaining a simple stylish look.

Adding this feature did increase the manufacturing cost, however by working with our supplier I was able to reduce costs in other areas to compensate. The welds were moved inboard to make it easier and quicker to manufacture and the silk screen was merged onto one screen to halve the cost.

In the design of TEMPEST products cooling is paramount. A wave guide beyond cut off strategy is adopted with our hole sizes/position relative to each other to allow for cooling. I then shaped these holes on the top and front faces to arrow like shapes pointing centrally down the unit giving a symmetric effect. These “arrow” shapes also point towards the user interaction with the product, mainly the power button and USB ports.

The entire unit is made from 3 sheet metal parts and one simple machining. Reducing component quantities is a great way to reduce build time and save money. Where ever possible larger, heavier items were kept at the bottom of the unit (PSU, fibre optic transiver, IEC) to try and make the unit more stable. As a further option I designed a simple stand, this is unobtrusive to the design but provides even better stability.

All in all it’s a nice clean simple product. It looks brilliant and does the job required of it. The SV510TF is now CFTCS certified to TEMPEST level A and available through www.sst.ws with a variety of options.

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Meet the Team | Secure Systems & Information Assurance

Meet the Team: Bill Zajac, Microwave Operations General Manager

by Jaymie Murray 23. July 2013 09:39

API Technologies is one of the largest non-Prime providers of RF & Microwave components and systems in the world.  With 11 locations in the US and UK designing, engineering, and manufacturing these products, API has become a market leader in the industry.  One of the largest RF/Microwave locations is in State College, PA, where we create innovative products for many of our 3,300 customers in a sprawling 240,000 square foot facility.  One of the people managing this vast undertaking is Bill Zajac, the State College Microwave Operations General Manager.  Bill recently spoke to Jaymie Murray, Marketing Communications Specialist, about his role and the products his location manufactures.

Jaymie Murray (JM): What is your role, how long have you worked at API, and what does your position entail?
Bill Zajac (BZ): I am the General Manager for the State College Microwave operations.  I began working at (acquired company) Spectrum Control in July 1992, and I was in several divisions before I moved to the State College, PA location in 2007. My current position entails managing the business functions which include manufacturing, sales and marketing, engineering, quality, purchasing, scheduling and facility maintenance.  I am also the Facility Security Officer (FSO) which has responsibility for government clearances and classified programs at this location.


JM: What products do you work with? 

BZ: At the State College location we work with many different RF and microwave products such as synthesizers, frequency sources, power amplifiers, mixers and antennas.


JM: Why are these products great? 

BZ: API's products are used in many different military and commercial applications.  We offer custom solutions that provide our customers with leading edge technology and keeps them coming back to API for next generation designs.


JM: Why should customers buy our RF & Microwave products?
 
BZ: Very simply, we offer custom solutions that outperform our competition.


JM: How do our stellar products set us apart from our competitors?

BZ: The vertical integration corporate strategy gives us an edge over our competition because we can deliver prototypes and products quickly.  We can control key materials in the supply chain, and make material changes rapidly.  We often develop new products jointly with our customers and responsiveness is critical to being successful.


Learn more about API's RF & Microwave products

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Meet the Team | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

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