Space Week | API’s New Rad-Hard Power Conversion & Control Products: Q & A with Alan Tasker, Senior Design Engineer

by Jaymie Murray 9. December 2014 09:48

API Technologies designs and manufactures a wide range of space-qualified, rad-hard linear regulators offering quiet, linear voltage regulation with stabilities over the full temperature range approaching that of a very stable voltage reference. In this Q & A, Alan Tasker, Senior Design Engineer, discusses the benefits and features of these products, and the different models available. 

Q:  API recently launched new radiation hardened (rad-hard) power conversion & control products, including the APPREG Positive Voltage Regulator, the APPREG2 Positive Voltage Regulator with enable/disable capability, and the APNREG Negative Voltage Regulator. What makes these new products unique?

A: API is the first to offer these types of products as hybrids, so these are a completely new offering to the market. These products are available in three different models, giving engineers a range of options to best suit their individual needs. The basic model has a variable voltage range of 1.25 to 37, while the stable model has a range of 7.5 to 37 across the temperature range. The fixed model offers the most stability and is already trimmed to an exact voltage. They are available in 7.5, 10, or 15 volt designs.

Q: What new features are being introduced with these new products?

A: Each design is available with or without a voltage limit circuit. This functionality comes into play if a remote sense connection is broken. API is the only company offering full remote sense functionality with our power conversion and control products.  If the remote sense connection is severed, the optional resistor limits a rise in output voltage.

Q:  Who are some of the end users of these products, and in what applications can they be found?

A: These particular products are made specifically for the extreme radiation and temperature cycling found in space. They are MIL-PRF-38534 Class K compliant, which means that they meet the stringent requirements for government space, military, and aerospace programs. API’s rad-hard power conversion and control products can also be used for commercial applications such as communications satellites.

To learn more information, contact an engineer or request a quote

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

[INFOGRAPHIC] Space Week: API's Space Capabilities

by Jaymie Murray 8. December 2014 09:31

Over the past 40 years, API Technologies has been involved in several major space programs, providing RF/microwave and hybrid components, microwave semiconductors and microelectronic assemblies for a variety of commercial communications satellites, deep space, scientific missions, and launch/reentry vehicles. This includes NASA's recent successful Orion Launch and the groundbreaking Mars Curiosity Rover program. To meet the stringent requirements needed for involvement in these programs, API has two facilities which have received MIL-PRF-38534 Class K certification. Only 15 facilities worldwide have earned this coveted distinction, and API has two of them. 

Explore the infographic below to learn more about API's range of space offerings, our products, and some of the programs we have been involved with over the last four decades. 

To learn more about our space qualified products and capabilities, visit micro.apitech.com/space-products or contact us to speak to an engineer.

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Infographics | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Thin Film Conductors for Filled Vias: Copper vs. Gold

by Jaymie Murray 13. November 2014 16:43

While gold is an excellent substrate option for filled vias/plated through holes, copper has become the preferred technology for commercial packaging, hybrid manufacturers, and microelectronics providers. 

Copper vias offer better thermal conductivity and higher electrical conductivity for high reliability RF/Microwave and high power applications compared to solid gold filled vias. While the cost of gold has risen at a rate of 300% over past decade, copper continues to be an affordable, highly effective medium for thin film substrates. 

API's copper filled vias are manufactured in a MIL-PRF-38534 Class H & K facility and are fired in a nitrogen atmosphere to prevent oxidation. Diameters are available from 0.005" to 0.015" in order to fit customer needs. To learn more about API’s copper filled vias, visit micro.apitech.com/copper-filled-vias or contact us to get a quote.

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Infographics | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Q & A with Great Yarmouth’s Test House Engineer John Ellero

by Jaymie Murray 7. November 2014 09:21

API’s Great Yarmouth facility features a UKAS accredited test house with a US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Laboratory Suitability approval for performing tests in accordance with both MIL-STD 883 and MIL-STD 202, making it stand apart from other test houses in Europe. In this Q & A, John Ellero, Great Yarmouth’s Test House Engineer, explores what other attributes make our test house a unique proposition to our customers.

Q: What are some of the climatic tests that we perform?

A: We run a variety of environmental tests, including extreme high (250°C) and low (-65°C) temperatures, temperature cycling (gradual and/or thermal shock), humidity, vibration, and mechanical shock. Depending on the environment that the product will be used in, we may also do a combination of these tests. While the details of a certain set of specs may vary, the fundamental tests that we perform remain the same. What really sets us apart from other test houses are the variety of testing methods we offer coupled with the combination of approvals and certifications we have earned.

Q: The Great Yarmouth test house has had DLA Laboratory Suitability approval for MIL-STD 883 and MIL-STD 202 test methods for 25 years, has been accredited by the UKAS for the past 30 years. How difficult is it to achieve these approvals, and what does the process entail?

A: These approvals all have different sets of stringent requirements that are measured during the auditing process. The UKAS focuses more on our technical capabilities, whilst the DLA makes sure that we fully understand all of their numerous requirements. The fact that we believe we are the only test house in Europe to simultaneously hold UKAS accreditation, DLA approval, for MIL-STD 883 and MIL-STD 202 test methods is a good indication of how difficult it is to obtain them.

In addition to agencies like the UKAS and the DLA, we are also regularly audited by our customers. For us to be eligible to participate in certain space programs, a major US space agency's auditors join the DLA team to evaluate our test house. In fact, one agency auditor was so impressed by our operation he remarked that we had one of the best test houses he had ever audited. 

Q: Why would customers want to use our test house over their own house or one of our competitors?

A: Firstly, many companies that previously performed testing in-house have made the transition to outsourcing testing. It’s easier and more cost effective for them to utilize our test house rather than maintaining their own testing facility and equipment, gaining the necessary approvals and accreditations, etc. Outsourcing has become so attractive to our customers that we have seen our external testing double over the past few years. 

As for our competitors, we offer a unique suite of credentials that few other test houses can match. DLA approval is not common in the UK or Europe, and the requirements necessary to gain the approval are very stringent. The fact that we have obtained both DLA approval and MIL-STD 883 and MIL-STD 202 certification gives our customers excellent confidence in our capabilities. 

We also offer unique test methods to the UK and European markets: liquid to liquid thermal shock, high level constant acceleration, and high level mechanical shock up to 30,000g. A few years ago we upgraded our vibration testing equipment so that it can now take a static load of up to 500kg. This allows us to perform tests in many different stages of the supplier chain all the way up to full chassis testing.

Learn more about API's Great Yarmouth test house or request more information.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

[INFOGRAPHIC] API's Great Yarmouth Facility: 70 Years of Heritage

by Jaymie Murray 6. November 2014 09:52

API's facility in Great Yarmouth began 70 years ago as a humble factory creating components to aid in the war effort. Over the last seven decades, it has evolved to become one of the leading climatic and dynamic test houses in Europe, and boasts an impressive roster of products and solutions including thick film substrates, LTCC, surface mount assembly, chip and wire hybrids, multichip modules, and optical databus modules.

Just as it was at the very start, Great Yarmouth's customers are major companies in defence and military avionics, and that customer base has grown to include the oil and gas, communications, space, and civil aerospace sectors as well. While the offerings may have changed over years, API's Great Yarmouth facility's commitment to providing customers with high-reliability, high quality products, solutions, and services remains unchanged. 

Learn more about the Great Yarmouth facility's offerings or contact us

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Infographics | RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Great Yarmouth Week: The Advantages of Converting to Hybrid Microcircuit Technology

by Jaymie Murray 5. November 2014 09:34

Learn more about API's Hybrid Microcircuits or request a quote.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Great Yarmouth Week Product Spotlight: Fine Line Thick Film Solutions

by Jaymie Murray 4. November 2014 09:21

Learn more about API's Thick Film solutions or request a quote.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Great Yarmouth Week: Fuel Pump Controller Case Study

by Lynda Hunt 3. November 2014 13:33

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

Introducing Great Yarmouth Week 2014

by Jaymie Murray 3. November 2014 09:13

API's facility in Great Yarmouth, one of three located in the UK, has a rich, 70-year history of manufacturing and testing high-reliability electronic components, modules and sub-systems for harsh environments. Products designed, manufactured, and tested in Great Yarmouth are made to endure severe environmental stressors, including extreme temperatures, vibrations, and shock, making them perfectly suited for use in critical, high-reliability applications such as space, defence, oil and gas, and aerospace. 

With a range that includes a variety of products such as optical databus, RF components, microelectronics, and space grade electronics, plus a UKAS accredited test house, it would be nearly impossible to condense all of Great Yarmouth's capabilities down to just one post. Which is why all this week on the API Technologies Blog, we will be taking an in-depth look at the history, capabilities, and testing services of the Great Yarmouth facility. Follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Google+, and keep visiting this blog to learn more about all things Great Yarmouth.

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

A Q&A on API Technologies’ New RF/Microwave Engineering Online Design Tool with Molly Weis, RF/Microwave & Microelectronics (RF2M) Marketing Manager

by Jaymie Murray 15. October 2014 16:19

With the launch of API’s brand new RF/Microwave product configuration tool, engineers can now modify API’s standard RF/Microwave products to fit their individual requirements. The interactive tool allows for changes to existing designs, such as noise figure, frequency range, and power supply voltage and provides package style options.

Molly Weis, API’s RF/Microwave & Microelectronics (RF2M) Marketing Manager, has managed this project from the start, and has some insight as to what makes this tool so special.

Q: What was the motivation behind creating this tool?

A: Recently, API has begun offering more standard configurable products, such our new line of affordable surface mount synthesizers and we wanted to offer users an interactive tool that would allow them to explore all of our product capabilities. This tool puts the engineer in the driver’s seat, providing a way to design a product that fits user specifications with minimal effort.

Q: What are some of the tool’s benefits?

A: After the parameters are entered into the tool, it creates a printable, custom design summary based on the user’s specifications. The system supplies a permalink to the configuration, allowing the user to return to their design and make modifications as necessary. This link can then be easily shared among team members via email or social media, facilitating collaboration. 

Also, by having the engineer customize the product to their unique specifications up-front, we are able to shorten lead times and reduce costs. 

Q: Do you have any plans to expand the tool’s capabilities in the future?  

 A: Absolutely. As we continue to grow our configurable product offerings, the tool’s capabilities will be upgraded to include ways to modify those products to suit customer requirements. The beauty of this tool is that is extremely flexible and can be programmed to configure a multitude of variables.

Start using API's new configuration tool now!

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RF/Microwave & Microelectronics

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