Reproduce unobtainable parts with RF and microwave obsolescence service

October 09, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
UK-based manufacturer Link Microtek has introduced a design and production service aimed at providing replacements for RF or microwave components that have become obsolete but are still critical to present operations.

The company is able to recreate parts with the same form, fit and function as an existing product, working either from specifications, drawings and photographs or directly from, for example, a damaged part if the original design information has been lost.

In these instances, accurate measurements of the external and internal features of a product are entered into the CST Microwave Studio modelling program, which enables Link to derive specifications such as operating frequency and return loss, as well as working out the best way to fabricate the part.

For example, some RF and microwave components now in the field were originally produced by casting, but recreating them in this way would be uneconomical for only one or two units, so the general approach is to machine them from solid aluminium, followed by dip-brazing.

Once the parts have been made, they are then fully tested at up to 40 GHz in Link’s own test and environmental laboratories, if necessary using specially designed and manufactured test fixtures. For high-power products, an in-house facility allows testing at up to 200W CW over the frequency range 7-16 GHz. Each product is supplied with full mechanical drawings, electrical layouts, test specifications and test results.

The obsolescence service is available not only for individual components but also for complete systems comprising RF and microwave elements such as couplers, power dividers, waveguide, filters, terminations, rotary joints and semi-rigid cables, as well as electrical switching, fans and thermal control.

The picture shows an obsolete ‘magic tee’ power splitter, which Link Microtek was able to reproduce, without drawings, in order to keep an old phased-array radar operational.

Link Microtek;