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Sustaining Growth Through Innovation in a Changing Industry

Sustaining Growth Through Innovation in a Changing Industry
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Harvey Kaylie, Founder and CEO, Mini-Circuits

We’ve seen the market for RF/microwave products change in recent years.  Customer orders are more diverse, less predictable, and more time sensitive than ever.  Next-generation wireless applications and new customer demands require solutions for higher frequencies and greater levels of complexity, and suppliers need to innovate to help customers meet their development targets on schedule.  At Mini-Circuits, we’ve responded by adapting our processes to anticipate our customers’ needs and develop more new products on an accelerated basis. We’ve added speed and flexibility to our processes for fulfilling orders to provide exceptionally prompt delivery.  And most importantly, we’ve stayed true to our values by listening to our customers, meeting their requirements through relentless pursuit of advanced technology and innovation, and staying obsessed with quality across our organization.

New demands for more advanced, higher frequency products are being driven by the aggressive targets to define and roll out new wireless standards, new investments in K-band and Ka-band SatCom systems, and development of new capabilities for defense applications. The horizon for 5G deployment is approaching, and customers need solutions today so they can prove concepts, validate channel models, and finalize the standards that will make commercialization of 5G technology a reality.  We know that full scale deployment will eventually rely on fully integrated, high-volume Silicon solutions.  But while many are chasing the long-term goal of a system on a chip that exceeds current MIMO chipsets in frequency and channel capacity, many are focused on the immediate need for prototypes to qualify systems, and for this purpose, single-function components are the order of the day.

These components need to be performance worthy in the millimeter wave bands, and developing even single-function MMICs that meet the performance requirements in cost-effective packaging for surface-mount or chip-and-wire assembly is a very difficult challenge to overcome.  Mini-Circuits has already developed a number of MMICS for the millimeter wave bands in bare die form with reflectionless filters supporting passbands up to 40 GHz and MMIC precision fixed attenuator dice covering frequencies up to 43.5 GHz. We’re pushing our MMIC development pipeline to higher frequencies with LNAs, mixers and multipliers to 20 and 40 GHz. Meanwhile, we’re also working on advanced packaging technologies that will give us seamless surface-mount capability up to the mid-millimeter-wave band to 50 GHz.

Customers also need new test solutions to characterize products in the 5G bandwidths and evaluate performance against design requirements. For labs and test setups, we’re growing our portfolio of 40 GHz connectorized products. These include splitter/combiners from 2- to 8-ways spanning 10 to 40 GHz, precision fixed attenuators covering DC to 50 GHz, 40 GHz test cables, adapters and terminations with more on the way. We’re also extending the coverage of our programmable benchtop test devices into the 30 and 40 GHz range.

Beyond rapid development of new products and technical capabilities, we’re staying deeply focused on our commitment to provide industry-leading service and customer satisfaction. Continuous improvement is part of our quality policy, and we’re always looking for new ways to delight our customers with better information, greater convenience, and knowledgeable technical support whenever they need it. For example, in the last year alone, we extended our cutoff time for same-day shipping from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM ET to give customers more flexibility and get them the parts they need faster. We implemented an extensive redesign of our website to make it easier to find the right models for your needs and order online. We’ve cultivated strategic collaborations with innovative partners like Modelithics and X-Microwave to provide the best tools and technical resources available for customers designing Mini-Circuits parts into their systems. It’s all about finding ways to add value by continuously improving our service and technical support.

The industry may be changing faster than ever, but by staying true to our core values, we’ve been able to innovate and sustain growth through change.  We’re developing more products with higher performance than ever before, but it’s because we stay close to our customers and respond to their needs whether it be for performance, cost or delivery time.  From the beginning, it’s been our belief in partnering with our customers to solve problems and achieve mutual success that’s driven us to innovate and enabled us to grow with the industry, and that will continue to be the case as the market evolves.

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