by Suja Ramnath , President and CE, Integra Technologies
MPD: How is your company addressing the many constraints that the pandemic has placed on business operations?
Our top priority is to protect the health and well-being of our employees as well as the communities we operate in. And as an essential supplier of critical components to federal critical infrastructure sectors, we have the additional responsibility and mandate to always maintain operational resilience through any worst-case scenario. When the pandemic began to upend normalcy, the Integra team quickly rose to meet the challenge head on. Leveraging our preparedness play book, we were able to rapidly modify our workspaces and manufacturing operations to adhere to CDC and state health and safety guidelines. We reached out to local health organizations in critical need of PPE and made donations from our in-house inventories. Operationally, we implemented agile production lines and work hours capable of reconfiguring on the fly and collaborated closely with our supply chain partners to minimize delivery disruptions for our customers. We expanded our digital presence to provide real time engineer-to-engineer customer application and design support with our virtual collaboration lab. This virtual engineering collaboration lab has proved to be very effective for our customers and their critical program needs; as a result, we have won several new contract awards during the course of the pandemic.
MPD: The adoption of open architectures is accelerating in many markets, from wireless to defense. Do you feel your company and the RF and microwave industry as a whole benefit from this initiative?
We believe the RF and microwave industry, including Integra, will benefit from the adoption of open architectures. As the industry moves towards this direction, there will be broad levels of collaboration that must occur to ensure interoperability and efficiency of open architectures. Ultimately, we believe these new architectures will enable the delivery of innovative and sophisticated applications and spur greater market demand. As a supplier to the defense industry, Integra is innovating a new platform of RF and microwave power pallets with the flexibility to be rapidly customized in a very cost-effective way. We understand that leading edge applications in the defense industry are constantly striving and pushing for the last few critical points of performance. Integra’s next generation platform of power solutions will allow our defense customers the ability to leverage open architectures while still being able to customize the system to achieve their high-performance needs.
MPD: Technologies such as direct RF sampling are reducing the number of analog components in receivers and, increasingly, transmitters as well. Do you feel that the “digitalization of RF” will have an impact on your business?
As system-on-chip (SoC) integration proliferates to meet the growing functionality needs of various application demands, RF circuits have steadily been migrating to CMOS to take advantage of digital logic and memory. The resulting digitally assisted RF can offer real time calibration, compensation, linearization and predistortion. Digitally assisted RF can allow a system to reconfigure or re-calibrate itself in real time to optimize the overall RF system performance. The “digitalization of RF” trend will proliferate into the transmit chain as well, with a positive business impact for Integra. As next generation radar platforms will demand more bandwidth, higher power, greater sensitivity and better efficiency in a cost-effective way, the power amplifier will have to become smarter. A digitally assisted power amplifier will be able to assess its performance in the field, real time, and reoptimize itself for optimum performance under a multitude of changing mission and environmental conditions. Using digital capabilities, the RF power amplifier will be able to deliver the best system performance at all times. Integra is collaborating today with customers to integrate digitally assisted RF into traditional RF and microwave power solutions.