Thursday, May 13, 2010

Raytheon Microwave System to Prevent Frost in Vineyards

Although this news item is a few weeks old, I thought it was interesting enough to cover here since I have never seen microwave technology used in the type of application. Raytheon is planning to install a prototype microwave frost protection system at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, a Canadian horticulture research center located in Ontario, Canada. Raytheon will install a prototype Tempwave system in the center’s vineyard, prepare it for operation and support initial testing over a four-month period. Raytheon’s Tempwave radiant heating system offers a more efficient way to warm crops and avoid the adverse effects of frost on the growing season.

Tempwave’s Microwave Approach
Tempwave is Raytheon’s patent-pending system that uses low-level microwave radiant heat to prevent frost damage to crops. The system directly transmits microwave energy from towers located in an orchard or vineyard to crops without heating the intervening air. Among the system’s many advantages, Tempwave uses no water; emits no smoke, unlike fuel heaters; and operates silently, unlike noisy wind machines used for frost protection.

Mission Innovation is charged with exploring and applying Raytheon technical expertise to address global challenges outside Raytheon’s traditional core business interests in defense, homeland security and other government markets.

Do you see any other potential uses for this technology?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Big M&A Activity as MTTS 2010 IMS Nears

The past week has included several big announcements in the microwave industry for Mergers & Acquisitions which I will extend to also include some significant partnerships that were formed. On the mergers front, Aeroflex officially acquired Willtek from Wireless Telecom Group which was previously announced but is now complete. They paid $2.75 M plus assumed some liabilities.

Next Comtech Telecommunications acquired CPI International for about $475 M. Fred Kornberg, President and CEO of Comtech said the acquisition is a significant step in their strategy of developing a one-stop shopping approach for RF microwave products. The transition is expected to be seamless as they will keep all of CPI's agreements and executive staff in place.

Finally on the merger front, M/A-COM and Mimix agreed to merge last week which was not unexpected as they were both owned by John Ocampo/GaAs labs. I blogged about this previously so I wont' go into any details here.

With 3 big mergers there were also 3 big partnerships/market entries announced recently in the microwave world. The first partnership was IBM teamed up with Peregrine to run their UltraCMOS SOS process on their 8 inch, 180 nm line giving Peregrine a large capacity, low cost chip fab. They plan to utilize future processes using 130 and 90 nm processes for higher performance.

Next Freescale surprised me by announcing they are entering the GaAs MMIC market with 4 new devices. They have always been such a force in the high power LDMOS market that I never envisioned them entering into the GaAs market but I think it is a good move. These products include both PHEMT and HBT products and seem to mostly target the base station market so it expands their portfolio of products in that area.

And finally, EADS and Alcatel announced they are teaming up develop a mobile solution designed specifically to address the public safety market in the United States. The solution, based on LTE and on the public safety Project 25 (P25) standards and will provide mission-critical communications to state and local public safety organizations (fire, police and ambulance departments). The solution is an IP based system that will be interoperable with other communication systems.

This is the busiest pre-MTTS/IMS show news year I have ever seen with a lot of business activity and products announcements. Visit our show news page for up to date information prior to, during and after the show and here is a sneak peak at a May online article on Microwave M&A from a business stand point.