December 19, 2013. AR RF/Microwave Instrumentation has broken ground on a major expansion project at its headquarters in Souderton, PA. The expansion, which will add a two-story 10,000-sq.-ft. addition, will give AR the capabilities to manufacture and test high-power amplifiers in excess of 100 kW.
“We're pushing the power envelope,” said Donald “Shep” Shepherd, chairman of AR, “because emerging technologies are creating a greater need for more powerful amplifiers and systems to test new products through GHz frequencies.”
AR is building the first Class A linear solid-state 50,000-W continuous-wave RF broadband amplifier to satisfy a customer's demanding requirement. This wideband amplifier is extremely load tolerant, has nanosecond rise times, and has numerous control and operational features for ease of use and for monitoring vital functions. Additional floor space is needed for the amplifier itself as well as to provide the power needed for testing the amp to its full capabilities. The company is expanding its facilities not only to meet the needs of this 50,000-W amplifier, but also in preparation for the future needs of its customers.
This 50,000-W amplifier will actually need over 250,000 W (250 kW) of power during ruggedness testing, well beyond its intended Class A mode of operation, with additional power of 100 kW for the chiller and the air-conditioning system. With the expansion, overall power to be provided to the plant will be 2 MW, which will enable AR to build and test extremely powerful amplifiers well in excess of 100,000 W.
Microelectronics Lab Also Expanding
In keeping with its commitment to support the need for higher-power and higher frequency amplifiers, AR is also expanding its microelectronics lab by over 150%.
Larger, more powerful units, such as AR's 200-W, 0.7- to 6-GHz amplifier, require more combined modules for their manufacture. The larger microelectronics laboratory will accommodate additional module manufacturing space to keep up with this outstanding growth.
“As AR customers require larger, more powerful amplifiers, we'll be ready for their future needs,” Shepherd said.