Cobham Electromagnetic Simulation Tools Accelerate
Cobham Antenna Systems
Press Release - December 5, 2012
-- Automated process allows travelling-wave-tubes to be
designed and analyzed in minutes!
Aurora, IL, December 6,
2012 --- An automated simulation-based design cycle has become a fundamental
part of the success of one of today's leading designers of travelling
wave tube (TWT) microwave amplifiers.
TMD Technologies produces
a large range of TWTs, a core component of many radar and missile seeker
systems, electronic counter measure (ECM) and electronic warfare (EW)
systems. By using scripting tools built into Cobham Technical Services'
Opera electromagnetic design software,
the company has created a custom tool that automatically builds a three-dimensional
(3D) model of a new TWT, simulates it and analyzes the results, all
within the space of around five minutes. This speed of design provides
the engineering team with a means of rapidly creating highly-optimized
solutions for new TWT applications, allowing the company to respond
quickly and effectively to this largely project-driven business.
is one of the oldest companies in the TWT marketplace, with roots dating
from the early 1940s, when as the microwave tube research division of
EMI Electronics it developed high power klystrons for the first airborne
radars. Today, the company retains a leadership position in several
TWT design segments including ring-loop and coupled-cavity types, and
particularly in the higher-power parts of the market. The company's
ability to design specialized high-voltage low-noise power supplies
required for TWT applications, and to provide integrated transmitter
subsystems is another major factor behind the company's recent growth.
Automation of the design process is critical, as simulation
is the main means of understanding the effects of design changes on
TWT performance. Although there are markets for standard TWT products,
a large proportion of the business is application-specific and TMD often
has to balance several competing design goals in order to produce the
required characteristics. Along with frequency and amplification specifications,
there are often severe weight, size, power consumption and heat dissipation
targets for example, as systems might be installed on satellites or
aircraft. The ability to design a TWT that is compatible with the voltage
levels of an existing power supply is another common demand, as this
can substantially reduce project costs and timescales.
electromagnetic design tool provides TMD with a powerful means of exploring
the solutions to these design challenges. The tool has a library of
generic parameterized models of TWT tube designs, containing unique
intellectual property on the design of component parts of TWTs, and
all the engineer needs to start creating a custom TWT is to enter some
of the model geometry parameters using dialog boxes - which takes only
a few minutes. The package will then automatically simulate and post-process
the results to provide custom high-level views of the resulting performance.
This process typically takes less than five minutes, so it is
easy for TMD to modify the design parameters and repeat the analysis
to locate the optimum solution within any chosen design space. TMD also
has built in special features to the custom design software to improve
the optimization process, such as making it easy for users to suspend
simulation and change parameters on the fly, or to 'bracket' a design
topology and then to create an interpolated data file that can be used
to explore the intervening design space. Thanks to the highly automated
design optimization, this phase of the total TWT design process can
often be accomplished within a couple of days. TMD has also produced
similar script sequences that partially-automate the design of the electron
gun and magnetic focusing elements of a TWT.
One of the most
recent applications for the automated design tool has been in the development
of a groundbreaking microwave power module called PTX8400. The compact
transmitter module provides 1 kW output thanks to a novel ring loop
TWT offering very high gain. This combination of size and performance
is setting a new standard for space- and weight-critical radar applications
such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and military helicopter platforms.
TMD has been using the Opera software suite from Cobham for
over 10 years. The company utilizes many of the specialist electromagnetic
design solvers developed by Cobham including ones for simulating charged
particle beams, for static and time-varying magnetic field analysis,
and for modelling thermal effects. The accuracy of the finite element
analysis design software has been proven time and again for the company,
by comparing actual measured results from the finished real-world products
with the predictions obtained from the simulation models.
Opera-based tools that we have developed substantially shorten design
cycles, giving us a lot of time and freedom to find the best solution
for any particular application," says David Dyson, Chief Engineer of
TMD Technologies' Tubes Division.
Travelling wave tubes (TWTs)
are vacuum devices that amplify by producing an electron beam and coupling
it with a microwave frequency electromagnetic signal. Synchronization
is achieved by means of a 'slow wave structure' which employs a geometry
such as a helix, ring bar or ring loop to precisely delay the microwave
signal by forcing it to meander back and forth.
About TMD Technologies
TMD Technologies Ltd is the world’s
foremost supplier of rugged high power amplifiers and transmitters for
radar and electronic warfare (EW) applications. TMD supplies most of
the major radar and EW systems companies worldwide, and has an unrivalled
reputation for technical innovation, particularly in the area of low
noise performance. It is also an important supplier to the EMC testing,
communications, scientific and medical markets. In addition to rugged
amplifiers and transmitters, TMD's capability covers microwave tubes,
cathodes and electron guns, high voltage power supplies, instrumentation
microwave amplifiers and special assembly projects. The origins of TMD
can be traced back to the high power klystron group of EMI which was
involved with development of the first airborne radars during the 1940s.
Since then, as part of EMI and later Thorn, TMD has been responsible
for many of the major technical advances in the microwave tube industry,
and over the last 25 years has expanded into the areas of switched mode
power supplies and transmitters. TMD Technologies was created in 1995
following a management buyout from Thorn EMI. For more information please
contact Heather Skinner at: TMD Technologies Ltd, Swallowfield Way,
Hayes, Middlesex UB3 1DQ, UK. t +44 (0)20 8573 5555; f +44 (0)20 8569
Cobham specializes in meeting the
demand for data, connectivity and bandwidth in defense, security and
commercial environments. Offering a technically diverse and innovative
range of technologies and services, the Group protects lives and livelihoods,
responding to customer needs with agility that differentiates it. The
most important thing we build is trust. Employing more than 10,000 people
on five continents, the Group has customers and partners in over 100
About Cobham Technical Services
Vector Fields Software Products Cobham Technical Services produces the
world's most advanced software for modelling and analyzing electromagnetic
equipment and effects. Its virtual prototyping tools speed the design
process - helping to achieve a user's goal, whether that is lowest cost,
optimum performance, ease of manufacture, or the best combination.
For further information please contact Lois Lee at:
Cobham Technical Services, 1700 N Farnsworth Ave Aurora, IL 60505, USA
t: (630) 851-1734
f: (630) 851-2106
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