Cobham Electromagnetic Simulation Tools Accelerate
Design of Microwave Amplifiers
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.
Opera-based 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.
"The 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.
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
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Employing more than 10,000 people on five continents, the Group has customers
and partners in over 100 countries.
About Cobham Technical
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