Published in collaboration with NCMS
Digital Manufacturing Report

News & information about the fast-moving world
of digital manufacturing, modeling & simulation

Language Flags

Simulation Accelerates Microwave Amplifier Design

AURORA, Ill., Dec. 6 – 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.

TMD 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.

The 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.

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.

About Cobham

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 countries.

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.


Source: Cobham

RSS Feeds

Subscribe to All Content

Feature Articles

Titan Puts a New Spin on GE’s Wind Turbine Research

Unlike traditional energy sources, wind is a trouble to tame, which has led GE to turn to advanced simulations at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to put the technology on track to cover 12 percent of the world's energy production.

Lighting a Fire Under Combustion Simulation

Combustion simulation might seem like the ultimate in esoteric technologies, but auto companies, aircraft firms and fuel designers need increasingly sophisticated software to serve the needs of 21st century engine designs. HPCwire recently got the opportunity to take a look at Reaction Design, one of the premier makers of combustion simulation software, and talk with its CEO, Bernie Rosenthal.

D-Wave Sells First Quantum Computer

On Wednesday, D-Wave Systems made history by announcing the sale of the world's first commercial quantum computer. The buyer was Lockheed Martin Corporation, who will use the machine to help solve some of their "most challenging computation problems." D-Wave co-founder and CTO Geordie Rose talks about the new system and the underlying technology.

Short Takes

Local Motors and ORNL Partner for Automotive Manufacturing

Jan 24, 2014 | Local Motors, a vehicle innovator, and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have announced a new partnership that they hope will bring change to the automotive industry.

Advanced Modeling Benefits Wind Farms

May 25, 2011 | Advanced computing resources optimize the site selection of wind farms.

Not Your Parents' CFD

Oct 13, 2010 | Outdated beliefs stand in the way of greater CFD adoption.

Manufacturers Turn to HPC to Cut Testing Costs

Oct 06, 2010 | Supercomputing saves money by reducing the need for physical testing.

HPC Technology Makes Car Safety Job 1

Aug 05, 2010 | Automakers turn to computer simulations to design safer vehicles.

Sponsored Whitepapers

Technical Computing for a New Era

07/30/2013 | IBM | This white paper examines various means of adapting technical computing tools to accelerate product and services innovation across a range of commercial industries such as manufacturing, financial services, energy, healthcare, entertainment and retail. No longer is technically advanced computing limited to the confines of big government labs and academic centers. Today it is available to a wide range of organizations seeking a competitive edge.

The UberCloud HPC Experiment: Compendium of Case Studies

06/25/2013 | Intel | The UberCloud HPC Experiment has achieved the volunteer participation of 500 organizations and individuals from 48 countries with the aim of exploring the end-to-end process employed by digital manufacturing engineers to access and use remote computing resources in HPC centers and in the cloud. This Compendium of 25 case studies is an invaluable resource for engineers, managers and executives who believe in the strategic importance of applying advanced technologies to help drive their organization’s productivity to perceptible new levels.

Conferences and Events

Featured Events

Copyright © 2011-2014 Tabor Communications, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Digital Manufacturing Report is a registered trademark of Tabor Communications, Inc. Use of this site is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Tabor Communications Inc. is prohibited.
Powered by Xtenit.