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RF Wireless Technology

RF Wireless Technology

SMTC is an industry leader in the manufacturing of radio frequency-based electronics including PCBAs, sub-assemblies and complete box builds. We are staffed with seasoned RF test technicians and engineers who have a strong background in testing and tuning complex RF circuitry.

Radio frequency (RF) wireless technology manufacturing and testing are areas where our team excels.

We manufacture RF-based PCBAs, sub-assemblies and complete box builds. Our manufactured PCBA frequency ranges from MHz –over 40GHz.

Today, the majority of our very high-frequency work is in the aerospace and defense industries. For industrial applications, we produce RF meters in high volume quantities. We also apply our RF manufacturing and test capabilities to the telecom and medical sectors.

RF Water Meter Technology

If there’s an area where the full manufacturing capabilities of SMTC are on display each day, it’s in the manufacturing of RF water meter technology.

We are one of the leading RF water meter manufacturers in the world. A look at the company’s detailed manufacturing process provides the evidence to the company’s RF water meter domination.

But our value as an electronics manufacturer goes beyond simply producing high-tech components like RF water meters. Much like the quality of the components selected to make these complicated electronics, the level of skill and sophistication we bring to each manufacturing job provides the added value its customers are seeking.

SMTC is a strong RF wireless technology manufacturer. Manufacturing and test services applications for our aerospace and defense sector include:

  • Satellite Communications
  • C4I PCBAs RF Power Amplifiers –up to 50 watt
  • In Flight Entertainment –Live Television
  • In Flight Entertainment –Satellite Radio
  • In Flight Internet
  • Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Applications
  • Man Pack Radios
  • Emergency Location Transmitters
  • Ruggedized Modems
  • Special Forces Radios

Manufacturing and test services applications for our industrial, medical and telecom sectors include:

  • RF Meters
  • RF Water Meter Technology
  • Wireless Radios
  • Satellite communications
  • RF Test Equipment
  • Mass Information Storage
  • RF Cable Modems
  • Cell Phone Based GPS tracking Devices
  • Wireless Local Area Networking

We use seasoned RF test technicians and engineers with a strong background in testing and tuning complex RF circuitry. We offer RF calibration and tuning services up over 40 GHz and RF test troubleshooting up to 6 GHz.

For example, we employ our own RF technicians, allowing us to quickly test frequency domain and reliably. The technicians also can perform the required network/spectrum analysis on each product we produce, streamlining the manufacturing process for customers.

We use our strength in the area of Radio Frequency to assemble, test and deliver thousands of wireless water meter products per month. Our experience with RF allows us to ensure our customers receive their units, fully tested, transmitting at the correct frequency, at the right power level, and not bleeding into other frequency bands. We speed testing and delivery by performing final testing in an array of multiple boards placed within Faraday RF cages which allows the unit under test to be isolated from stray RF signals which may alter the ability to truly measure only the transmission from that device. Our RF technicians are fully experienced in troubleshooting in the frequency domain using standard RF equipment such as Spectrum / Network Analyzers, Signal Generators and Power Meters.

When clients approach us with an order for RF water meters, they expect to receive a reliable product that will not be obsolete in a few years or one that will be prone to maintenance repairs.

After all, these products are being designed and manufactured to last for years. No manufacturer wants to tell its client that it needs to dig up expensive water meters from Miami to Anchorage.

Our engineers know that clients are looking for high reliability and a robust, repeatable process from the company. Customers need circuit boards that are clean and free of defects. There is little margin for error with products like RF water meters.

As mentioned before, board cleanliness is also a requirement for our team and our RF water meter clients. The standards for cleanliness are very strict high for RF water meters because of the longer life and higher reliability requirements placed on them by the nature of the application themselves. The massive expense to locate, recall, fix and re-deploy buried water meters requires an excessive amount of money, hence the need for the design and processes to meet the life cycle parameters. Furthermore, the use of low-profile components and the limited space in a water meter RF PCBA makes the cleanliness process particularly challenging.

We pay close attention to end-use requirements as well as the chemistries being used to ensure board cleanliness in its PCBAs and box-build assemblies.

As high reliability printed circuit boards become more dense and complex, a cleaning process is required to remove solder flux and by-products from the PCB assembly. We utilize chemistry assisted spray-in-air inline cleaning systems capable of delivering dynamic energy to the board level. To maximize cleaning effectiveness and performance we have developed and qualified our wash recipe to surpass industry standards for PCBA cleanliness. The process was developed to ensure our fixturing and optimized wash parameters clean under low profile components. The wash recipe manages critical features of the machine operation, such as conveyor speed, spray pressure, DI water temperature, and chemical concentration. To maintain the control required; the process is monitored with the Ionograph and validated through IonChromatography cleanliness testing.

Of course, one of the easiest ways for customers to receive PCBAs that will be durable and reliable is to include our team in the design process.

Working to develop a product that requirements less complications can improve quality and result in zero defects. When it’s time appropriate, our Engineers prefer to collaborate directly with the customer’s designers to make changes that enhance the manufacturability of the product. Component spacing, pad layouts, thermal balancing, and drill designs are some of the attributes that are reviewed during the DFM analysis. Identifying the manufacturability challenges early, prior to design release, benefit both our team and the customer to support providing a quality product and achieve a project timeline.

Another advantage we offer clients in the water meter market, as well as many other commercial markets, is the offering of a dual production model in the United States and in Mexico. In the case of water meters, the higher volume meters themselves are manufactured in our Mexico facility affording the labor savings enjoyed in central Mexico. In the USA, new products can be developed, after-market services that don’t have a steady demand profile can be serviced, and the higher ASP-small volume –inconsistent demand supporting equipment box builds can also be built in the USA, closer to the client’s end use point.