|Newsletter - Summer 2012|
General Dynamics - Customer SpotlightName: Ken Anderson, Senior Systems Engineer, General Dynamics
Headquarters: Falls Church, Virginia
Extremely aggressive delivery schedules on a mission-critical, multi-million dollar program dictated the need for the Advanced Information Systems group in Santa Clara,California to identify a supplier of complex beamformers.
TRM delivered 7 contiguous frequency bands of custom 6-input/ 4-output channel circular mode beamformer networks.
From the CEO - Wendy TirolloWe have made a commitment at TRM to invest in our employees as well as the environment they work in and at this mid-year point I am pleased to report that we have made a great deal of progress. In the first seven months of 2012, our engineering team has added a Mechanical Designer-Detailer, Engineering Assistant and an RF/MW Design Engineer. Our sales team is also growing this month as John Dimech joins us as our Business Development Manager. At the same time, we are delighted to celebrate having seventeen of our employees having ten years of service or more.
The greatest reward though comes in the form of praise from our customers. We have received a number of their emails including this note from Andrew Bristol, Scientist Engineer Level 6 at Boeing, "The analysis looks great! I must say that it is very refreshing to converse with an engineer/analyst that knows what he is talking about." This recognition and others along the same vein play a vital role in giving us confidence that our allocation of resources lines up effectively with our customer's needs.
As we review the performance metrics in the first half of 2012, we are excited to say that we have reached a 98.2% on-time delivery status and hit the mark on our Customer Satisfaction goals. Our commitment to focus on efficiencies has also included upgrades to our workplace environment in the form of new flooring, painting and restructuring our dedicated manufacturing cells. A great deal of effort has gone into instituting internal visual communication and organizational methods that enhance workflow and employee engagement.
After 42 years in business, we are also making great strides in reinvigorating our brand in an effort to build off of our name change, new logo and Web site. Whether it is from an advertisement they've seen in a trade magazine or a white paper they've downloaded from a partner's Web site I have received positive feedback that confirms more and more people are taking notice.
We are looking forward to the second half of 2012 and to fulfilling the goals that we committed to in the beginning of the year. Rest assured that we will be focused on solving the toughest engineering challenges, releasing new product designs and serving new customers. We appreciate your support and trust.
Plan and Reality - Mark Schappler, COOThe first seven months of 2012 have proved to be a good challenge for TRM. Coming off a year in which revenue grew by 36% over the previous year, we cautioned ourselves against the thinking that everything only goes up and to the right. 2012 was a year to hold our revenues, but again focus on improving both near and long term service to our customers.
Near term focus for the first six months has led to positive results. On time delivery has improved by 10%. Our responsiveness to short delivery orders has gotten much better, our supply chain has improved for both delivery and quality and we are quoting faster than in the past. The rate of maintaining our documentation revisions as we drive improvements also is up.
The longer term view to serve better is to reinvest in the capabilities of the company. Today we are building and testing products that historically our customers would not have considered sending us. The additional new talent that came on board this year, has strengthened our core, provided more flexibility and has increased our engineering capacity.
Our commitment to grow smarter with a focus on collaborating and serving our customers continues to reinforce that this strategy is good for our customers and our confidence. From the beginning of the year, we have been telling our employees that this year will be six months to drive improvement, and then six months to prove the value of their work. As we reflect at the midyear point, we are confident that our approach is the right one. Our backlog has grown, our custom product design activity has increased and our enthusiasm to demonstrate our gains is peaking at the right time.
TRM Microwave will continue to improve in all aspects. We are actively looking to fill additional job opportunities, we are making adjustments to provide better focus on the key deliverables and we will continue to use data to measure the gain on important metrics.
With our growth being driven by you, our customer, you can be assured that we will manage carefully to be the long term custom solution provider that remains innovative, nimble and hungry to improve.
Sales - TJ Cole, Director of SalesServe, serve, serve —the TRM sales team continues to serve the customer in any way, shape or form. Whether it’s a quick turn on a bid required to support proposal activity, expedited delivery for a critical requirement or an innovative approach to solving a customer problem. We derive tremendous satisfaction in serving the customer.
In mid-January, TRM was honored to be the recipient of an award from BAE for “Sustained Excellence in Product Performance and Delivery”. That was a great way to start off the New Year and that trend has continued with a number of kudos from our customers.
We are currently 10% ahead of the bookings forecasted for the year and continue to see a positive mix between new product design and follow-on production work. We’re continually focused on our on-time delivery performance and are proud to report that we hit 98.5% this past June.
In March, we attended the Satellite show in Washington DC for the first time. In addition to meeting with potential new customers we also took advantage of the opportunity to meet our congressional delegates to discuss the possible ramifications of sequestration. With half of the 110 billion dollars in cuts next year alone threatening to come from the defense budget, we will continue to look for ways to communicate our concern to Congress every opportunity we get.
We’re also listening to our customers. Which in turn help us to drive improvements by bringing requests back to the factory for shorter lead times, standard pricing on catalog products, and more face-time with our applications engineering team. Since January we have logged visits to upstate New York, northern and southern California and Washington DC.
To further support our goals for continued growth, we identified a need to add a business development manager to our team. I am pleased to announce that John Dimech has recently joined us to fill this role. John’s focus will be on assessing new business opportunities within our target market, establishing new sales representation in areas currently underserved and cultivating new customer relationships.
The factory is always open to customer visits. We encourage and support all requests.
Serve, serve, serve – we welcome the opportunity to partner with you on your most challenging requirements!
Director of Sales
Engineering Corner - Ken Greenwood, Director of EngineeringTRM Engineering continues to strengthen its core capabilities as a high-mix, low volume supplier to develop wideband, low profile components. We actively support low frequency ferrite technologies, along with the higher frequency topologies of stripline, microstrip and airstrip designs. These are designed as single components and/or integrated microwave assemblies. Our specialized design approach helps us readily adapt to our customer’s unique requirements.
Most often, we refer to our expertise in electrical performance and mechanical design when we release our new products. The other side to that though, is our capability to engineer custom, space-qualified components that are designed to operate under extreme environmental conditions. An example of this is the S-Band, 4 Way, power divider that we are currently designing for a satellite. It will operate in severe, cold temperatures; down to -120° C. This is over twice as cold as our typical low end limit for ferrite devices at -40° C and -55° C for non-ferrite.
Other new product designs have expanded our power divider line with additions to the 20 MHz – 3 GHz family. This wideband, ferrite series of power dividers is designed for use in radar and communication applications requiring exceptional phase balance. We now offer configurations from 2 Way through 16 Way.
In line with our high-mix / low volume capabilities, we are working on a unique project for the USAF. This phase comparator is a design from the early 1980’s where the original manufacturer is no longer supporting its production. Because we are a custom design/manufacturer, we’re able to minimize our customers’ risk of having to replace or shut down the entire multi-million dollar test system.
From a resource perspective, we're pleased to welcome Charles Bardwell, Engineering Assistant, Dave Shelton, Mechanical Designer and Russ Bardsley, RF/MW Design Engineer.
As we look towards the second half of 2012 we will again host an IEEE MTT-S meeting in September.
Dr. Ming Yu, IEEE Fellow, Chief Scientist and Director, R&D of COM DEV will provide a brief discussion regarding Power Handling and Temperature Compensation Design for Passive Microwave Devices. Details will be published on our Web site once the date and time are established.
Director of Engineering
New Hire - John Dimech Joins as Business Development ManagerJohn Dimech has recently joined TRM, and will serve as Business Development Manager. Prior to joining TRM, John was Director of Sales for Plansee-TMS, Director of Business Development at Natel Engineering and has held a number of sales positions at Merrimac Industries. John has a technical background and 20+ years of experience supporting products ranging from components to hybrids and multi-functional modules; test equipment to sub-assemblies and box level manufacturing and test. John will focus on cultivating new opportunities for TRM Microwave while expanding the company’s reach into existing accounts.
Space Level Screening and QualificationSpace qualification, like many other high - reliability qualifications, is specific to the end users environment and mission profile. TRM Microwave will customize component screening to meet your specific requirements. The first screening occurs at the design phase during the material selection process. TRM only uses materials that meet the NASA outgassing standards of 1% TML and .1% CVCM.
Epoxy cure cycles effect the outgassing of the final material, TRM only uses NASA approved cure cycles for these epoxies. CTE is as much a key parameter when selecting a material for severe environments as is its electrical properties; TRM takes the entire environment into consideration when selecting our materials. Multipaction Analysis is always conducted during the initial phase of the design cycle, to identify any potential areas of concern early so they can be designed out of the product. The final design will then be reviewed again to verify that it does not have the potential for multipaction to occur.
The component assemblies are subjected to several levels of quality inspections throughout the manufacturing process. The first is qualification; this insures that the manufacturing process produces high quality results that can be relied upon to produce flight hardware. For example this step includes micro-cross sectioning and SEM analysis of solder joints. The next step is the process quality inspection, which includes a combination of visual, X-ray and cleanliness inspections. A Destructive Physical Analysis (DPA) unit is typically used to validate the manufacturing process on each production lot.
Environmental stress screening and validation are also typical of flight hardware. Vibration, shock, humidity and thermal cycling are all typically conducted screening tests.
TRM utilizes automated network analyzers, integrated with thermal chambers to validate and characterize performance at temperature. Units are monitored continually during thermal cycling to validate the design integrity while the unit is undergoing thermal stress.
TRM uses this process to continue to support and release new space-qualified and hi-rel solutions for the military airborne and space markets.
TRM is ISO 9001:2008 certified and is an ITAR compliant facility. Download PDF.