Embedded Antennas

embedded antennasThis is an area where MEI excels, where over 27 years of know-how and experience developing original antennas make a significant difference. This difference translates into a creative solution for your product, as opposed to an ordinary, run of the mill one. MEI can create, supply and support a suitable antenna to meet client requirements in almost any housing, regardless of whether the antenna is permitted to protrude outside the housing or not.

Embedded radiators are designed, developed, prototyped, verified and manufactured in-house within the spectrum of 100 kHz to 26 GHz. A very broad range of antenna structures are created, including patch, inverted F, slot, notch, horn, dipole, monopole, loop, conformal/printed, wrap-around/band-aid, spiral, conical, miniature, naturally & forced resonant, loaded or unloaded, etc., together with their hybrid combinations. Spatially and polarization diverse radiating systems are equally supported.

MEI regularly develops antennas to match OEM product geometries and desired electromagnetic performance (polarization, gain, pattern, efficiency, etc.) If you have such a challenge, you are invited to give Dr. Myers a call at (add phone number). You will most likely be impressed with how quickly a conceptual solution will come to life, before you hang up the telephone.

Typically, a normal contract for Embedded Antennas with MEI has the following stages: (1) NRE Services (design, development and validation), (2) Prototypes (the first 5 to 25 units), (3) Initial Production (first 100 to 1,000 pieces, depending on tooling requirements) and (4) Volume Production (1,000 and above.) MEI will normally provide a quotation for most of these stages prior to the NRE effort. Oftentimes, client firms also request MEI’s consulting services for the improvement of the RF front end, for the control of noise emissions, and/or to solve system self-jamming (common when internal antennas and microcontrollers co-exist in close proximity.)

NRE Services costs are very intimately related to the desired technical objectives. As a guide, our experience has shown that costs typically range between $5,000 to $50,000, with an average near $22,000. Development times vary accordingly, but generally, most antennas go into Initial Production within 2 to 6 months after the signing of a contract. The Prototypes and Initial Production stages permit MEI clients to make a rapid movement into their market. At these stages, products are manufactured in-house, without the use of specialized tooling, providing relief, while production tools are developed and made (effort which occurs concurrently with pre-production.) The absence of specialized tooling and assembly learning curves, typically cause prices of initial antennas to be a factor of 1.5 to 3 times higher than those at full scale production. Initial Production often has a life of 15 to 60 days, with its average at 30 days, after which normal manufacturing begins. Then, depending on the particular client targets and needs, Volume Production is either performed in-house, offshore (through an overseas MEI partner), or as a combination effort.

Description of 3 Embedded Antennas Previously Developed By MEI

embedded antennasThis has been a difficult page for MEI to prepare due to the great respect and loyalty it maintains toward its client firms. To protect their investments while satisfying its marketing interests, MEI has decided to restrict all information presented herein to only 3 MEI designs that are 2 years old or older. Data here is presented only with the aim to show MEI’s capabilities in this area. Little disclosure regarding the application or the particular customer is supplied.

Above, a short antenna having fairly wide bandwidth is depicted. The presentable plastic enclosure housing the product (and the antenna) restricted the space available to 1/2 the natural size. The antenna shown covered the entire 2.4 GHz ISM band, where it was used to exchange Spread Spectrum signals, with a peak gain of +3 dBi (including diffraction due to the device’s chassis), and an installed peak to peak ripple under 6 dB (mostly due to the large, rectangular shape of the product’s chassis.)

Above, an entire transceiver system is shown, including the antenna and RF transmission network. This subassembly was installed inside an ergonomic portable computing device. The antenna was internal to the product and produced a peak -3 dBi gain in its “pager” (vertical) orientation and -5 dBi in its “normal use” orientation (horizontal, as in the photo, but upside down.) Pattern stability and polarization diversity achieved by this design was excellent. The RF transmission system was designed to automatically accommodate an external whip antenna, if one is present. The transceiver was narrowband, 900 MHz and amplitude modulated. The product performed over a range of 100 meters.

Below is an antenna designed to operate inside a very densely packed, compact wireless product. The requirement for this antenna was an afterthought and there literally was no space for one. MEI met the challenge with a paper thin solution, yielding the desired polarization, gain and azimuthal ripple. This antenna had to be laminated with Kapton tape to protect other nearby components from short circuits. Operating band was 900 MHz. This design is still in production at MEI.