Ben Reed, General Manager, Times Microwave Systems (TMS) discusses the company’s European expansion and commitment to European customers. The pandemic has shown that local manufacturing capabilities and redundancy are key to to global companies ensuring resilient supply lines.
Q1: Times Microwave has a new manufacturing operation in Estonia and recently opened a Master Distribution Hub in the Netherlands. What advantages do these facilities offer European customers?
The importance of manufacturing redundancy and supply chain resiliency became abundantly clear in the past year. As a result, the location of supplier production is increasingly important to our customers. We opened our Master Distribution Hub in the Netherlands and our manufacturing facility in Estonia to ensure that we can provide locally sourced products for our European customers.
The Master Distribution Hub stocks a wide variety of Times products, allowing us to respond quickly to local requirements. Our new manufacturing facility in Estonia allows Times to provide European-made products to customers that require it. In many of the markets we serve, this is critical. For example, European Space Agency sponsored programs often mandate European manufacturing sources.
Bringing our products closer to the point of delivery offers greater flexibility and reduced shipping costs. With the addition of these sites, Times can manufacture products in any one of our six sites around the world, mitigating the impact to our customers of such unpredicted circumstances like pandemics, weather, or geopolitical conditions. This manufacturing redundancy allows Times to shift quickly and tap the resources of another facility as needed.
While we have always known proximity to our customers is important to offer the highest possible level of service, the pandemic increased our customers’ needs for local service and sourcing fleixbility. Bringing service and stock nearer to our customers has been a strategic priority for a while, and our new facilities were brought online to highlight our commitment to our European customers.
Q2: What is the relationship with UK-based company Ionix, and how does it fit into your European strategy?
Both Times Microwave Systems and Ionix are part of the Amphenol Military and Aerospace Operations (AMAO) Group. Belonging to an organization with the extensive capabilities of AMAO gives us access to more facilities, investment and technologies that benefit our customers. Amphenol’s resources and stability ensure that we will be able to continue serving our customers with high-quality, leading-edge products for the long term.
Ionix has a well-established legacy manufacturing products in Estonia to serve incredibly critical aerospace applications like, aircraft engines. Partnering with Ionix allows Times to leverage their existing infrastructure and expertise, ultimately allowing us to accelerate the launch of our Estonia site. In short, Estonia production provides enhanced assurance that we can meet European customers’ needs now and into the future.
Q3: Which key markets are being addressed in the European expansion?
Times Microwave Systems has a strong heritage in many space and military programs. In Europe, we are strongly involved in these markets, as well as ground vehicles, shipboard, industrial, 5G/wireless communications, medical, and test & measurement products.
Q4: Times Microwave is renowned for its expertise in military, aerospace, and space in the USA. As many of these difficult interconnect challenges are custom or small batch opportunities, what technology capabilities are available to Europe?
At Times, we have one of the most extensive product portfolios in the market, along with global technical expertise in the full spectrum of RF applications and their respective requirements. We supply products for aerospace and military applications, where high reliability is the top priority, and in commercial applications where scalability and cost effectiveness are primary drivers. We can offer the highest-quality solutions to fit customers’ specific needs with our full support and technological expertise. This is one of the key advantages of partnering with Times Microwave Systems: we seek to be solutions providers for our customers
We have worked with European customers for several decades, so we have experience meeting local requirements as well. Our European facilities enable us to offer made-in-Europe products with Certificates of Origin and all necessary documentation.
Q5: Currently there is a surge of satellites being built and developed for communications applications, mainly driven by the build-out of LEO (Low Earth Orbit) constellations. What solutions does Times Microwave offer here? How is Times Microwave positioned to support customers?
Times is well positioned to support these opportunities because we have expertise in both high-reliability and commercial markets. We understand what is required from supply-chain and design standpoints. As the demand for satellites grows, so too does the need for faster, lower-cost launches. These applications require the utmost reliability, and we have experience meeting those parameters. At the same time, we’re experienced in providing the high volume, quick delivery, and technical responsiveness that our wireless commercial customers expect to support their communications infrastructure build-out at scalable cost. We understand where the threshold lies between high-reliability/critical-performance and high-volume/cost-sensitive requirements, and we have helped many customers find the right balance for their unique situations.
Q6: Medical is another huge opportunity for RF and microwave. Could you briefly outline medical markets that Time Microwave are involved in and how you see these markets developing?
At Times Microwave Systems, we specialize in custom-engineered solutions for medical and other markets. We focus on four main product categories:
- Electrical surgical devices, which includes robotics, ablation, lasers, and catheters;
- Research, including sterilization, test and measurement equipment, and custom applications for research;
- Patient and equipment monitoring; and
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound, and other imaging equipment.
Finally, we support 5G for healthcare communications between facilities, equipment, and people – the infrastructure needed for private healthcare networks and the future of telemedicine. Our extensive product portfolio covers the smallest cables for ablation, all the way up to very robust, high-power solutions for MRI systems.
Our partnership with our sister company, Amphenol Alden, allows us to combine their extensive market and regulatory knowledge with Times Microwaves' vast coaxial cable portfolio to provide world-class medical interconnect solutions.
Overall, we have an extensive product portfolio for the medical market and are focusing our new product development on supporting market trends such as high-definition imaging, minimally invasive procedures, telemedicine, low latency connectivity, and Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).
Q7: What were the key highlights of 2020?
The pandemic made 2020 a challenging year, but Times was committed from the start to the dual priorities of keeping our team safe while continuing production for our customers. We are very proud to say that we have weathered the pandemic thus far without having to close facilities, all while keeping our employees safe.
In fact, Times grew our operational footprint during the pandemic, expanding our European presence to better serve our customers. We doubled down on our strategy and investments because we believe in what we are doing, and in our commitment to continue serving our customers.
Q8: Looking forward, as Times Microwave expands globally, where do you see the most potential?
There are many areas where we see exciting potential, so we continue to expand our product range and customer base across all markets for RF and microwave technology.
Across the globe, the need for communications technology is growing exponentially, along with a greater need for a connected ecosystem. The progression to 5G is driving new communications capabilities in military, space, medical, commercial, and industrial applications alike – all requiring coaxial cable. Exciting new and future applications are emerging every day.
Partnering with Times in Europe provides the advantages of local support from sales to manufacturing and distribution, backed up by the scale of the entire Times organization and its six global manufacturing locations. Operational redundancy and resiliency make Times a reliable choice, while our extensive product portfolio - from phase stable flexible cables to low-loss, low PIM assemblies, SiO2 and more – ensures our ability to provide customers with solutions that are optimized for their specific needs.
About Ben Reed
Ben Reed joined Times Microwave Systems (TMS) as General Manager in January 2021. TMS is a subsidiary of Amphenol Corporation (NYSE: APH) and part of the Amphenol Military and Aerospace (AMAO) division. TMS designs and manufactures high performance coaxial cables, connectors and cable assemblies for military, aerospace, telecommunications, industrial RF and microwave applications. TMS has a global manufacturing footprint, with operations in Connecticut, Arizona, Florida, India, Estonia and China.
As General Manager, Ben is dedicated to driving sustainable growth and innovation through 1) TMS’s deep expertise in microwave solutions, 2) serving our customers with TMS’s global capabilities and operational excellence and 3) cultivating and growing the industry’s best team.
Prior to his current role, Ben was General Manager at Amphenol Fiber Systems International (AFSI), a division of AMAO located in Allen, TX. AFSI is a global leader in harsh environment fiber optic solutions, offering a range of products for military, industrial, and medical applications. During his tenure at AFSI, Ben led the team in growing the business through diversification and expansion in core markets.
Ben joined Amphenol in 2013 as Business Development Manager at Amphenol Nelson-Dunn Technologies (ANDT) under the Amphenol Industrial Products Group (AIPG). At ANDT, Ben focused primarily on entering new markets and product line expansion, while also playing an active role in the company's operations, engineering and marketing functions.
Ben holds a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of California, San Diego, and an MBA from INSEAD. Prior to joining Amphenol, Ben worked as a Mechanical Engineer on system design and qualification for aerospace programs. Ben lives in Connecticut with his wife.