13 / 11 / 2014
Germany's MEDAV specialises in direction and location finding systems. The company previously used coaxial cables with a weight of up to 900 kg for signal transmission in its positioning systems. A glass-fiber-based solution by INWAVE AG reduced the weight by 90 per cent, while at the same time eliminating signal loss. HUBER+SUHNER supplied fiber optic and radio frequency cables and connectors for this solution, as well as other products such as lightning protection components.
MEDAV uses antennas to locate signals in the low-frequency range, and evaluates them with measuring instruments. Each frequency transmission system comprises nine antennas arranged in a circle. By evaluating the frequency stages, MEDAV can determine the signal reception direction. The container with the measuring equipment is located around 200 to 300 metres from the measuring point.
Expensive transportation due to heavy coaxial cables
Coaxial cables are normally used to capture and transmit the signals from the antennas to the measuring instruments, which are installed using an uncoiling rucksack more commonly seen in military applications. Low-attenuation, and thus extremely thick and heavy, cables are used to achieve the lowest possible signal loss. Due to the distance between the antennas and the containers, cable coils that each weigh about 80 kilograms are used. Twelve coils are used for the entire system, meaning that the routed cable material reaches a weight of over 900 kg. Due to its weight and volume, transporting and handling the cable coils is complex and expensive, which has a particularly negative impact on mobile positioning systems.
Tailor-made solution with HUBER+SUHNER products
INWAVE therefore developed a customised solution for MEDAV to address these issues. The solution comprises a converter for installation on the antennas that transmits radio frequency signals via fiber optics, together with a second converter in the container that converts the signals back. Instead of coaxial cable, fiber optic cables are used and thanks to this technology, there is no signal loss, even though a much lighter material is used.
Weight reduction of 90 per cent
As a partner to INWAVE, HUBER+SUHNER delivered pre-assembled fiber optic and radio frequency assemblies and other components such as lightning protection. Instead of twelve coils, only three fiber optic coils are now required, since fiber optic cables can transmit a higher data volume. Each weigh only 7.5 kg and as a result, the total weight of the equipment, with the uncoiler rucksack and an extra roll of copper cable to power the converter, is just under 50 kilograms. This special rucksack with the fiber optic cable and ETC lens connector was also delivered fully-assembled by HUBER+SUHNER. Thanks to the new solution by INWAVE in cooperation with HUBER+SUHNER, the cost of transport and handling has been dramatically reduced.
The ability to supply ready-assembled, customer-specific products was the decisive success factor in this project. In addition, the cable assemblies are not only lighter, but also very rugged and therefore ideal for outdoor applications.
Connectivity solutions combined with fiber optics and radio frequency
For HUBER+SUHNER, this project is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate its expertise in connectivity solutions that combine fiber optics and radio frequency technologies. This combination of technologies in tailored solutions is a key success factor that opens up a variety of opportunities in the communications, transportation and industrial markets.