Exel Composites has secured a patent across Europe for its telecommunications radome design. Four years in the making, the innovative material design will support the increasing roll out of fifth generation (5G) networks and will help telecommunications companies to overcome challenges with signal attenuation and protecting devices on the antenna.
the telecommunications market in the 1990s, Exel Composites’ expertise in the
industry predominantly involves the manufacturing of radomes. These structures
cover antenna systems and radar equipment, offering protection from the
environment. A key requirement for these radomes is that the material forming
them must be radio-transparent, so that signals can successfully pass through
technology is improving global broadband speeds, it has produced challenges for
telecoms equipment manufacturers. The value of 5G stems from its
ability to use a much higher frequencies in the signal to allow lower latency
and higher speed for 5G solutions. The downside is that high frequencies cannot
penetrate materials easy, restricting the reach to connected devices.
To accommodate this, radomes
must be manufactured from a low attenuating material that can be penetrated by
higher frequencies. Composite materials such as fiberglass help to mitigate
signal attenuation, while providing the necessary mechanical strength required
for long-lasting protective radomes.
Composites’ new patent includes a closed cell thermoplastic foam in its
structure. “The challenges with making a suitable radome involve striking the
balance between the attenuation and mechanical structure of the material”, said
Juha Pesonen, segment leader for telecommunications at Exel Composites.
been used in the design for its low density and rigidity, which supports the
easy transmission of radio waves. Combined with the mechanical strength of
fiberglass skins, we have created a material that is durable, stiff and can
provide the protection from the environment that antennae require.”
“The significance of this patent is the bespoke window that allows wavelengths to penetrate easier”, says Kim Sjödahl, Senior Vice President Technology and R&D at Exel Composites. “Rather than manufacturing the whole radome from the same density of material, we can alter it to meet customer requirements so that there is a specific insert creating a window, necessary for the radiowaves to pass through.
“Working closely with antennae manufacturers we optimize radome design accordingly based on the functionality and frequency of the antenna”, explains Pesonen. “Depending on this, we can tailor the combination of the fibers, resin and foam to enhance specific properties. For example, by creating greater mechanical strength or attenuation in required areas.
four years from development until now to expand the patent into Europe,
demonstrating the complexity behind radome manufacturing”, continued Pesonen.
have increased rapidly in the last decade, with 5G standards reaching 39 gigahertz
(GHz). Our manufacturing capabilities and material expertise allow us to
prepare for even higher frequencies, like that of 6G in the future. For the
time being, our radome patent will benefit our global network of
telecommunications customers, helping them to deliver the latest generation of
Exel Composites has supplied radome solutions to commercial customers in Europe and aims to roll the patent out across North America and China.