Microwave OEMs braced for shake-up

A leading US components manufacturer is vowing to shake up the commercial microwave industry by launching a range of ‘market disrupting’ technology.

Freescale Semiconductor announced this week that it has added cost-effective, solid-state radio frequency (RF) power transistor products to its offering that will modernise the industry.

Along with the introduction of an integrated RF power application development system, Freescale insists the new lines will enable commercial microwave oven OEMs to create differentiated solutions and novel product types for a new cooking paradigm.

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Paul Hart, senior VP and general manager of Freescale’s RF business, said its products will allow manufacturers to come up with units that cook more efficiently, more effectively, and with greater consistency and higher quality.

“Solid-state RF power is a major leap forward for the market, and what we know as microwave cooking and how it’s performed over the last 30 years is all about to change,” he declared.

Solid-state RF power technology delivers highly efficient and controllable RF energy without performance degradation over time, providing customers with a longer lasting and economically feasible alternative to legacy magnetron-based microwave systems, according to Freescale.

Its solid-state RF devices are purpose-built to withstand harsh RF heating environments, and are the industry’s first products housed in affordable plastic packages to operate at 915 MHz and 2.45 GHz.

Freescale said the devices were in contrast with traditional magnetron technology that relies on a “crude on-off” control where energy arbitrarily fills the microwave cavity and can result in uneven cooking.

The firm claims a magnetron can begin to lose its ability to produce RF energy after as little as 500 operating hours, whereas solid-state RF power has demonstrated reliability of up to a 20-year lifetime under continuous use.

It insists this reliability helps to ensure that food cooks consistently over the appliance’s lifetime and reduces commercial kitchen downtime and repairs.

Freescale added that by controlling where and when the RF energy is directed, OEMs can develop ovens that allow for more precise cooking, greater consistency in quality of cooking, selective heating, and versatile and complex cooking combinations.

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