Selecting Microwave/RF Cable Assemblies for Reliable Performance Over Time

A recent study showed that users of microwave/RF cable assemblies expect high-quality, long-lasting performance; however, more than 75 percent of these users are replacing their assemblies frequently, with the most common cause of failure identified as damage during installation or operation. Depending on the frequency, the direct cost for replacing cable assemblies on a single piece of equipment can reach $250,000 over the life of the system — and this does not include the indirect costs such as delayed production schedules, bad products, or retesting and calibration. W. L. Gore & Associates evaluated the durability and performance over time of several 18-GHz microwave/RF cable assemblies described as having a ruggedized construction with similar specifications. This testing showed that the performance of a new microwave/RF cable assembly does not necessarily ensure reliable performance for the life of a system. Selecting a durable cable assembly that has been tested to survive real-world conditions is the key to reducing replacement costs and the only way to ensure reliability over time.