Center of Excellence for RF Filters and Components — Tijuana, Mexico

by Ed Hanrahan / October 9, 2023

Welcome to our blog series on Benchmark’s Centers of Excellence. Our Centers of Excellence represent locations within our worldwide network that have critical skills, knowledge, resources, training, and certifications surrounding a key technology area or technical competency. This blog series explores our global facilities that comprise our Centers of Excellence and highlights what makes them particularly suited to be given this prestigious title in a certain area of expertise. In this article, we showcase our outstanding facility and team in Tijuana, Mexico and discuss what makes them Benchmark’s Center of Excellence for Radio Frequency (RF) Filters and Components.

Benchmark Center of Excellence for RF Filters and Components

In highly complex and regulated industries, the design and manufacture of RF filters and components demand a profound level of skill and competency. With 40+ years of experience, Benchmark has earned the trust and respect of our loyal (and multiple repeat) customers, thanks to our unparalleled expertise and specialized knowledge that consistently meet their needs. RF filters and components play a vital role in enabling high-speed wireless communications, serving as the backbone of the Internet of Things (IoT), secure military communications, self-driving vehicles, space systems, and more. Given the diverse and innovative nature of these systems, a one-size-fits-all approach is simply inadequate when it comes to venturing into space or developing the latest radar system to keep air travelers safe. That is why Benchmark Tijuana’s design and manufacturing site has earned global recognition as a Benchmark Center of Excellence due in great part to the exceptional custom capabilities of the esteemed Benchmark Lark Technology team.

At the heart of the Tijuana Center of Excellence lies its impressive concentration of resources, including state-of-the-art equipment and a highly skilled workforce. The Lark team caters to a range of sectors with a focus on aerospace, defense, advanced computing, and next-gen communications. Our record of accomplishment working with notable organizations, such as NASA-JPL and the SLAC National Particle Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford (as well as our collaboration with several U.S. defense systems) highlights the center’s ability to meet the exacting standards of these industry leaders. Our Tijuana facility boasts a staff of 200 dedicated professionals, comprising 20 engineers and 180 direct labor employees (including key employees holding Ph.D degrees). This diverse team offers invaluable research and development (R&D) support to customers seeking customized filters that match their unique system requirements. The designs produced in Tijuana are often multi-faceted and tailored to meet the demands of specific applications.

From Idea to Realization

Our customers come to us in the initial stages of product design. They present an idea and share their dimensions and specifications. From idea to realization, our job is to partner with our customers to provide our ingenuity and technical skills to flawlessly execute the design process. In so doing, we solve unique problems for our customers that allow their technology to succeed. To serve highly regulated markets, the site is International Traffic and Arms Regulations (ITAR) registered.

The combined capabilities of the Tijuana and the Lark teams enable total system solutions. Together, we provide customized filters that improve system performance and give system engineers more design options. Some of these capabilities include:

Certified Operators Environmental Screening 
Certified Trainers RF Components and Integrated RF Assemblies
Custom PCBs  Radiation Analysis
Destructive Physical Analysis Reliability Prediction
End Item Data Packages   Worst-Case Analysis

Collaborative Work on the NASA-JPL Europa Clipper Project

Our experience puts us front and center with some of the biggest names in aerospace, space, next-generation communications, and more. As an example, the Lark team was entrusted to design and produce 10 different Ultra High Frequency (UHF) to L-band filters per payload as part of NASA-JPL’s Europa Clipper project. This project tested our expertise in designing filters around high-intensity environments and UHFs. In addition, we also performed a thorough Destructive Physical Analysis (DPA) on two units from each production lot to ensure quality and reliability.

We take immense pride in our involvement with the NASA-JPL Europa Clipper Project. Our dedication to precision design, rigorous screening, and thorough quality assurance practices ensures that the UHF to L-band filters meet the project’s stringent requirements. Through our partnership with NASA-JPL, Benchmark Tijuana strives to contribute to the success of this pioneering mission to explore Jupiter’s moon, Europa.

Collaborative Work in Military Applications

Developing next-gen, customized RF filters is a mission-critical process that must be error-free, reliable, and of the highest quality. We see that in the examples of our work in space and commercial aerospace, but it can be especially important in military applications. The Tijuana and Lark teams have deep expertise in developing RF filters and components for the battlefield. During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we played a vital role in manufacturing RF filters for critical systems that protected warfighters from serious threats and helped them come home safely.

Collaborative Work in Communications

Next-gen communications applications — such as base stations in support of 5G network development — require very large volumes of filters. Wireless service providers are adding service in new spectrum bands that may be adjacent to spectrum bands already in use. In these applications, high-quality signal filtering in any kind of weather that meets all requirements is just as essential as price. Lark works with leaders in wireless infrastructure to develop the best possible filters and components for their needs, driving the future of wireless communications.

Benchmark Tijuana — Distinguished Legacy of RF Filter and Component Excellence

Our Tijuana Center of Excellence takes pride in its close-knit family atmosphere, fostering loyalty and long-term commitment among its valued employees. Many members of the management team have been with the facility for over a decade and the average employee tenure stands at an impressive 10 years. The site has become a preferred employer, witnessing second-generation hires who follow in their parents’ footsteps, joining Benchmark Tijuana as engineers or taking on other key roles. With an exceptionally low turnover rate of only 2-3%, our Center of Excellence has nurtured a team with deep expertise and experience in RF filters and components.

Benchmark Tijuana is pleased to share our long history of RF filter and component excellence across a myriad of complex industries. Our experience has allowed us to develop the expertise necessary for the future of next-gen communications and military applications on land, sea, air, and space

To inquire about the products and services offered at Benchmark Tijuana, please visit Benchmark's Tijuana Center of Excellence page for RF Filters and Components. 

Defense RF/Microwave & mmWave Aerospace RF Filters & Components Communications Benchmark Lark Technology

about the author

Ed Hanrahan

Ed brings over 40 years of experience in aerospace & defense designing, developing, manufacturing, and integrating complex solutions for airborn, ground vehicle, soldier, shipboard, and submarine platforms. Ed is the President of Benchmark Secure Technology, leading Santa Ana and Lark - Tijuana business units with P&L responsibility for both locations. Having been with Benchmark since 2005, Ed’s expertise encompasses various facets of the business, including financial analysis, business development, and quality assurance. Under Ed’s leadership, Benchmark Secure Technology has experienced stable growth and innovation in the technology sector.

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