CTS Reeves Frequency Products makes high-tech components for the growing communications, computer and testing- equipment industries. Eric C. Peterson reports.
“We are a ‘solutions supplier,’ rather than a straightforward parts supplier.” That’s how Terry Luxmore, a spokesman for CTS Reeves Frequency Products of Sandwich, Ill., describes his company’s approach to doing business. In other words, rather than simply selling its high-tech products, CTS Reeves uses its product offerings to develop solutions for specific customer needs.
The company’s mission statement says, “Superior customer service will differentiate us from the competition,” which is something that most mission statements say at some point. The difference is that CTS Reeves uses a customer support system that includes local representation and links to CTS engineering expertise to enhance technical and administrative support for its customers around the world.
The Core Business
What CTS Reeves does for a living is make and supply quartz-based frequency-control products, including quartz crystals, crystal oscillators, voltage-controlled crystal oscillators (VCXO) temperature-compensated crystal oscillators (TCXO), and oven-controlled crystal oscillators (OCXO) to top OEMs in several markets. The company’s supply channels include electronic distributors and contract manufacturers.
CTS Reeves’ products primarily find their way into three fields. Communications gets the largest share; applications include wireless base stations and switching and transmission equipment.Next is the computer business, for such applications as servers, local area network (LAN) equipment, and modems. Then comes testing and measurement, with primary applications being network and spectrum analyzers.
CTS Reeves dates back to 1942, when it was founded as the James Knight Co., Luxmore relates. It was acquired in 1964 by CTS. The Elkhart, Ind.-based parent is a diversified manufacturer of electronic components and custom assemblies for the computer, automotive and communications industries.
History Of Innovation
The next important date came in 1965, when CTS Reeves started up its first non-U.S. manufacturing operation, locating a plant in Canada. The start-up of manufacturing in Singapore came in 1981, and Scotland became a manufacturing location for the company in 1993. CTS acquired DCA in 1997 and merged the frequency-control operations with Reeves Hoffman.
Today, CTS Reeves is an operation with a total of 350,000 square feet of manufacturing space and more than 800 employees. At its home base of Sandwich, Ill., and in Carlisle, Pa., the company makes precision oscillators and crystals; and the Singapore operation makes clock oscillators, crystals, and VCXO. Near Glasgow, Scotland, meanwhile, the company makes precision oscillators; and in Toronto, Ontario, the major product is crystals.
Tying in with the solution-oriented focus for the company has been vertical integration of its capabilities. That involves combining its product line and advanced engineering strengths with local field support, which enables CTS Reeves to “control the technology and processes and respond to customers’ requirements effectively,” says Luxmore.
Environmental testing is another part of what CTS Reeves does best. In-house testing and quality control capabilities include everything from shock, fine and random vibration, to acceleration, salt spray/fog, thermal shock, altitude, fine and gross leak, and humidity. “All our locations are ISO 9001- or ISO 9002-certified,” Luxmore points out.
CTS Reeves certainly is a company on the grow. Recent capital investments include “new, labor-efficient manufacturing equipment for hybrid microcircuits and surface-mount assembly, high-performance quartz crystal manufacturing equipment, and manufacturing and test equipment for surface-mount oscillators.” Other capital investment has gone for high-frequency test equipment measuring phase noise and output spectrum for broadband telecom components.
Speaking globally, CTS Reeves sends its products around the world. Major customer destinations include Canada, Mexico, U.K., Sweden, Italy, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia and Israel. In terms of new product development, “we generate a stream for our major market segments within each of our product lines,” Luxmore continues. “Today’s new products generally support customer needs in the communications and computer markets.
“The typical new product provides a frequency reference function in a smaller surface-mount package,” he continues. “It generally draws less power, is more cost effective, and operates at a higher frequency.” In other words, the typical CTS Reeves new product is a good existing product made even better.
On The Move
New product applications recently have included wireless base stations, high-speed telecom access equipment, broadband telecom transmission equipment and telecom switching interface equipment.
What’s next? “CTS Corp. recently acquired Motorola’s Component Products Division, the leading edge frequency products business headquartered in Schaumburg, Ill.,” Luxmore says. The new CTS business unit has been renamed CTS Wireless Components, and the combined sales revenue with CTS Reeves Frequency Products makes parent CTS one of the largest frequency technologies companies in the world.
Beyond that, CTS Reeves made some personnel news recently when Douglas Rasmussen was named vice president and general manager, coming from Honey-well Optoelectronics. He’s expected to add a new, exciting chemistry to the mix of talent CTS Reeves has to offer its clients.
As the company’s mission statement says, “CTS Reeves Frequency Products is dedicated to being the worldwide supplier of choice for a broad range of frequency control components and subsystems….total customer satisfaction will be the objective of all employees in our company.