by Ted Lind
The use of crystal control in military communications equipment did not become common until immediately prior to World War II. The armed services were in the process of converting to crystal control when the United States entered the war. In 1940, it was estimated that in the event of war, the armed services might require as many as 100,000 units. This seemed like a fantastic quantity at the time. Crystal units were made in a few small shops where a skilled worker might be able to make as many as 10 units a day. Synthetic quartz did not exist and crystals were fashioned by cutting and grinding natural quartz crystal by hand. The process was a specialized lapidary shop when the stones were cut with diamond saws and shaped by hand into wafers. During the war, however, more than 30 million quartz crystal units were produced through a crash program costing more than 1 billion dollars. This project had a priority second only to the development of the atomic bomb. At the peak of the war, more than 125 factories were engaged in the production of quartz crystal units for the armed forces.
Motorola was producing pressure mounted crystals during the war for the Walkie Talkie. This activity started about 1942. Motorola could not produce resonators quickly enough and daily aircraft flights were used to bring crystals from the Carlisle, Pennsylvania area to Motorola in Chicago. Carlisle was a hot bed of the crystal industry because this is where many of the small companies were started during the war. The crystals produced at that time were carved out of natural quartz stones and fashioned into square plates which were held in a holder between two spring loaded metal plates. Each plate was connected to one of the output pins of the unit. The metal plates served as electrodes and the practice of etching the quartz plate to remove lapping damage had not been developed. I still have the video tape on W.W.II crystal production.
Motorola moves into a modern headquarters and manufacturing facility at 4545 West Augusta Blvd., Chicago. Over the years, the company will draw many of its employees from the surrounding neighborhoods.
Net Sales: $9,936,558. Employees: 985.
Following the outbreak of war, 125,000 unsold auto radios are converted for home use. Motorola is otherwise fully committed to the war effort. The company resumes the manufacture of electronics for civilian use in 1945.
The first portable FM two-way radio, the "walkie-talkie" backpack radio, is designed by Motorola's Dan Noble. It and the Handie-Talkie become vital to battlefield communications throughout Europe and the South Pacific during World War II. In these days wasn’t it common practice to adjust the crystal frequency by removing the crystal from the spring loaded metal plates, giving it 1 and 1/4 turns (always figure eights) on emery paper, cleaning it, and putting the assembly back together.
As the supply of quartz radio crystals diminish, Galvin Manufacturing is asked to organize 50 other crystal manufacturers to deliver more than 35 million radio crystals (one-half of the total amount of quartz radio crystals used during World War II). The company develops an inexpensive piece of equipment that aids in the final polishing of radio crystals. Galvin Manufacturing’s engineers also devise methods to adapt the laboratory process of synthesizing quartz crystals to mass production techniques.
The first vacuum plated crystals were made in a rotary head Constentine plater. The plater consisted of three vacuum chambers that rotated, each holding a crystal to be plated. The plates were still square at that time. Silver plating was used on the crystals to improve the electrical performance of the units.
The first circular crystal plates were manufactured for use in crystal products. The round shape was used to suppress unwanted vibrational modes in the crystals. These modes became known as activity dips. They caused large variation in crystal resistance and frequency when the temperature of the crystal varied.
The first 3 MHz precision contoured polished crystal was manufactured by Components. These crystals were placed in a temperature controlled oven and were used to produce a very precise and stable frequency sources. At the time the crystal group in Components was part of the mobile radio group in the Motorola Communications Division.
Motorola introduces the Motrac, the first two-way mobile radio to have a fully transistorized power supply and receiver. Its low power consumption allows the radio to be used without running the car engine. Although the Motrac radio costs twice as much as previous models, it becomes a runaway best seller.
Components still used diamond saws for cutting natural quartz crystals. The natural quartz was purchased from Brazil for $3.50 to $4.00 per pound. The diamond saws produced 10 blanks \ inch of quartz. That was a .050” diamond saw thickness and a .050” blank thickness. Cultured quartz existed but the quality of the material often varied significantly resulting in various quality problems. A good natural crystal was still considered the best way to make a precise crystal.
The majority of crystals were used in ovens with crystals being cut with upper turning points in the 85 degree C range.
An organization chart (dated August 1, 1962) shows the make up of Mobile Development Engineering at the Augusta plant on that date. Martin Cooper was the Assistant Chief Engineer and he had Burnham Casterline, Ron Chapman, Bob Numamaker, Charles O’Neal, James Lavin and Chester Rutkowski reporting to him. Burn and Ron were MTS (Mobile Telephone Service), Bob was Motrac, Jim Lavan was crystal TOP and Chet Rutkowski was crystal research. The Lavan group grew into the crystal TOP and manufacturing organization. The Rutkowski group grew into the product development organization.
The first monolithic crystals were manufactured by the Component crystal organization in this time frame. (Art A. should be able to provide some insight into the first mono filter - didn’t he work on it in research in this time frame?)
The first clean room was installed. This clean room was a class 100 with vertical air flow. It was installed at the plant located at 4545 W. Augusta Blvd in Chicago. Cliff Rose was one of the engineers who conducted numerous experiments showing the effects of the factory environment on the frequency stability of crystals. This work led to the installation of the clean facility.
Motorola receives a development award from AT&T for a new automatic mobile telephone for a new system called Improved Mobile Telephone Service (IMTS). Motorola's automatic mobile telephone is so reliable that the company is soon supplying nearly 100% of the market.
Component Products started to switch from natural quartz to Cultured (Synthetic) quartz as the material used to build resonators. Synthetic quartz was still unpredictable and often contained visible defects such as inclusions and seed veils.
Another significant change took place with the introduction of slurry saws for cutting quartz. Up to this time most of the cutting was done with circular diamond saws. A double diffraction x- ray system was developed and implemented into production. These developments drove the use of transfer fixturing where the quartz bars were lined up on an x- ray system and then that orientation was maintained on the saw position. The slurry saws provided 80 blanks per inch of quartz material.
Component Products produced the first cold weld crystals. This was a major step since all in the industry were still solder sealing. Cold welding was a major innovation for crystals. The solder seal process required close control of the soldering process to make sure crystals were not contaminated with solder flux or solder. It also required heating the crystal to the melting point of the solder. The Cold welding process used a specially fabricated base and shield that were made of oxygen free copper with a nickel plating. A 30 ton press was used to force flanges on the base and shield into intimate contact, causing a cold flow of the material. This allowed crystals to be sealed into a package without the use of heat or contaminating chemicals.
Produced the first Improved Mobile Telephone Service (IMTS) channel elements. (We built the “two-part” oscillators prior to this time frame. They had the crystal and compensation in one metal package and the oscillator circuitry in another. They plugged together to form a frequency source. They were separate so you could easily change out to crystal for different frequencies.) These channel elements were developed to provide high stability oscillators for this service. The phrase T.T. crystals ( tight tolerance angle of cut) originated with this development.
Containing 22 transistors, the transistorized Pageboy radio pager is supplied to the Bell System under the name of "Bellboy".
Motorola also provides the Bell System with subscriber and system equipment for the growing number of areas that offer mobile radiotelephone service.
The Cool Blue channel element manufactured this year was a 5ppm stability and gold colored element was 2ppm stability oscillator. This was state of the art. What form was the compensation?
A significant study of aging was conducted. Motorola had been having many field failures for radios being off frequency after only 2 to 3 months of use in the field.. It was found the crystals were changing with time. The aging program greatly improved the aging problem and the world class aging characteristic of Component Product crystals was used to attract key customers for mobile telephone business. Innovations developed in this period were the use of all gold plating for electrodes, conveyor oven cure for conductive adhesive systems, and preage conditioning.
There was a reorganization where the Rutkowski group, a group called “Precision Instrument Products” and the existing crystal group were combined. Bob Peth was apparently the person who did this reorganization and also made one of our first attempts to enter the OEM market. The Precision Instrument Group” designed frequency standards and ovenized oscillators and were primarily focused on OEM products. This new group was the beginning of what was formally known as Component Products. At this time Bob Numamaker was the engineering manager of both the Component group and Motrac.
In November of 1969, Component Products purchased the Hunt Crystal Company in Carlisle. This company was in the business of growing cultured quartz and it was acquired to vertically integrate the crystal manufacturing capability and to provide a strategic supply of cultured quartz.. This facility is still owned and produces synthetic quartz for our manufacturing operation. (Joe B. could add to the purchase of Carlisle from the Hunt family and to the early background of quartz crystals in Carlisle.)
A new Clean Room was established in Schaumburg. The clean room was a class 100 and utilized horizontal air flow. The Schaumburg facility quickly grew and soon cut and manufactured crystal blanks and assembled channel elements.
In 1971 Component Products established a manufacturing operation at the Plantation plant in Sunrise, Florida. This was done to better serve the paging and portable internal customer. Both Paging and Portable had moved from the old Augusta Plant to Plantation in the late 60’s. The crystal facility in Florida performed only crystal finishing, they did not cut quartz bars or manufacture blanks. This was still accomplished at the Augusta plant.
Component Products entered the Watch crystal business and essentially established the watch crystal market. At one time Components supplied 65% of the market needs for extensional mode watch crystals.
Component Products begins to manufacture components for battery-powered quartz watches. Between 1971 and 1979, the company gains critical experience in producing and supplying integrated circuits, quartz crystals, and miniature motors to manufacturers like Timex, Benrus,and Bulova.
During 1972 and early 1973 Component Products moved the Augusta Blvd plant to the facility that had contained a 350,000 square foot Color Tube plant in Franklin Park. A new clean room was built at Franklin Park. This clean room was a Vertical air flow ,class 100 clean room with the capability to control humidity to 35% maximum.
Component Products established a facility for crystal manufacturing in Mexico. Discrete I.F. and Watch crystals were fabricated in the facility. Located in Franklin Park in a high security area, Motorola engineers developed “Intrepid”, the first all electronic wrist watch. Only five working models were ever produced before competitive crystal designs lowered the market price for watch crystals from over $3.00 to $.65. Watch crystals operating at 32 kHz eventually achieve prices of $0.08 each as the market consolidates and only two vendors remain.
A custom wire saw developed by Harold Mech for the cutting of large PZT material wafers was adopted for cutting quartz. The saw provided a significant increase in material utilization. It was possible to produce 120 blanks per inch of quartz lumbered bar. This represented a 50% improvement over the previously used slurry saws. The wire saw was named the “Mid-Saw” and was manufactured internally by Component Products. It was originally designed to cut silicon wafers for the semi-conductor division.
Motorola's new international headquarters is located on a 325 acre campus in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Illinois.
Development of precision temperature compensated crystal oscillators continues with the development of the MX and MT channel elements, providing higher frequency of operation to eliminate doubler and tripler stages in portable radio families of the same names. These two product families utilized laser trimmed thick film hybrids to adjust device performance. MX provided the industry’s first active compensation and in 1977 Components integrated the compensation on the industries first custom integrated circuit.
Component Products developed its PhotoQuartz technology for the production of large quantities of AT-Strip crystals on single quartz wafers. Adapting semiconductor processing to the unique requirements on the quartz crystal industry, this technique allowed low cost manufacture of quartz devices in miniature package configurations for the next 21 years.
Under the direction of the research and product development groups in Paging Products Division, the industry’s first crystal resonator and filter operating at VHF frequencies is designed and named “Cequal”. Using an entirely proprietary manufacturing process and after two years of development work by Paging and Component engineers, Cequal filers make Paging first wristwatch pager possible. While not financially successful, the technology provides numerous spin-offs and finds a home in high frequency, multipole filters for portable radio equipment for the next 18 years.
(But the K1100 ceramic hybrid clock oscillator used as the timing device for early computers achieved such world renown as to be commonly called “the Motorola clock oscillator” in the literature. By 1986 production volumes on the K1100 successor , Rasco, achieve weekly production rates of 300,000. By far the most successful product launch up until this time by Component products. Not totally clear about the early days of data clocks)
Manufactured crystal filters in a subcontract facility in the Philippines. Instabilities in the Marcos government and civil unrest result in the shutting down of operations.
Assuming space from Automotive Group in a Taiwan facility managed by SPS, Component products begins manufacture of quartz products in the Far East with the transfer of Rasco clock oscillators to Taiwan. Quartz crystal and oscillator product families designed for internal Motorola consumption are then marketed to OEM customers marking the divisions second entry into the merchant market of quartz devices.
Component Products moved operations into 87,000 square feet of the LMPS building (IL02) in Schaumburg and constructs a 29,000 square foot clean room. This was also the year Components spun off the Data Clock OEM business to a group of Motorola Employees who started Champion Technologies which remained in the Franklin Park Facility. During the fourth quarter of 1988, Component launches its Pendulum family of temperature compensated crystal oscillators featuring its proprietary digital integrated circuitry - another industry first. Pendulum eventually ships over 40 million units and becomes the most profitable product in Components history.
After four years of restructuring and aggressive market share increases, Components again achieves financial profitability.
Component Products re-enters the O.E.M. market for the third time. This is a year of chaotic growth. Cellular telephone sales are driving both our crystal and oscillator businesses. Component Products opens a new facility in Tianjin, China to produce crystal products.
Component Products opened a new facility in Swords, Ireland (a suburb of Dublin) and which was operational in April of 1995. The operation was short lived and operations ceased in January 1996. The facility was in a building CPD purchased from Amdahl, literally across the street from the Motorola Paging operation. It was shared with Energy products which was also part of the Automotive Group or AECCS. The building was later sold .
Still driven by the growth of wireless communications equipment, Quartz Products Division passes two major milestones with the shipment of its 300 millionth quartz crystal and its 55 millionth temperature compensated crystal oscillator.
Component Products becomes the Component Products Group headed by Jerry Brunning. The Internal Quartz operation becomes the Quartz Products Division (General Manager Jeff Boehler) and the Ceramics Operation becomes the Ceramic Products Division (General Manager Doug Bosomworth).
Oscillator production started in Tianjin, China in January 1997.
In September 1998, Motorola signed a Memorandum of Understanding with CTS Inc. agreeing to proceed toward the sale of the Component Products Division to CTS Inc. The blank manufacturing operation in San Jose, Costa Rica is to be shut down by the end of this year. The Carlisle operation is to be shut down in the first quarter of 1999. The remainder of the division will transfer to CTS Inc.
On February 26, 1999 the Component Products Group became CTS Wireless Components.
If you have information you would like to contribute to this page please send it to me or contact me. I am always looking for information to fill in the gaps in this history. Any corrections or expansions would also be appreciated.
Some of this information used to be carried on the Motorola Timelines web pages. It has been since removed as the big M rewrites history. The purpose of this page is to preserve a part of that history which played a large part in our lives.
Copyright © 2001 thru 2013 by Theodore Lind