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Cable, antenna and cellular innovators
By 1959, ATB had formed a relationship with American cable producer, Phelps Dodge, which had purchased the Communication Product Company (CPC) three years earlier. Founded by one of Guglielmo Marconi’s students, CPC builds flat antennas for use in defense equipment.
By 1955, the company produced high-gain base station antennas. During this period, CPC also began partnering with the prestigious Bell Labs to develop early cellular technology.
Meanwhile, the Hackethal Wire Company had developed a very substantial portfolio of patents and a strong reputation as an innovative and visionary player in the cable industry. Many of the Hackethal Wire Company’s inventions are still proudly used by RFS today:
- • 1951: The world’s first radio frequency (RF) power cable with a corrugated steel outer conductor.
- • 1957: The FLEXWELL® air dielectric cable, sold today under the RFS HELIFLEX® brand.
- • 1961: The FLEXWELL elliptical waveguide, the world’s first corrugated elliptical waveguide
- • 1962: CELLFLEX®, the world’s first corrugated seam-welded foam dielectric cable.
By 1966, Hackethal had become Kabelmetal. And, in 1972, Kabelmetal produced the world’s first smooth wall radiating coaxial cable, today’s RFS RADIAFLEX® product line.
The innovators unite as RFS
In 1983, France-based Alcatel combined Kabelmetal, its U.S.-based subsidiary, Cablewave Systems, and the former CPC — now called Celwave R.F. — under the RFS Group banner. In 1999, the RFS Group became a separate company called Radio Frequency Systems with Alcatel (the future Alcatel-Lucent) as its parent company. Celwave and Cablewave became RFS USA, headquartered in Meriden, Connecticut.
RFS first organized its activities by product line, but, in 2009, reorganized around 4 business units:
- • Wireless Infrastructure Solutions: Base station antennas and RF conditioning products
- • RF Transmission & Distribution Solutions: Transmission lines and wireless indoor solutions
- • Radio Link Networks: Microwave antennas
- • Broadcast & Defense Systems: TV, radio, high frequency and defense products
Today, RFS is a truly global company with:
- • 8 manufacturing facilities: USA, Brazil, France, Germany, United Kingdom, China, Australia and India
- • 5 R&D centers: USA, France, Germany, China and Australia
- • More than 30 sales offices and technical support centers in more than 20 countries
Louis Hackethal’s wire insulation technique is patented.
The Spirit of St. Louis takes off with an American Tube Bending (ATB) company engine manifold
The Communication Product Company (CPC) builds flat antennas for use in defense equipment
1st RF power cable with a corrugated steel outer conductor
CPC begins building high-gain base station antennas
CPC begins working with Bell Labs on early cellular technology
FLEXWELL air dielectric cables are developed (HELIFLEX today)
1st corrugated elliptical waveguide (FLEXWELL)
1st corrugated seam-welded coaxial cable (CELLFLEX)
1st smooth wall radiating coaxial cable (RADIAFLEX)
1st coaxial cable featuring an aluminum outer conductor (CELLFLEX LITE)
1st hybrid feeder cabling solution for remote radio heads (HYBRIFLEX)