R&S forays into oscilloscope market

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By EB Bureau

With the launch of two new range of oscilloscopes in Munich, Rohde & Schwarz (R&S) enters the oscilloscope segment—a move that is likely to impact the dynamics of this market, significantly. 

While through an acquisition (of Hameg Instruments), R&S was already catering to the lower end segment of oscilloscopes, but with the launch of the two new lines, the company has made a huge impact on the entire spectrum of test and measurement(T&M) products.

“Our customers expect us to offer a complete line of products, and that includes oscilloscopes,” says Michael Vohrer, president and CEO, R&S. “To meet this demand, we are introducing a total of six new products, of which we are extremely proud,” he adds.

The ambition is clear—R&S wants to become the number three player in this product segment, where the current leading brands are names like Tektronix, Agilent, LeCroy, Yokogawa and many others.

Intent behind the move

The oscilloscope market has been stable for decades and is continuously growing. It makes one wonder why R&S took this plunge into the fiercely competitive market? “Oscilloscopes are needed throughout the electronics industry,” explains Vohrer. “We are looking at a global market volume of around $ 1billion. This is why R&S is focussing strategically—not just on its existing customer base in areas such as wireless communications or aerospace and defence, but also on new customers, particularly those in the wide base electronics market,” he adds.

The German planning and strategic thinking seems evident behind this announcement. The segmentation of the T&M market is well planned. With the two new lines of R&S oscilloscopes, and a line of oscilloscopes available under the (acquired) HAGEM brand, R&S will now cater to three different segments—bandwidth between 1 GHz and 2 GHz through the RTO family; bandwidth up to 500 MHz through the RTM family; and bandwidth lower than 500 MHz through the Hameg family of products.

R&S claims that its oscilloscopes have the highest active signal acquisition rate in the market today; the first purely digital trigger system; and also have touch screen operation for ease of use.

Targeting areas like schools and hobbyist labs, R&S RTO family, comprising oscilloscopes with bandwidths of 1 GHz and 2 GHz, is aimed at high performance segments. “Our focus is on high speed and optimum signal fidelity—two hugely important factors in real life applications,” explains Josef Wolf, director of the oscilloscopes subdivision. “These characteristics, combined with our ground breaking touch screen interface, enables users to accomplish even complex T&M tasks in a  minimum of time,” he adds.

The R&S RTM family is intended for universal applications wherever electrical signals need to be measured. “In research, in schools or in hobbyist labs—everyone needs oscilloscopes,” says Wolf. This is why R&S is offering oscilloscope with solid features at an outstanding price/performance ratio in the mid range segment up to 500 MHz.

When it comes to more basic oscilloscopes for bandwidths up to 350 MHz, R&S subsidiary, Hameg Instruments, is an established vendor with more than 20 years of experience in the field of budget oscilloscopes and measuring equipment, and covers the needs of this market.

R&S acquired Hameg in 2005 with the aim of targeting new customers in the lower price segment. In early 2008, Hameg successfully expanded its product portfolio, introducing digital oscilloscopes in the frequency range up to 350 MHz.

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