Western Sweden is a leading European node for microwave technology. This holds true when measured on the turn-over of the microwave industry as well as the level of research performed. It all started more than sixty years ago when the Chalmers University of Technology initiated research in radio astronomy, calling for development of low-noise receivers.
In the late 1950's, Ericsson's development and production plant for defense radars was set up. The present largest regional microwave employers are Saab and Ericsson. Saab is developing and delivering state of art radar systems for defense and security applications. Ericsson has research and development of cellular radio base stations and microwave radio links. The radio links produced at the Ericsson plant in Borås supply some 20% of the global market. Ruag Aerospace Sweden is the largest space company in Sweden where microwave technology is one key part of the high-tech equipment being produced. Rosemount Tank Radar has a leading product portfolio on tank radar gauging for example in marine applications. Arkivator is a large producer of antennas and telecom component.
Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg is internationally recognized for research on microwave technology, antennas and communication systems. Chalmers hosts several centre of excellence with participating companies such as GigaHertz Centre and CHASE.
Industrial research institutes such as SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, Swedish ICT Acreo and Swerea IVF are based in the region.
Entrepreneurship is strong in the region and support many small enterprises and growing start-ups in the microwave business such as microwave sensor systems for space (Omnisys Instruments), microwave detection of foreign bodies in food (Foodradar Systems), medical microwave imaging (Medfield diagnostics, antenna test systems (Bluetest), new waveguide technologies (Gapwaves), front-end solutions for THz (Wasa MilliMeter Wave) and signal processing for communication systems (Qamcom).
Based on the triple-helix idea – cooperation between industry, academia and society - Microwave Road was established in 2003. In the beginning Microwave Road was more of a regional idea where highway 40 (Riksväg 40) played an important symbolic value as it connects some of the biggest microwave players in the region. This is also the background for the name.
Microwave Road is a non-profitable organization which is financed by membership fees and run by an elected board. The focus has developed into a national network oriented organization – a national cluster - focusing on competence, technology and market development - uniting industry, universities, research institutes as well as public authorities.