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Vicor aims power converters at Indian telecoms, industrial markets

Posted: 12 Apr 2016     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:point-of-load  DC-DC converter  VIA PFM  HVDC 

Last year, Vicor Corp., the modular power component and power system vendor, saw its India business nearly double. With that growth has come a small expansion in the north. Vicor's VP for International Sales Andrew J. Gales was recently travelling through India, when I caught up with him over the phone and asked him about the Indian business and Vicor's technology.

The company offers products that are suitable for aerospace and defence, enterprise, industrial equipment and automation, telecommunications and network infrastructure, and vehicles and transportation markets. "Vicor has been in India as a supplier to the defence industry," said Gales. "That is still a strong space for us as a reason for the investment but we are trying to make a statement that we are equally viable in other markets as well, for instance the telecommunications industry and particularly the industrial area. Worldwide, the industrial market is our biggest market. We believe there is a big industrial market in Mumbai and Pune."

"Our business in India almost doubled last year," added Gales. "We are in double-digit growth and we expect that to continue in the future. We are now putting investment to maintain the growth and to tap into the market that we believe is here. We are coming from a position of a small market share and we see big opportunities here."

Vicor now has five application engineers, two in Delhi and three in Bengaluru, and serves the west—Mumbai and Pune—from Delhi. "Although we market products that plug and play, the reality is that they [the customers] do need some help," explained Gales. "So we now have a team of five engineers here now and a sales force as well."

Andrew Gales

Gales: We are in double-digit growth [in India] and we expect that to continue in the future.

There's been a lot of noise in the past about an education-employability gap in India, some of it contributed in the form of features by your truly (such as here). Yet, Gales seemed to have an easier time: "Finding good engineers is difficult anywhere but it wasn't as difficult as in some other territories." He said the education system is good and that finding good engineers is more difficult in Europe because not many people are choosing engineering as a career. In India, on the other hand, he believes engineering is still regarded as a strong profession.

Vicor's design methodology

Vicor has been marketing its Power Component Design Methodology for some time. The company says it is an approach that partitions the power system into several separate components, each optimised to perform a specific role. These power components seamlessly connect to other components in the power chain, easing the design and development of complex systems, while retaining flexibility. While that in itself may not sound like much, what Vicor has done is to apply that from AC to point-of-load (PoL) enabled by the VIA PFM.

Vicor claims its VIA package does the same job for which competing products require twice the width and three times the height. "We have the base chip products that are the workhorse of the power supply, the heart of the DC-DC converter," Gales. "Of course, around that you need some EMI filtering, control electronics or other features like enabling, disabling or sensing. That's not needed in every application but it's often a requirement when you want to quickly put together a solution for a low-volume application. The VIA package helps you do that: it integrates the filtering and all the other electronics with the heart of the product, the DC-DC converter itself. So inside that package is essentially a complete solution. It's like a black box. You don't have to worry about filtering, you don't have to worry about transient suppression and there's a pin there for you to control it [control interface]. It also has some thermal benefits. It makes the system more power dense as well and it makes it easy to conduct the heat away."

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