"You have a wide range of engineers in In­dia"

Electronics Bazaar - - Front Page -

In­dian engineers are in­ter­ested in un­der­stand­ing the lat­est tech­nolo­gies avail­able to help them de­sign so­lu­tions more quickly.

Com­pa­nies like Vi­cor have found that the engi­neer­ing tal­ent pool in In­dia is vast and di­verse, as op­posed to the West where the power engi­neer­ing pool is age­ing, since new tal­ent is opt­ing for the dig­i­tal engi­neer­ing or soft­ware spa­ces. For power sup­plies in par­tic­u­lar, In­dia’s dy­namic tal­ent has de­vel­oped lo­cal so­lu­tions, mov­ing on from the days when prod­ucts were merely im­ported from the West. In or­der to un­der­stand this mar­ket’s re­quire­ments bet­ter, Rahul Cho­pra and Sneha Am­bastha from Elec­tron­ics Bazaar spoke to Andy Gales, VP, Vi­cor—a global vet­eran of power elec­tron­ics. Here are some ex­cerpts… EB: Are there any new trends that you have seen in In­dia?

In­dian engineers are very knowl­edge­able about power. They are also very broad minded and they re­act quickly if they see an ad­van­tage in do­ing things a dif­fer­ent way. It some­times takes a bit longer in other coun­tries to see the adop­tion of new ideas. We en­joy work­ing with In­dian engineers, to help them op­ti­mise their so­lu­tions. I have been work­ing in the In­dian mar­ket for sev­eral years and find the engineers here in­ter­ested in un­der­stand­ing the lat­est tech­nolo­gies avail­able to help them de­sign so­lu­tions more quickly.

EB: What scope does your busi­ness have in the In­dian de­fence elec­tron­ics space?

The busi­ness has been grow­ing for many years. We started out in In­dia in the de­fence mar­ket be­cause our prod­ucts are par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive for engineers who de­velop chal­leng­ing ap­pli­ca­tions, where per­for­mance is key. To­day we are also talk­ing to cus­tomers in the com­mu­ni­ca­tions, in­dus­trial and au­to­mo­tive mar­kets, all with a de­mand for high per­for­mance.

EB: Are there any par­tic­u­lar de­fence ap­pli­ca­tions for which your prod­ucts are ideal?

Over the last 30 years, our prod­ucts have been used in a wide va­ri­ety of de­fence ap­pli­ca­tions, from the tra­di­tional to the lat­est prod­ucts en­abled by the plethora of new tech­nolo­gies avail­able. And what’s re­ally ex­cit­ing is that our prod­ucts are help­ing com­pa­nies to de­velop them. For ex­am­ple, one rel­a­tively new ap­pli­ca­tion is UAVs (un­manned ae­rial ve­hi­cles), where our new high-power, lowweight and small-sized prod­ucts are crit­i­cal to suc­cess. The unique ca­pa­bil­i­ties of our prod­ucts are also en­abling ad­vances in other air­borne ap­pli­ca­tions like radars, as well as in ground ve­hi­cle and naval ap­pli­ca­tions. In the lat­ter two cases, our prod­ucts are used in sur­veil­lance, mon­i­tor­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tions or in com­mand and con­trol sys­tems. In short, we power a broad ar­ray of de­fence ap­pli­ca­tions.

EB: How does the In­dian mar­ket com­pare with the Chi­nese mar­ket?

China is an im­por­tant mar­ket for Vi­cor, and there are some sim­i­lar­i­ties. In terms of mar­ket size, In­dia’s is prob­a­bly one-tenth that of China. But the In­dian mar­ket is grow­ing faster.

EB: Have you ever en­coun­tered the prob­lem of coun­ter­feit com­po­nents in In­dia?

Yes, we have had some ex­pe­ri­ence of coun­ter­feit­ing. The safest thing

to do is to buy the prod­ucts from a re­puted dealer.

EB: What were the pri­mary find­ings of your re­cent sur­vey?

We were sur­prised by the re­sults of our sur­vey. We ex­pected that meet­ing cost tar­gets would be the big­gest chal­lenge. But we found that adapt­ing to chang­ing spec­i­fi­ca­tions dur­ing de­vel­op­ment was the big­gest is­sue. Change is dif­fi­cult to man­age. The goal­posts are con­stantly shift­ing dur­ing the de­vel­op­ment process.

At the start of a project, an en­gi­neer is given a spec­i­fi­ca­tion to meet. But spec­i­fi­ca­tions change, which is like mov­ing the goal­posts. Fur­ther into the de­vel­op­ment cy­cle, the engi­neer­ing team may be asked to change the pro­ces­sor rail from one volt­age to an­other, or widen the in­put volt­age to al­low op­er­a­tion un­der un­fore­seen cir­cum­stances.

EB: Does Vi­cor han­dle this chal­lenge bet­ter than other ven­dors?

Yes, it does, be­cause Vi­cor has a vast prod­uct port­fo­lio cov­er­ing a wide range of re­quire­ments and pro­vid­ing a good deal of built-in flex­i­bil­ity. What this means is that if the spec­i­fi­ca­tion changes

We ex­pected that meet­ing cost tar­gets would be the big­gest chal­lenge. But we found that adapt­ing to chang­ing spec­i­fi­ca­tions dur­ing de­vel­op­ment was the big­gest is­sue.

dur­ing the de­vel­op­ment cy­cle, it is of­ten pos­si­ble to re­place one power com­po­nent with an­other to align with this change. This of­ten means that you do not need to re­design a trans­former or a cir­cuit board. You sim­ply swap one part for an­other with mod­u­lar power com­po­nent so­lu­tions; it is very easy to change the so­lu­tion to meet the re­quire­ments of the mar­ket.

EB: The sur­vey also in­di­cated that there is a short­age of ex­pe­ri­enced engineers or re­sources in power elec­tron­ics. What’s your take on that?

In the West, the pop­u­la­tion of power sup­ply engineers is age­ing. This is not as much a prob­lem in In­dia as it is in the US and Europe. To­day, ana­logue engineers are be­com­ing a scarce re­source; more peo­ple want to be­come dig­i­tal engineers or are fo­cus­ing on soft­ware de­vel­op­ment.

EB: Does this mean that there is an op­por­tu­nity for In­dian com­pa­nies to be­come global play­ers?

I think it’s al­ready hap­pen­ing and ‘Make in In­dia’ is the pri­mary ex­am­ple. You have a wide range of engineers in In­dia. Pre­vi­ously, coun­tries like In­dia used to pro­cure power sup­plies from the US and Europe. How­ever, now they have started de­sign­ing so­lu­tions here them­selves.

Andy GAles, VP, Vi­cor

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