Interview: Vicor Custom Europe

March 31, 2014
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We recently announced the launch of Vicor Custom Europe, allowing European customers to easily access Vicor’s world-class custom design and manufacturing capabilities. To learn more about this new capability in Europe, we interviewed Wojciech Tabisz, general manager of Vicor Custom Europe.

 

Can you briefly explain the services offered by Vicor Custom Europe?

Wojciech TabiszVicor has been developing the capability to provide custom power solutions, using Vicor’s advanced power components as core technology, since 1995, when we established six Vicor Custom Power Centers in the United States. Each center has its own engineering, prototyping, testing and manufacturing resources. In addition, Vicor’s corporate resources are available to support custom products: application engineering, test and qualification facilities and Vicor’s world-class manufacturing facility in Andover, MA. Vicor Custom Europe provides access to these vast resources for our European customers.

 

Why don’t standard [Vicor] products meet the needs of customers?

Many customers buy our off-the-shelf products, so our standard products frequently do meet our customers’ needs. Extending the range of “standard” products is one way to address the needs of specific applications, but we are moving far beyond that. We are challenging the distinction between standard and custom.

We already offer mass customization of many of our products. Vicor Custom takes this process to the next level, where individual power components are integrated into more complex modules and assemblies. One example of this approach is Application Specific Power Modules (ASPMs), where we design and manufacture a single power component containing several other power processing components and auxiliary functions, all tailored to a customer’s exact specifications. Modular power components can be incorporated into more traditional higher-level customized assemblies.

Example of an Application Specific Power Module

Figure 1: Example of an Application Specific Power Module

 

Which industries/markets are most likely to benefit from the opening of Vicor Custom Europe?

Adding the Vicor Custom option in Europe will be most beneficial to customers who need assurance of continued support by the manufacturer of key power components. They need to know that the manufacturer of the power supply will provide long-term manufacturing and technical support. Military applications certainly fall into this category. Other markets include manufacturers of capital industrial equipment and rolling-stock train applications, where many years of product support are required. High-volume users, such as communication equipment manufacturers, will also use the service as they will benefit from very competitive pricing resulting from manufacturing the entire product in one location.

 

Are there any specific requirements for European markets that are not seen in other geographies?

Europe has some specific regulatory requirements related to environmental responsibility, safety and electromagnetic compliance. Due to globalization, however, products designed in the United States must frequently comply with the European norms anyway.

 

Can you give some specific examples of requirements you’ve already received from European customers or products you’ve developed?

Some examples of applications and requirements include:

  • Communication System: 48V Input, 8 outputs, 1500W. Very compact package. Solution will use PRMs, VTMs and QPI filters.
  • Shipboard Equipment: Ruggedized AC/DC Power Supply 28V/45A, MIL-STD-810 humidity and MIL-STD-167 environmental vibrations. Solution based on Maxi modules and FARM front-end modules.
  • Train Power: Input voltage 66-154VDC. Output 24V/500W. Harsh train environmental and EMC requirements. Solution based on Maxi and FIAM input modules.
  • Industrial Laser: Universal AC Input, adjustable 48V output, 800W. Solution based on PFMs and PRMs.
  • Radiation Treatment Equipment: DC/DC Power Cards, 36V or 48V input. 5V, 15V and 24V outputs. Output power 150W per card. Solution based on PRMs and VTMs.

 

How do you think Vicor Custom Europe will change/benefit Vicor in Europe?

I think Vicor Custom Europe will attract major customers and projects requiring a comprehensive Vicor solution: design, qualification, manufacturing, warranty and support all provided by the owner of the core technology the customer wants to use in their system.

 

Can you give me a little background about yourself?

My education includes MSEE from Warsaw Technical University and PhD EE from Virginia Tech, Virginia Power Electronics Center, where I also worked as a Research Scientist after graduation. Later I briefly worked as a Staff Engineer for a custom power supply company the Pacific Northwest. In 1995 I started Northwest Power, Inc., one of Vicor’s custom groups. I was the President there until mid-2013, when I transitioned to leading Vicor Custom Europe. Over the 18 years at Northwest Power I had the opportunity to work with many customers, projects and applications. I am familiar with all aspects of a custom power supply project, from working through specifications, determining feasibility and the best technical solution, preparing proposals and commercial agreements.

 

 

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