Phil Davies Describes the Priorities for 2018

March 29, 2018
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Phil Davies VicorAt the start of the year, Phil Davies, Corporate VP for Global Sales and Marketing, took some time out from his busy schedule to talk with a Korean journalist about the priorities for Vicor in 2018. This blog post is a translation of the key points from that interview, giving insight into the priorities for the industry and for Vicor.

To put things into perspective, how successful was 2017 for Vicor?

2017 was a very good year for Vicor! Orders on the company continued to increase every quarter as they have done since Q3 of 2015. We also continued to introduce new products at a rapid rate. Since Q3 of 2015 we have introduced over 150 new DC-DC Converter Modules (DCMs) in our ChiP packaging technology, as well as several new power components in our Cool-Power point of load regulator family.

These new products are enabling customers to develop their power systems using an approach that we call the Power Component Design Methodology. Instead of designing power systems from the ground up using controllers and discrete power devices Vicor offers engineers power components that can be seamlessly connected to make an entire power system chain, from the input source (AC or DC) to the point of load. Because there are so many power components in our library of modular solutions with different input and output voltages, power levels, isolated or non-isolated, regulated or non-regulated modules, we offer an on-line tool called the Power System Designer (PSD) that engineers can use to design a complete power system in under 3 minutes. If you’ve never used it, please try it; you will be amazed at how easy it is, even for someone with no power engineering skills.

We promoted this new methodology and tool set over the last couple of years, and I am really pleased with the number of existing customers and many new customers who are now moving to this approach because of the advantages of using proven building blocks, rapid design time and the ease with which changes in specifications (that often happen in power system design) can be accommodated. Our goals for 2018 are to continue to promote and explain the advantages of a modular based design for power systems to customers and to continue to increase the adoption rate of the Power Component Design Methodology year-on-year as we have done in 2016 and 2017.

The IT industry has seen a lot of innovation to improve power distribution. How will Vicor contribute to this industry in 2018?

The IT industry continues to move at a very advanced rate. Performance, new applications such as artificial intelligence, equipment cost, equipment size and power efficiency are all being pushed very hard. The good news for Vicor is that our value proposition of density, efficiency and flexibility of our power components is getting attention from the leaders in the IT industry, because we can help solve their very tough power system challenges. Ten years ago, Vicor helped IBM develop a very advanced high-performance computer by offering the industry’s first 48V direct to processor power solution.  Converting directly from 48V to the 1V needed for the CPU, with high efficiency and density, is not easy, but Vicor has unique power converter engines and architectures that enable this. We call the architecture that we invented for 48V-direct-to-PoL “Factorized Power” and this invention from almost 10 years ago is enabling significant new opportunities for Vicor today in systems such as Artificial Intelligence, 5G infrastructure and high-power compute.

A great example would be servers. Server rack power in data centers has accelerated over the past three years from 5kW to over 20kW, as cloud computing applications have adopted these higher power CPUs and GPUs to enable new applications for customers.  Google was the first big data center company to adopt 48V rack distribution and have since joined the Open Compute community, offering a 48V rack design to help other data center companies make the move to 48V. Vicor is now working with a number of these companies with Factorized Power solutions and we see this trend increasing rapidly.

What is your vision for 2018?

Our major strategies are to continue to enhance our power component library with new modules that offer better density, efficiency and overall performance. We believe that the Power Component Design Methodology has major advantages over discrete power system design and see broad market adoption of this innovative approach.

We will also continue to advance our Factorized Power solutions to meet cost and performance needs in data centers and super computers. Our next generation of Factorized Power, Power-on-Package, is already getting great success in the market with ASICs and GPUs that require 400 Amps to 1000 Amps of current. Without Power-on-Package technology, their performance objectives could not be met, and we expect major announcements in 2018 with new partners that are using Power-on-Package.

Where will Vicor Focus in 2018?

Our product focus will continue to be power converter and regulator components for DC to DC and AC to DC power systems. Vicor is a power only company and we have no plans to change that.

In 2018, we will be addressing a wide range of markets with our Power Component Design Methodology, Factorized Power Architecture and Power-on-Package, including Super Computers, Cloud Computing, 5G, AI, Electric and Self-Driving Vehicles, as well as broad applications in Industrial and Defense/Aerospace. The customers that we have the most success with are those who need high performance, density and efficiency for their power systems.

I would ask power designers to engage with Vicor on your next generation systems and challenge us to provide solutions that enable you to stay ahead in the market. I would also like to say thank you to our existing customers who already recognize the advantages of working with Vicor.

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