In relation to COVID19, what was the biggest hurdle your organisation overcame?
The biggest challenge we faced was the safety of our staff. Laboratory activities continued with essential staff, and to ensure their safety we introduced strict social distancing measures and shift working , disinfection protocols, and provided personal protection equipment. Power Integrations is an information technology business, so fortunately many of our people are able to work from home. Anyone who can work from home does work from home, and we have facilitated that by giving them the necessary tools to ensure minimal disruption to their workflow. Having said that, we are looking forward to all being back in the office and able to interact with each other.
How did your organisation avoid supply chain disruptions during the pandemic?
Power Integrations has always planned ahead, so we were in a good position when COVID hit. We hold large inventories of stock and maintain a geographically diversified supply chain. Therefore as the rolling quarantine period cycled through we were able to manage short-term production disruptions. We now see a ramp-up happening, especially in Asia and in sectors we address such as Automotive, brushless dc motors and fast chargers.
Do you believe employees working from home is sustainable and will be the future of the workplace?
Some employees, such as laboratory staff and others that use specialized test equipment have real challenges working remotely. As mentioned in answer to Question 1, we have taken all necessary precautions for safety in our buildings. In some territories we have arranged private ground transportation to avoid exposure on buses and subways during their commute. The rest of the team has proven that they can work very effectively from home, however, we believe that the creative chemistry is impacted by the absence of casual interactions between team members. Therefore, as the vaccine rolls out and we begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, there is a real desire amongst management and employees to return to some kind of normal, where the benefits of collaborating and team working in an office environment can be re-discovered. In certain locations this is already happening.
Due to the pandemic, is it in Power Integrations’ interest for machinery to take over specific jobs that cannot be conducted on a WFH basis?
There are very many reasons that automation is increasing. This is a trend that has been ongoing for centuries since the Industrial Revolution (or as we might now call it, Industry 1.0). The latest example of this is the Industrial IoT (IIoT), or Industry 4.0. Reviewing practices to optimize the business is something we constantly do – the pandemic has just added extra urgency. At Power Integrations we employ the most effective, efficient and robust working practices and technologies, including a mix of centralised, local and remote-location activities.
What can we expect from your organisation within the next quarter?
Power Integrations will continue to monitor the pandemic closely and adjust our operations accordingly. We operate in the power semiconductors field and our key markets are chargers for mobile devices, appliances, motors, lighting, and increasingly automotive. Throughout the next quarter we will introduce new products that address these sectors.
GaN is very important at the moment and several of our latest devices – InnoSwitch3™ flyback power supply ICs for chargers; LytSwitch LED driver ICs and MinE-CAP™ ICs that reduce the size of electrolytic capacitors required by power supplies – are based on our POWIGaN™ GaN technology. Simply put, GaN is a better switch, so you can expect more developments from Power Integrations in the near future.
Power Integrations is participating in the rapid increase in the use of brushless DC (BLDC) motors with our BridgeSwitch™ motor driver ICs. We’re making very impressive improvements in inverter efficiency in three-phase applications, and meaningful system cost reduction using new single-phase motor drivers. Brushless motors contribute high efficiency, high-power density, good speed-torque characteristics, simple speed control and low acoustic noise, and are an excellent contributor to a high score for appliances targeting the new EU energy efficiency labelling scheme.
In Automotive as the EV market continues to ramp up, we are introducing new automotive-qualified power solutions such as our Innoswitch3™-AQ flyback Power supply ICs and SCALE2™ SiC and IGBT gate drivers on a regular basis to meet the demand for efficient, safe and reliable systems.
Doug Bailey VP marketing, Power Integrations