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Cementing a reputation

An extensive product roll out is part of Vicor’s plan to double its brick business. By Graham Pitcher.

Bricks – high power dc/dc converters – have come a long way since their introduction by Vicor some 20 years ago. Not only have they followed their equivalent of Moore’s Law – the latest incarnation is the 1/16th brick measuring 33 x 23mm – but they’ve also seen a burgeoning of grade and mechanical variants.
Despite the fact that it has been in the brick market since its very beginnings, Vicor is not the market leader. One reason for this is the commoditisation of the brick market. Bob Marchetti, senior manager for product marketing with Vicor’s brick division, noted that price competition was one reason, driven particularly by manufacturing in the Far East.
“We make around 8000 different products a year and these are supplied to roughly the same number of customers, who spend on average $25,000 a year with Vicor. With that many customers and products, we can’t manage the pipeline to the Far East.”
But Vicor is embarking on an ambitious plan to turn things around. “We have to be competitive from Massachusetts (Vicor’s manufacturing base),” Marchetti continued.
The plan calls for aggressive growth in brick sales. “We want to double our brick business in four years,” said Marchetti, “and are investing heavily to support this goal.” He claimed that around 15% of company revenues were now being ploughed back into r&d for new products. “We’ve also got a dedicated group of engineering talent in the brick business which is committed to expanding our existing business. It’s not just a commercial plan.”

Graham Pitcher

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