The partnership between two global innovators has enabled Eltek and Virinco to demonstrate that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
In this blog Mads Dahl, COO of Virinco, explains the special relationship between the two organisations. He is well placed to provide an insider’s insight, having spent 22 years with Eltek, and the last two years as VP of Industrialisation R&D. Mads has joined forces with Stig-Gunnar Jensen, R&D Test Development Manager, Eltek to explain the success of the two interdependent innovative global organisations.
From Drammen To Dallas
Eltek is an important customer for Virinco Technology with an enduring partnership including global support for test development, strategic positioning, and growth of Eltek’s business into new sectors. The two Norwegian companies have a shared history and have both become worldwide leaders in their respective markets.
Eltek is recognised as the global power specialist that develops, manufactures, sells, and distributes cutting-edge power solutions and services; while Virinco is acknowledged as an international engineering consultancy delivering manufacturing-focused PLM (product lifecycle management) advisory and solutions.
The backstory is essential to understand where Eltek comes from, and more importantly, where it’s headed. Established in 1971, in Drammen, near Oslo, Norway, the company’s first line of business was power supplies for telecom in the harsh Nordic climate.
A global company, Eltek employs 2,000 power specialists. Though headquartered in Norway, the company operates from regional bases in Dallas and Singapore and from across 40 offices worldwide – serving more than 100 countries.
Eltek invented HE (high efficiency) power conversion, along with several other breakthroughs. Initially focused on the telecommunications sector, the company has diversified into other power-reliant markets including Data Centers, Power Utilities, Railway & Metro, Marine & Offshore, and Rural Electrification.
Providing Strategic Insight And Resources
Virinco’s original in-house test data system – known as WATS – was developed in cooperation with Eltek in 2003 to provide a real-time view worldwide of all current running tests and their results.
WATS was later productized by Virinco and just 10 years after expanding to the cloud. WATS has grown to become a key global platform for companies that need to quickly make informed decisions with a global overview of all manufacturing test and repair data in a single portal.
But that’s just part of the story. Virinco has developed its consultancy and support services across a broad range of industries, leveraging its expertise developed over 20 years of designing electronics and software.
Both companies describe their relationship as symbiotic, namely two organisations deriving mutual benefits from their relationship. Their proximity is not just in terms of geography, but also the mindset and shared understanding of the need for evidence-based technology to improve processes, optimise efficiency and ultimately safeguard product quality.
So, how does Virinco add value to Eltek’s global operations? We’ve synthesised the key ingredients into five core elements:
- Innovation: Virinco are good at solving a variety of test development problems because they have a track record and have worked with customers globally across a range of sectors for Eltek. For example, they’ve developed test platform solutions and helped with New Product Introductions for more than 100 products – in China, Brazil and Thailand.
- Brainpower: Virinco also brings new expertise that the Eltek team can plug into. This helps them expand their capabilities in the challenging area of test development.
- Extra hands: Virinco helps to take the load, adding resources and extra capacity at times where projects may accumulate and stretch Eltek’s in-house test and R&D technical expertise.
- Strategic: To help Eltek futureproof their operations, Virinco supports through automation and developing systems for enhanced quality – while providing strategic expertise.
- Experience: As an external resource with experience of numerous customer assignments, Virinco ensures, through Eltek-defined processes and technical reviews, that each solution is as planned and executed as expected.
Partly due to the unique relationship, and the fact that Eltek was the genesis for the WATS system, both companies have a thorough grounding in both WATS and associated advanced test systems.
Virinco also has a wide knowledge of electronics design and uses this to make smart and effective solutions for testing and is a trusted partner not only for implementation but a sounding board to help establish what solutions are the best fit.
Virinco’s test protocol competencies include: PCB (printed circuit board) testing, burn-in, and MTS test station machines. The combinations of machines, processes, tests and the need for real-time monitoring can all become not just complex but require significant resources.
An important point to remember is that testing can take up precious resources with some test engineers spending much of their working day fulfilling these critical functions. The Virinco team is able to field these tasks and free up Eltek’s engineers to focus on developing the customer solution.
When You Build A Global Organisation You Need Partners You Can Trust.
This is a crucial area of the pre-production phase. Eltek is able to use WATS to adjust test sequence or product and to increase first-pass yield. The test development team needs to ensure that yield from specific test stages is more than 97% before handing it over to the test engineering department.
This is typically the tipping point where production can be ramped up with the early phase testing transferred from Virinco to the automated processes in WATS.
The enduring relationship between Eltek and Virinco points the way to successful industrial partnerships, where either party not just respects the expertise of the other, but can experience measurable value at every stage.