Interview: Danfoss Silicon Power Establishes Manufacturing in Utica, New York

Claus A. Petersen, General Manager and VP at Danfoss Silicon Power

Claus A. Petersen

In March 2017 Danfoss Silicon Power announced that the company is establishing a second production site in Utica, New York State in the USA.

We have asked Claus A. Petersen, General Manager and VP of Danfoss Silicon Power a few questions about the new set up.

It was announced in March 2017 that Danfoss Power is establishing production in the US. When can we expect that the production is fully up and running?

The partnership between Danfoss Silicon Power and the New York State was announced in March, that was also the launch for the procurement process of equipment. We expect the first equipment to arrive in Utica in the fall of 2017, and should initiate the first production in the beginning of 2018. By the end of Q1 2018, we expect to be fully up and running to serve our customers with fully qualified modules out of the Utica facility”

In the announcement, General Electric (GE) was also mentioned as a partner in the NY-PEMC (New York Power Electronics Manufacturing Consortium), what role does GE play in the Danfoss manufacturing set up?

Yes, GE is part of the PEMC set up and will also occupy a small part of the new facility. GE is part of the consortium due to their production of SiC semiconductors, which they are producing in a similar set up to Utica in Albany, New York. One aspect of the establishment in Utica will be to produce modules specifically for GE based on their own SiC semiconductors. However, the facility is a pure Danfoss Silicon Power setup; based on the same successful customized business model currently running in Flensburg. We continue to remain 100% chip independent, an important part of our differentiation. The close cooperation with our strategic semiconductor partners allows us to offer the best suitable, customized solutions to our broad range of applications and customers.

Silicon Carbide (SiC) was also mentioned in the announcement as one of the primary reasons to set up the facility in Utica. How do you see the development of Silicon Carbide (SiC)?

No doubt that SiC is here now. Just a few years ago, we were all arguing when we would see the impact of the technology in power semiconductors. In high voltage, SiC is already in use in different applications, such as Solar and Battery Storage. The benefits of SiC is to be fully utilized when the benefits are calculated at system level. Being able to utilize the characteristics of SiC, such as high switching frequencies and low losses, the right packaging technologies needs to be applied. Danfoss Silicon Power has the right technologies, such as DBB®, Cu-wirebonds, sintering, molding and ShowerPower® applied in its advanced power module solutions. Going forward also lower voltage applications will start benefitting by using SiC and we will most certainly also see SiC applied in high end automotive applications.

Why has Danfoss Silicon Power chosen the first step for a global foot print to be in the US?

The strategy for Danfoss Silicon Power has long been to establish ourselves in the US. The timing now has been decided by the opportunity given by the New York State. We are growing heavily and starting a new facility in the US to also better accommodate our US customer base seems to be the right strategic step. This might, however, be followed by other expansions in the near future. Our near-term focus will be to bring Utica up to full production capacity, producing highest quality power modules for our existing and new US customers.

About Claus A. Petersen, VP and General Manager and Danfoss Silicon Power

Claus A. Petersen has been responsible for the Danfoss Silicon Power business since 1998, where he has successfully grown the business to be a top 3 supplier of Power Modules in Europe. Danfoss Silicon Power employs approximately 450 employees and is expecting to employ about 100 new colleagues in Utica in the next 2-3 years.

Claus A. Petersen, has been part of the Danfoss Group since 1984, working in several areas of the business, however, the latter 20+ years in the Power Electronics business.

Danfoss Silicon Power develops and manufactures customized power modules and power stacks to industrial applications; such as motor drives, welding and medical equipment, renewables; solar and wind and into the automotive industry of EVs/HEVs as well as several auxiliary applications.

Besides his responsibilities as General Manager of Danfoss Silicon Power, Claus A. Petersen is a board member of CEMEP, ZVEI and the Danish Electric Vehicle Alliance.

Source: Bodo's Power Systems, June 2017