For the first time at the PCIM Europe 2021, we will be focusing on a specific country: the United States. On this occasion, we asked our long-standing exhibitors operating in the US for their assessment of the US market, especially with regard to the power electronics industry.
- How long has your company been operating in the US?
Mersen is a publicly traded company with its headquarter in France. Mersen is quite an old company that grew by acquisition. In the power electronics segment, we first established a sales office in the US in the mid 70’s, but the strong acceleration happened in 1999 when Mersen acquired the US company Gould Shawmut. This gave us a local manufacturing base and allowed us to start building our reputation in this territory.
- For what reasons did you decide to establish a location in the US?
We operate a global business. Some of our product specifications are driven by local and regional Codes & Standards (IEC, UL…); some are entirely customer-specific but apply to all regions. Therefore, opening a North American operation was a must since this is where some of our biggest OEM customers are located.
- In which market areas do you see growth opportunities in the US?
Regarding the market segments that we serve, we see strong traction in EV, charging stations, Electrical Storage and Military in the US. On top of these fast-growing segments, Solar, Wind and Motor Control are still interesting markets even though the expected growth is definitely less attractive.
- Which power electronics products from the US are in demand in Europe and which European products are in demand in the US?
Since we manufacture our products within all three main regions of the globe, we do not really see this paradigm. We develop the same products for all regions, but simply adapt them to local norms when requested.
- To what extent does the US market stand out from other markets such as Europe, Asia, etc. in the field of power electronics?
The US is definitely a leading country in wide bandgap semiconductors. These advanced technologies were originally very much rooted in the DoD and DoE for both military and civilian applications. This gave the US an undisputable technical leadership. Now, both EU and Asia are gradually catching up, but it is fair to recognize the positive role of US firms in the success of both SiC and GaN electronics
- In your opinion, what can European companies learn from US companies in general?
Entrepreneurial spirit is probably something we can take from US companies. They do not hesitate to invest heavily in technology development and take risks. Europe tends to be a bit overcautious and bureaucratic. This is probably the reason why some of our brilliant brains are indeed moving to the US, which is a pity. But I would remain positive since the European Commission has taken this very seriously and launched a number of initiatives to support science and R&D in the EU.
“The US is definitely a leading country in wide bandgap semiconductors.”
- USA Special