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Why does UK get so many Switch mode power supplies done in the Far East?

Discussion in 'Jobs and Careers' started by Flyback, May 4, 2015.

  1. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

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    Hello,
    I went for an interview in a UK Switch mode power supply design and development company recently. They said they get most of their switch mode power supplies designed in the Far East.
    They said there was usually no point in doing it in UK.
    They only actually design a small quantity of their SMPS products in-house in UK.
    Why is this? It cannot be down to cost, as other countries don’t do it.
    Why is it that Germany & France, both far more successful industrially than UK, don’t follow this policy of getting Switch Mode power supplies made in the Far East.?
    Also USA, which again is far more successful than UK, don’t get that many switch mode power supplies developed in the Far East. Indeed, in USA, there is a rule that in any equipment, at least 50% of the sub-systems must be designed and manufactured in USA.
    So why is UK so keen to get switch mode power supplies designed over in the far east? Is it because UK is an oil economy, and we have the money from the oil, so think we should just forget about development and get some other country to do it for us?
    I developed a complete Switch Mode Power Supply course, and have approached huge numbers of UK industrial establishments, organisations, and UK politicians, though none are in the least bit interested in giving it a go. I developed the course so as to allow UK companies to have a “supply” of trained switch mode power supply engineers. (I would also be happy to supply engineers to other countries but I am in UK , so concentrate here)
     
  2. Nigel Goodwin

    Nigel Goodwin Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    I would suggest your entire premise is wrong - and pretty well all countries get their switch-mode supplies from the Far East, it's so much cheaper than doing it over here.

    But considering the number of questions you've posted on here about switch-mode supplies, I'm dubious about your qualifications and abilities to teach a switch-mode course anyway.

    As for interesting people in the UK, you seem to have a total lack of economics as well - no wonder you can't get anyone interested.
     
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  3. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, but OK.....so Switch mode power supply design as well as general electronics design, eg audio, isn't cost effective in UK?.....So how then do companies such as Blackstar Amplifiers, and all the other UK based guitar amplifier companies manage to do design in UK and do it cost effectively?

    And what about the huge number of UK based PCB assembly companies...why do they all exist when its "not cost effective to do it in UK"?

    As far as SMPS design goes, I can demo this using an excel spreadsheet, and crack the back of any spec for an SMPS within some 30 minutes.....inductor values, RMS currents etc etc......and then do a representative simulation in another 20 mins max
    ....then obviously the feedback loop is a longer calculation, component selection, costing, and obviously PCB layout a day or more depending on spec, testing more time still, etc etc

    So I can demo this skill "there and then" to anyone who wants to see it.

    To design a general SMPS, there is no requirement for any maths other than "less than A level" standard.

    Calculating the RMS of a CCM flyback primary current...easy....its a standard trapezoid wave shape and there is a fixed formula....I proved it by integration yonks ago so theres no need to keep doing the integration every time a new design is encountered.........

    So for general SMPS design, there is no need for 3rd order differential equations etc...so what makes you think anyone wouldn't be able to do SMPS design?
    Yes I ask lots of questions, and get great answers, but nobody ever knows everything about any facet of electronics, so "ask away" is my advice to anyone.

    Most of my questions involve general stuff like when datasheets of PWM controllers don't give the internal r(pullup) resistor value, etc.

    And forgive me, but it seems to me that you think that only "rocket scientists" can design an SMPS....so what do you say to companies like Power integrations who do a web based design for people to get an SMPS designed when they don't have the knowledge...are they wrong?
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. JimB

    JimB Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    The eternal cynic in me cannot help but think...

    Is your training course a compendium of all the obscure "problems" and polemics which you post here on ETO?

    As for the the Far East thing, could it be that someone wants to go on an oriental jolly to sample the delights of downtown Shenzhen and then flyback on a Boeing 747 ? :joyful::):D

    JimB
     
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  6. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

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    Ive heard the "downtown delights" one many a time...a chance for someone to "play away", so to speak.

    What is confusing is that UK is determined to pay to get SMPS's designed and manufactured in the Far East when it is not any cheaper to do so.
    I believe that UK "middle men" are deliberately running down UK based SMPS design and manufacture companies, in order to profit from being the "middle man" for imported SMPS's from the far east.....these few UK based "middle men" get mega rich in the process, but nobody else makes much money out of it at all.....and the poor Far Eastern manufacturing staff appear to see very little of the money.
    Do you agree that these few UK based "middle men" and their philanderings, are the sole reason that UK is transferring its SMPS design and manufacture business over to the Far East? Its nothing to do with cost.
    The son of the German owner of a german electronics company came over to work at our UK company once, and he was really surprised that we were getting so much electronics designed and manufactured in the Far East.....in Germany , this just doesn't happen...and Germany is a mega successful country.
     
  7. Cicero

    Cicero Active Member

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    The market is pretty flooded with OEM style SMPS from the Far East. And that really makes it attractive to just go that route, considering convenience and cost especially. They also generally come with all certifications as well.... what a bonus! (be it questionable certification at times)

    Then the real patentable IP design takes over after the OEM AC/DC conversion. Why waste that design time making a DC voltage or two? Unless its a highly specialised and strange form factor or something, rather spend that time doing something new, something that can speed up your time-to-market and make you money.
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
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  8. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, but every single electronics product in the world (or nearly so) has a power supply inside it..therefore UK needs this skill (as do other countries). So we should get an industry going, or at least a training institute so that companies can get their power supply needs met...very often its just a little on-PCB smps. but they've no idea how to do it.

    I went to a huge lighting company once, and all their engineers were on stop, because they were getting too much RCD clamp loss in a flyback, they did not know about "Interleaved winding"...very often its simple points like that which can get people going....I went to another place where they had a 10w offline smps which couldn't get started up because they had a huge energy storage cap on the output and the pwm controller kept tripping on overload protection before it got into regulation...an agency would have been able to solve it in minutes...the smps engineer did everything right but that.....so he lost his job........what a waste of his skills in smps...he never found work in smps again.
     
  9. Cicero

    Cicero Active Member

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    Yeah, dont get me wrong, I absolutely agree there is a need for those skills - I just proposed why there may be such a low demand in the West for those skills in a broad based sense.

    I find your posts/questions refreshing, especially because it challenges me, and my understanding, because my analog knowledge of SMPS is rather limited. Like you say though, its kinda niche as those specialised skills wont be needed full time, and you've gone to a few companies when they are generally desperate. Sounds to me like a good consultancy based opportunity there for you? Not quite a full time agency though...but something you can make a good bit of cash though when called on.
     
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  10. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, but I don't think there will be much cash in this training scheme, the problem is that the people (generally government bodies etc) who we are asking for funding from, haven't got a clue about electronics, and so theres no way they are going to pay much money
     
  11. Tony Stewart

    Tony Stewart Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    There are so many characteristics of design quality, material quality and process control quality, that turn me towards those who have more expertise in all these areas with established reliability, that when it comes to make or buy, one must have the best skills in relability testing to create a reliable product. You dont learn this in 5 yrs, no matter who you are. Some never learn. So I am biased towards Japanese and Taiwanese sources. I have seen 1st hand fromthe inside out, how Hitachi excels in Quality in various magnetic products. Most magnetic sources long ago, had trade restrictions on exporting the higher quality components out of Japan. They served their own market for so many years 1st before export. Thus they have a historical advantage on expertise. Now many American companies are partnered with Japanese R&D to gain advantages and they Japan, benefit from sales.

    China is a leader in High Voltage power, even in many cases ahead of ABB. But these systems cost >>1m$, whereas SMPS are 5 cents per Watt in high volume, corners are cut even if they have more Engineers.
     
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  12. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

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    thanks, I see your point, though I am sure you will agree that "the power supply", whatever form it takes (it might be a small on-board , switch mode regulator , local to the circuit it serves) is the most common form of electronic circuit, because every product needs a power supply.
    Therefore, it makes sense to get a training agency going for the design and production of power supplies, namely switch mode power supplies.
    Not every power supply can be gotten from Japan, very many have to be done at home, and are best done that way, in house....what is wrong (if anything), with setting up a training agency specifically centred on switch mode power supplies? They are after all, the most common circuit, and crucial to every product.

    I have tried getting this going in UK for the last 18 months, I have written to every government agency, including "enterprise initiative" type agencies etc...but no-one is interested....I am wondering if anyone in USA is interested, I really think I can offer something great here....and I can send anyone the course........I have already sent it to virtually every uk pcb assembly company and magnetics winding company...I have also sent to many electronic co's but that's less good, because they don't like it because they fear that there uk competitors will benefit from it more than them...that's the problem in uk, we don't like to share with fellow uk companies, we would rather sue each other and put each other out of business, then wonder why our economy is going nowehere (compared to USA, France, Germany Italy)
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2015
  13. Nigel Goodwin

    Nigel Goodwin Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    You seem to have no idea of economics - how do expect people to be interested in sending huge sums of money to eventually manufacture supplies at (say) £30 when they can simply buy them in from China for £3?.
     
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  14. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

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    there are a large number of smps's that could not be designed or manufactured in china.
    Every product needs a power supply.
    You are honestly telling us that there is no point in a smps training agency in uk, or indeed any country ? (not Japan as they already can design smps's in their sleep over there).

    Why do uv led curing companies design there own switch mode led drivrs in house in uk?...because it cant be done in china.......they DO buy in the 600W, 48V PSU's which supply isolated voltage bus to the switching led drivers, but that is it......not every smps can be designed in the Far East.

    I am not denying that SOME smps's are cheaper bought in from china....but not all can be bought from china...besides it is unwise to buy everything that ones country uses from china or anywhere else overseas.

    You've gotta do something ourselves
     
  15. Tony Stewart

    Tony Stewart Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    There are lots of jobs for SMPS design in the UK.

    Anything can be done in a country with sufficient resources and skilled mentors.

    Country Annual graduates In Engineering
    United States 70,000
    India 350,000
    China 600,000
     
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  16. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

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    UK annual graduates in Electronics Engineering is about a couple of hundred.

    No Germans or French ever come to study electronics at a uk university.

    A very small number of US nationals come to study electronics at a uk university.....I spoke to a few of them, and they said that the electronics lecturers in uk "don't actually teach"...their words, not mine
     
  17. Tony Stewart

    Tony Stewart Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    there are many problems with Universities, excessive cost and lack of industry experience, declining govt' funding and increasing profit motivations.
    moreover.... when you cant do, teach

    Murata SMPS have a design centre in Toronto.

    If I wanted you to learn SMPS like I did hard disk drive designs, I would get you to find a Test Engineering job to qualify sources and learn how to make Bode Plots and step load response and then thermal hot spot reading with stress testing worst case for all variables then understand the sensitivity of any parameters of any part and how it works. This is just a primer.
     
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  18. Cicero

    Cicero Active Member

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    I think you're incorrectly focusing your efforts Flyback, re-evaluate your options.

    You're trying to start what is essentially a business, seemingly without a business plan. It seems you dont really have proper numbers to back yourself up and make it viable? You just have your course notes that you wrote, thats not enough. You need show people numbers, projected figures, costs, initial outlays.

    When you say agency, what does that really entail in your mind? A business premises for the training? How many employees? What/who is your realistic market? Out of that market, how many would realistically be interested in training? Year on year? How many people would you need to train in order to cover costs? What would you be able to charge/person?
     
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  19. Flyback

    Flyback Well-Known Member

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    The taxpayer would pat as the skills taught would give a greater return to the economy....i.e. giving back to the economy more than the taxpayer gave.
    As you know, its just common sense to set this up, as individual companies, for a variety of reasons, are unable to train enough engineers....the universities , its been known for years, don't train up enough smps engineers.......a uni degree is an "intro to a PhD study", rather than an intro to engineering.

    Anybody who could pass the maths test could come on the course......(there wouldn't be any huge integrals to solve , put it that way).

    Companies would give their staff over to the agency, and get them back all trained up.
    Uni students, after a year in uni, and realising that they are never going to be a phd researcher, could come on my course. My course makes it possible for people to have a life and do engineering to a great level....the course blows off the door of industrial secrecy, and pours the knowledge into the open, so all may grow from the bounty.
     
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  20. Nigel Goodwin

    Nigel Goodwin Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    You're living in a dream world - why would Uni's want to train SMPS engineers', it's only a VERY small branch of electronics and such supplies are pretty well 'components' now, available ready made for a fraction of the cost from China.
     
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  21. Cicero

    Cicero Active Member

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    Gotta agree with Nigel on all points, you're delusional if you think the taxpayer should fund your course. You definitely need to re-evauate your whole outlook.

    Have you been through an EE Uni degree? There's a reason for all the courses involved, because they're needed as a foundation base. You also overestimate the usefulness of a Uni dropout. A 1st year dropout has barely even touched electronics (honestly wouldn't trust them wiring a plug), now you think you can train them up with a wonder course and flood the industry with them?
     
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