SAN FRANCISCO — On the eve of his first anniversary as chief executive of Intersil, Necip Sayiner talked about his efforts to move the veteran analog specialist forward. He told EE Times:
It's been a year of heavy restructuring in terms of changing the course of the company, improving the profitably, and most importantly bringing some focus to our investments. The company was trying to do too many things for its size, and some of those areas it was investing in really took it a little further away from its core capabilities.
After being in the red for 2012, Sayiner nudged the company into profitability in 2013, in part by cutting about 150 administrative positions. The company targets an operating income at 20% of total revenues, a goal it achieved in Q3 2013 and exceeded in Q4. Intersil invested some of those funds in R&D, focusing on power management for the mobile and industrial sectors.
Intersil is applying its experience in devices for PCs to new markets. Sayiner said:
The requirements in power management devices have become much more sophisticated, much more stringent. To some degree, this is to our benefit in that what you might have thought as the requirements in a traditional PC just a few years ago are now the requirements in a mainstream tablet.
Efficient power solutions for mobile devices require a single integrated solution, rather than a discrete controller and low dropout regulator for each rail, Sayiner said. Intersil aims to provide parts that deliver a 3% to 5% improvement in battery life for mobile devices and the unfolding Internet of Things. For example, the company announced March 17 its ISL911xx family of buck-boost switching regulators geared for mobile devices.
Infrastructure and industrial applications are another major thrust for the company in the coming years as data moving through the network "goes up by an order of magnitude in a few years," he said.
Targeting this area, Intersil announced its fourth generation of power modules, the ISL8270M/71M family
will be available before July. It packs a controller, driver, power MOSFETs, and inductor and supporting components to serve 25/33 Amp applications.
Sayiner told us:
The digital power controller is a key [component] because not only do you want to be able to manage your power, but you also want to be able to monitor it very closely in datacenters and infrastructure applications. To be able to do this effectively you need to be able to communicate between the power management device and the hub.
Sayiner sees increasing pull for the company's controllers as part of an integrated solution. Switching regulators such as the recently announced radiation hardened synchronous buck switching regulator and the buck controller, can be combined into a power module.
"There are commonalities between the technologies used in mobile and infrastructure/industrial... that actually transcends both in terms of our modulation schemes," Sayiner said, adding that industrial operations tend to function at 48 Volts to 60 Volts and between 5 amperes to 20 amperes. "You're packing more and more data and bandwidth into a single board in your datacenters and you're looking for it to consumer less power every generation -- the challenges [in mobile] are similarly conceived even though power is different."
The company will continue to focus on its traditional markets in aerospace, automotive, and wired/wireless infrastructure. Sayiner added:
With our size, our revenues that we drive from power, we're at a relatively small share today. So we have a lot of runway ahead of us in terms of ability to increase our share. We're not lacking for technology, for IP, for talent. What's different between now and few years ago is we've really removed a lot of distraction from our plate.
— Jessica Lipsky, Associate Editor, EE Times