APEI Announces Partnership in $140 Million Institute
U of A-affiliated company expects to expand at research parkTuesday, January 21, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc. has been selected as an industry partner for a planned $140 million research and manufacturing institute announced by President Obama on Jan. 15.
The Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute (NGPEII), one of three new government-funded manufacturing facilities intended to grow domestic advanced manufacturing capabilities, will be based at North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C.
Arkansas Power Electronics International (APEI), which frequently collaborates with faculty at the University of Arkansas, specializes in advanced, high performance electronics for a variety of customers and applications, including the defense, aerospace and the hybrid/electric vehicle markets.
APEI is headquartered at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park in Fayetteville. The University of Arkansas Technology Development Foundation manages the research park.
Most of its 46 employees are graduates of the U of A. By joining the institute, APEI expects to grow its current manufacturing presence, create technical jobs in the next five years and bring international business to Northwest Arkansas, said Ty McNutt, APEI’s director of business development.
“As a world-wide leader in wide band-gap power electronics design, development, and manufacturing, APEI is very excited to be part of the North Carolina State University-led Next Generation Power Electronics Innovation Institute,” McNutt said. “This consortium will help grow the manufacturing lines more quickly than otherwise possible, enabling us to bring our technology to the global marketplace faster — at competitive price points — and to grow our technical workforce.”
NGPEII will draw upon the wide band-gap expertise of leaders in the field from the academic, government and industrial sectors. Partners in the initiative include five universities, two national research labs and 18 companies.
The institute aims to generate lower cost, more efficient energy solutions through the advancement of wide band-gap semiconductor technology. The institute is the first of three manufacturing centers that will be created under Obama’s $200 million National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.
As an institute partner, APEI will serve as a medium- to low-volume, wide band-gap power module packaging foundry. The firm currently operates and maintains a wide band-gap power module and power discrete facility in Fayetteville that manufactures power systems for vehicles as well as spacecraft.
The U.S. Department of Energy will help launch NGPEII with a $70 million grant. The grant and associated federal cost-sharing will allow APEI to improve its in-line testing capabilities, develop an automated ordering system to support its foundry services, and increase process automation.
Ty McNutt, director of business development
Arkansas Power Electronics International Inc.
Chris Branam, research communications writer/editor