Interview with MEAN WELL Product Manager, Wen Wu

Wen Wu Product Manager and developing engineer at MEAN WELL

Wen Wu is a product manager and developing engineer at MEAN WELL Europe. He received ME and PhD degrees from Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, in 2012. Since then he has been with MEAN WELL Europe, where he is involved with technical consulting, in-house and field training, certification approvals and product planning. He is currently responsible for product research & development for the EU market.

Founded in 1982 and headquartered in Taiwan, MEAN WELL makes high-quality power supply products. The business is ranked highly among the global DC outputting power supply makers around the world. It has branches in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Suzhou in China, in California in the US, and in the Netherlands in Europe.

1. How did you get into your role as a product manager and developing engineer at MEAN WELL Europe?

I like electronics and I’ve always been attracted to artificial light because I find cross-physics a fascinating topic. MEAN WELL makes switching power supplies, which are full of electronics. One of their products is the LED driver, which is applied on the lighting fixture to control the light.

I’m currently based in MEAN WELL’s Netherlands office, which is well placed to meet the demands of the European market. In my view, being an engineer shouldn’t only be about resolving engineering issues, but also understanding what customers need and why.

2. What advice would you give to aspiring engineers and those wanting to work in similar roles?

Building high-quality, well-structured electronics is often labour intensive and involves working on your own a lot. My advice would be to remember to talk with others too – new ideas may pop up, making life easier.

3. What new products and technologies is your team currently working with?

Currently we’re working on wireless LED drivers integrated with Bluetooth low-energy chips.

4. What are the key areas of innovation with those products?

Thanks to the wireless function, the cost and time for installation will be greatly reduced. Furthermore, post-configuration will be a relatively easy task because it will all be done via the software.

5. What is innovative about the technology they use?

A very high-output PWM frequency for dimming the LED is implemented and thus a dedicated method applied to resolve the excess heat from the hard MOSFET switching loss.

6. What makes your products game-changers?

It’s the first standard off-the-shelf LED driver to achieve high-output PWM frequency that meets the no health effect according to IEEE 1789-2015.

7. Do you have an innovation lab – what is it working on?

Our lab is well equipped with all kinds of test setup equipment, including AC source, DC load, oscilloscope, function generator, temperature chamber and an infrared camera to measure and find out parameters of interest.

8. What kinds of applications and solutions are your customers working on?

Because they all require power, almost all kinds of industrial applications – including fully automated logistic warehouses, robotic arm factories, high-wattage household appliances and so on.

9. What are the challenges of developing and deploying applications in these sorts of environments?

It can take quite a lot of time and resource to develop a whole new product, which I think makes it quite difficult for small and medium-sized projects. For that reason, we continually research whether our current standard power supply can meet these user needs or if it requires modifications. For instance, a unit that has ITE safety approval and an end application needing to meet the EN60335 household standard. In this scenario, we’d help to check if the part is compliant if it requires any changes to comply with the relevant safety standard.

10. What is the most exciting or disruptive customer application you’re aware of?

I remember one customer removed the fan from our fan-cooled 3000W power supply and sank it into the oil tank to dissipate the excess heat so that the auditable noise would be minimised at an abandoned steel factory in Scandinavia. This actually gave us the idea to remove the fan and develop a new high-wattage power supply with conduction and/or liquid cooling.

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