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70 www. bus- ex. com March 10 And there's little respite. The rapidly growing demand for mobile communications is placing huge pressures on suppliers such as Efore to find ways of compressing the process even further. Equally demanding is the cry for ever more efficient products. Efore is working hard on improving the overall effectiveness of its products, some of which are already 94 or 95 per cent efficient. There will always be some loss to supply a base station power supply might have a timescale of up to six or nine months from request to tender to the product rolling off the production line. Efore's 35 years of manufacturing history and a library full of modular designs help to compress the development process; but it still needs to go through the various stages of prototype and testing even before consideration can be given to manufacturing needs. " Our speciality is supplying power supplies for mobile network base stations. Last year, for example, two thirds of our ? 64 million revenue came from the telecoms market"

Efore controlling solar power. Similarly, the growth in hybrid automotive vehicles presents equally attractive opportunities. " On a recent trip to China," says Starck, " it became apparent just how many new players there are entering this market. But hybrid vehicles will only take off providing the prices are right and a suitable re- charging infrastructure is in place. But we are ready with the power management equipment these cars will need." One way or another, Efore is gearing up for expansion. Simply being linked to the growth in Asia could mean a doubling of its manufacturing output in China and as those facilities are already working 24/ 7, it's clear that another tranche of investment there is on the agenda. It would be understandable for Efore to welcome a slower pace of life but thanks to the markets where it operates, it's not going to happen- so the lesson it is learning now is how best to manage the whirlwind it is in. - Editorial research by Vincent Kielty during the energy conversion process but Starck feels there is still more that can be squeezed out. " It's not going to come from radical new technology," he believes, " but from better layout and design of components we're already using." Efore has also expanded the scope of its supply to include maintenance and service as well as manufacture. " By providing the complete offering," Starck says, " revolving around competitively priced products, we are securing the loyalty of customers by eliminating the need for them to look elsewhere." Although the technology required for power suppliers per se already exists, Efore's engineers are nevertheless not short of new intellectual challenges. Because much of the network growth is going into remote areas where electrical grids are sparse and unreliable, there is a great need for power supplies able to work with renewable sources of energy such as solar and wind. It's not in the business of converting sunlight into electricity but there is tremendous potential for Efore when it comes to March 10 www. bus- ex. com 71