Littelfuse: A Broad Spectrum Company

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Littelfuse is an industrial technology manufacturing company empowering a sustainable, connected, and safer world. Their products are found in a variety of industrial, transportation and electronics end markets. TimesTech interacted with Jose Padilla, Director of Product Management, Power Semiconductor, Discrete devices at Littelfuse and Neil Lejeune, Global Director of Sales for Semiconductors at Littelfuse at Electronica India 2022 to know more about the innovative product portfolio and latest acquisition of C&K.

Read the edited excerpts here:

TimesTech: Tell us about Littelfuse. What does it do and its core expertise? 

Neil: Littelfuse began as a fuse company but it’s now a multi-technology company. We focus on Protecting, Controlling and Sensing. We not only have fuses for protection but circuit interruption. We have overvoltage devices, we have products that protect people, ground fault relays, from loose voltages and things like that. So, that’s part of the Protect. Controls in semiconductors, that’s controlling electricity- voltage and currents and that’s part of the macro of Littelfuse. And Sensing, we have multiple sensing technologies- Level Sensing, Flow Sensing and things like that.

So, it’s hard to come up with a core technology because we are in all of these things. Littelfuse is a broad-spectrum company.

Jose: We started on the protection side, so Littelfuse, a century ago. Over the years we realised that when we were protecting some element successfully, in most cases, it was either a power semiconductor or a sensor. Having already the market knowledge, the context and the distribution channels it was a natural step for leaders to jump into control and sense.

TimesTech: What are the new products that you are showcasing at this expo? 

Neil: Some of the things that we are focusing on are some of the new fuse products that we have around the EV Market because you need certain robustness for the shocking vibration that goes in the EV that’s some of the new products that we have. We’re focusing on the C&K acquisition which is very recent at Littelfuse. Some of our new semiconductors and some of the MOSFETs.

TimesTech: Tell us about Littelfuse products that are catering to the energy storage market.

Neil: If you look at energy storage, it’s again the whole protect, control and sense. So, I’ll start with the control part. You have to control the electricity. So, it’s power conversion, switching, and semiconductors. It is part of the whole energy storage, but we also have special sensors that go to the batteries for measuring temperature within a battery-type system. We have protection devices that go around batteries for battery-type systems, we have fuses that protect from short circuits and things like that. So again, it’s the same thought process of all of these things around. 

TimesTech: How C&K acquisition going to benefit Littelfuse?

Neil: It brings us to the new market. C&K has some experience in markets that Littelfuse hasn’t had before. Another thing that it brings to us is that it expands our worldwide manufacturing footprint. As an example, C&K has manufacturing capability in India, so it brings Littelfuse manufacturing to India. They also have quite a bit, in the way, miniaturization technology that we hope to be able to use for other parts of our business and then there’s the additional thing that we may be able to incorporate some of our other products into C&K so we can offer a complete solution to a customer.

TimesTech: How Littelfuse is contributing to electric mobility? 

Neil: A lot of it focuses on power conversion and then protection as well. So, the semiconductors for charging the batteries and also for propulsion of the EV and then there’s Voltage protection for the batteries and the EV. And as I mentioned earlier, we have ground fault relays, for charging to come to connection from the grid to the product and it’s a huge growth area for us. Every aspect of Littelfuse goes into Electric Mobility- Wiring harnesses, Fuses, C&K switches for the controls, Temperature sensors, and motion sensors.

Jose: If you see it from a higher point of view, every time we have some kind of energy conversion, no matter what is the source of energy or the load of the energy, you’re going to have a very similar set of instruments and similar challenges, what is going to change? The ranges are going to change, and the expected reliability is what is going to make a lot of difference. Littelfuse is being always in power conversion, this is bringing us new markets, and new challenges that we need to adapt to. But the good thing is that we have all the tools, and the knowledge to help our customers find a solution. You will see around, in the booth, is solution-based. So, if we map what the customer needs and we covered most of it. If you go into the details of our presentations, you see that we have a product for every sub-system and practically an active product for everything. We have a protection device for everything and even some ideas that are out-of-the-box. 

TimesTech: What are the key features of Littelfuse that separate it from its competitors? 

Neil: It all has to do with experience and we have experiences in a lot of marketplaces and then we have technical and manufacturing resources that we can lean on to solve the challenges that our customers have and we are willing to produce more integrated solutions. Some of the temperature sensor solutions, we’ve come up with, aid our customers in battery technology. We’re willing to look at a custom solution because you have a customer who comes up with a novel idea and it may become a broad-market solution at some point. So, it’s in our best interest to help customers with those. 

Jose: When compared to some of our competitors in different areas. we pick up the phone independently of the market that we will find at the end of the road. We always listen. We always try to provide a solution and if the solution is also helping some others, then we are going to expand things to our distribution and sales channels, in total, to the guys that could be interested in it. The feedback we got from the customers is: “in the power semiconductor sector, you guys pick up the phone independently of the size of my business, independently of who I am “

TimesTech: Is Littelfuse in Green Hydrogen too? 

Neil: It’s power conversion again and one of the nice things is that we have a product portfolio that allows us to go from very small power to very high power. And, this fits very well with green hydrogen because it goes from very small power to very high power. From a product portfolio point of view, it’s the same product portfolio that we offer in any power conversion but we’re willing to adapt solutions for customers based on that.

TimesTech: What are the focus areas and vision of Littelfuse moving forward? 

Neil: We are a Growth Company. We’re looking to continue to add products and capabilities around our core competencies. And as we’ve described our core competencies have been growing, we are a leader in many fields and we look to continue that leadership.