Electronics company in Oughterard celebrates milestone

A electric company based in Ougherard, Co Galway, celebrates 35 years of business this year, having established itself as a leading player on the international market.

Electronic Concepts (Europe ) Ltd was established in 1981, and was originally a subsidiary of parent company Electronic Concepts Inc, New Jersey. It manufactures high reliability film capacitors for the electronics industry. Over the years, however, it has developed into a complete business unit with design, engineering, research and development, and sales and marketing functions.

At present, the company employs more than 65 people, with an average service period of 16 years, and with some who have been with the company since its inception. Managing director Finian Carney said, "ECL recognises and acknowledges the significant contribution of its employees to the company’s success over the last 35 years, and also thanks the local community for its continued support."

Speaking about the 35-year anniversary, technical director Conor Gibney, says the potential for future growth in the renewable energy sector is strong. "Global commitments towards offsetting climate change and the need for green house gas emission reductions will provide for continued growth within the renewable energy sector for many years to come," he said. "Despite the influence of increasing global competition, ECL is strategically positioned to capitalise on this growth to ensure the future of the company in Oughterard."

In the beginning, 100 per cent of its products were exported back to the USA, but today, US exports represent less than five per cent, with the bulk of exports now going to new markets in Europe and Asia. ECL’s products have changed significantly over its 35-year history, moving from producing miniature PCB level capacitors to more diverse, and much larger products, with some units the size of large suitcases. At the turn of the millennium, ECL identified the opportunity and growth potential for film capacitors in the power electronics industry, particularly in the renewable energy sector.

IDA Ireland’s CEO Martin Shanahan said, "I congratulate ECL on achieving this milestone. The company’s ability to adapt to meet the challenges of a rapidly evolving sector, particularly in the way it adjusted to allow it to supply products to the renewable energy sector, has been central to its success. The contribution by this company, both in terms of job creation and benefit to the local and regional economy over 35 years has been substantial. I wish Finian Carney and his team continued success."

To meet the needs of these new markets, ECL changed its manufacturing operation to accommodate these larger power capacitors. This involved significant investment in real estate, equipment, process operations, and employee training. The re-invention of the company has been a success, and ECL’s customer base has diversified, and grown significantly. Current customers include some of the world’s leading companies in the power electronics industry including the world’s premier supplier of AC drives, and the leading suppliers of solar photovoltaic inverters.

ECL’s main markets are in the renewable energy sector, the industrial sector, and the electric vehicle sector. ECL’s capacitors can be found in on-shore and off-shore wind turbines, solar PV farms, transportation systems, electric buses, shipyard cranes, mining excavation vehicles, electric sports cars, EV charging stations, and mainframe computers. Through its supply of products to the renewables sector, ECL is making a significant contribution to the global reduction of green house gas emissions, and its inevitable influence on climate change. Today, 95 per cent of ECL’s products are supplied to the green energy industry.

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