Volume 6 | Issue 2 | Year 2003

A light bulb hanging in a firehouse in Livermore, Calif. has been illuminated for more than 100 years. The centennial bulb is a perfect symbol for a pair of companies on the other side of the country with nearly a century of combined experience and a reputation for reliable electrical power systems designed to last indefinitely.

Dynapower Corporation, and its recently acquired subsidiary, Rapid Power Corporation (formerly Rapid Power Technologies), are specialists in AC and DC power conversion systems for a broad range of industrial, scientific, and municipal applications. “The combination of the two companies provides us with an unbelievable opportunity and resource both in terms of products and in industries in which we can now perform,” says Sales and Marketing Manager Adam Knudsen. Both companies are noted for providing power distribution systems and rectifiers that convert electrical power from an industrial level distributional AC voltage to a usable DC voltage. A primary application for their systems is to power plating and metal finishing operations for the auto industry.

“Nearly every car today has electro-galvanized zinc plating on the car body steel,” Knudsen says. “The manufacturers use our power supplies–the size of a big office–to convert that steel into an electro-galvanized steel.” In addition to automotives, Dynapower’s systems for metal finishing are key to the production of aircraft, household goods, jewelry and unlimited other applications. For instance, the same electrical conversion systems are needed in manufacturing settings that perform color anodizing for architectural aluminum.

Dynapower Corporation also builds power supplies for the battery industry, including battery testing and formation for the top name brands. The company works with very large power supplies for copper mining and other power distribution systems for the steel industry. In addition, Rapid Power Corporation adds expertise in power supplies for electro-chemical applications such as the manufacture of computer touch screens. Rapid Power also builds oil specialty transformers and rectifiers used in chlorine production and other electro-chemical processes. “It’s never the same day twice,” Knudsen observes. “So as long as we are continuing to support a wide variety of products and industries, we should be very strong regardless of the economy.”

Yankee know-how
Dynapower Corporation and Rapid Power Corporation differentiate themselves from the competition through engineering and R&D, using sophisticated circuit analysis and design software to engineer each system. In their research laboratories, prototypes are developed, tested and evaluated prior to manufacture. In addition, the two companies have complete production control of their manufacturing processes for all power supplies and cast coil transformers. Production takes place in their ultra-modern, fully automated, 150,000-square-foot facility in South Burlington, Vt. Overlooking the breathtaking Green Mountains, 120 Dynapower Corporation and Rapid Power Corporation employees enjoy a rare level of total quality control, producing all components and subassemblies in house. They do their own painting, vacuum varnishing and epoxy casting (for the Ultracast encapsulated transformer line). They also have their own sheet metal shop to build electrical housing.

A tour of their operations even includes machining and plating, and transformer winding machines. Their electronic assembly department designs and constructs all printed circuit boards and electronics, calibrated to National Institute of Standards and Technology requirements.”Virtually everything that goes into the Dynapower and Rapid Power product is manufactured here at our facility. We manufacture all of our own equipment and we have complete control over the quality as well as the manufacturing lead times for our gear,” Knudsen says.

Dynapower and Rapid Power engineers focus on a combination of custom-manufactured equipment as well as supplying their standard, high-volume products to meet industrial needs. In addition to rectifiers and transformers, they produce their own lines of switches. The companies also offer 24-hour technical service, which is almost unheard of in the power industry, along with an unparalleled inventory of spare parts for their equipment as well as that of other manufacturers. Dynapower Corporation adds precision power supply applications to a reputation for reliability, contracting with some of the top research institutions in the nation including Los Alamos National Laboratory and Berkeley Labs. Dynapower is building a large power system including transformers and rectifiers for the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a Department of Energy Spellation Neutron Project (SNS) for research into the aging and testing of materials.

“The control of the output must be extremely precise and stable, which is determined by the design of the electronics and current sensory devices that we control,” Knudsen says of the company’s research contracts. “We have developed that technology to serve the national laboratory market, but the design of those boards has trickled down into our industrial-grade products. So the R&D has paid off, not just in precision applications, but also in the control and stability of our gear when used even in very standard plating applications.”

Making the connection
As far as merging the two companies, let’s just say it’s another successful power conversion, providing the best possible support for long-term customers while opening new opportunities and markets. “We are going to take the best of Rapid Power Corporation ideas and the best of Dynapower Corporation ideas and use those in the manufacture of each product line. However, the individual product lines will continue to have their own unique identities such as Dynapower electronics and Rapid Power electronics,” Knudsen explains.

Future R&D efforts include some high-tech rectifier controls – ethernet and digital signal processor controls – along with self-diagnostics and even predictive trouble shooting. “We’re very excited that we’re able to expand our product offering not just to our existing customers but also to additional customers,” he says. “We have the resources to go out there and investigate and penetrate new markets.”

Meanwhile, Dynapower dependability keeps the lights on for its multitude of clients across the country in many settings. “Our focus is on quality and manufacturability so when customers purchase equipment from us, it will run virtually forever and they will not have to worry about down time relative to what our competition will provide,” Knudsen says. “The goal is for nothing ever to break and we’ve succeeded in coming very close to just that.”

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