Fayetteville Company Keeps Engineers in Arkansas

by Luke Jones  on Monday, Feb. 20, 2012 12:00 am  

Lostetter immediately began transferring his Ph.D. research into his business model. The company became APEI, and its work truly began.


Power Electronics

"Power electronics" are parts used in almost any industrial technology. Anyone using a laptop computer will be familiar with the boxlike object attached to the AC adaptor - that's a power electronics system.

"What it does is it takes the type of power that comes out of the wall and converts it into the type of power the electronics in laptops can use," Lostetter said.

APEI's work goes far beyond laptop computers.

"We do military systems, aircraft, hybrid vehicles, satellites, spacecraft, things like that," Lostetter said. "On a satellite, you have a solar array that turns power into electricity. Then you need to change that into a form that computers and electronics can use."

APEI research seeks to compress convertors into ever smaller packages.

"We focus on making things small, lightweight, highly efficient," Lostetter said. "We're in a brand new, state-of-the-art type of technology we're developing."

APEI handles clients both from the government and the private sector. The company's main commercial client is Toyota USA, and it also is teamed up with Rohm Co. Ltd., a large electronic parts supplier in Kyoto, Japan.

Many APEI products are designed for the U.S. military, specifically the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development & Engineering Center. Frequently, APEI's products are tested and optimized for the military, then further designed to fit a commercial model.

"Our goal is, after we get it into high-performing systems, we'll expand the volume we can do, drive the costs down and get into more everyday uses," Lostetter said. "In the next five years or so, we'll be getting into some more commercial uses."



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