Mistelbach bei Wels, Austria-headquartered Dynell specialises in power systems for the aviation industry: in particular, diesel ground power units (GPUs), solid-state GPUs, charging systems, pit systems, coils and 400Hz connectors. The company says that an “innovative mindset” is at the heart of its approach to product development, and this was reflected when its solid-state converter with plug-and-play Dynell Inverted Modules (DIMs) design received the innovation award in the terminal category at the inter airport Europe exhibition held in Munich in November last year. Head of sales and marketing Michael Brandstoetter tells us more about the DIMs and about Dynell
What does the solid-state GPU with DIM enable that other solid-state converters do not?
When Dynell started we had a vision to revolutionise the solid-state converter market by introducing new groundbreaking solid-state converter technology that would set a new benchmark in the industry.
The goal was to design a completely modular unit in terms of power modules, control and other related parts. At the core of our solid-state converter design are the so-called DIMs that guarantee modular operation and a redundancy capability. They are also able to offer customised solutions, as each DIM has a power capacity of 22.5kVA (scalable up to 180kVA – units can also be up- or downgraded).
As all DIMs are identical, the customer can exchange them as necessary without the need for any special configuration – just plug and play. At only 9kg, the DIMs can be exchanged within 30 seconds to ensure minimum downtime.
They also offer a redundancy capability – if one DIM fails, the other modules will take over.
Thanks to the fact the DIMs employ the latest semiconductor technology, overall system efficiency is more than 96.2%; in other words, the highest in the industry. In times of rising energy costs, the customer saves up to €1,200 (US$1,370) per unit per year compared to existing units in the market, which is another significant sustainable contribution.
Winning the innovation award at last year’s inter airport Europe show in Munich was an award for the whole company and a reward for the hard work that everybody put into that product.
When did you make this new design available for sale? Has it been sold to any customers and is it yet being used operationally?
The first time this technology was shown to the public was during the inter airport exhibition in 2019. We had hoped that the design would be well accepted, and the feedback was indeed outstanding and overwhelming – customers couldn’t wait for it to be made available, as the advantages and benefits were already clearly visible then, though sales weren’t actually possible until the third quarter of 2020 following intense testing and product verification.
There is a triple-digit figure of Dynell units already in the field and fully operational. Customer feedback has been great, especially in regards to their modularity, efficiency and IoT [Internet of Things] readiness.
Have you designed and developed any other new equipment/products of late?
The DIM design will form the core element of all our future GPU/solid-state converter developments and yes, we are already working intensively on the next development which will be a carbon dioxide-neutral, battery-powered GPU application.
Dynell is already in the midst of the product’s verification and testing. This battery-powered solution, called DEM 025-180 (its power output between 25 and 180kVA is suitable for any aircraft in the world), will be available for sale in the coming months.
It uses the latest lithium battery technology, and again modularity will be key to scale with the battery in service based on the power needs of applications and customers.
During the GSE Expo in Paris scheduled ‘for later this year, in the autumn’, customers will be able to experience the new DEM product.
Dynell is still a relatively new company; is it achieving the goals that you had hoped for?
Dynell’s initial vision was clearly defined: to become the technology leader in the aviation market for ground power supply. Starting a new adventure is never easy but so far we can’t complain, as word of mouth references of Dynell are spreading fast and we see a positive upswing in terms of project recovery in upcoming weeks.
We are in talks with most major airports as well as with other important airports around the world. Once we have the chance to sit and talk to new potential clients, we are really able to introduce them to the benefits of our new solid-state concept.
We have also modified our company goals during the pandemic and were able to overcome Covid without the need to lay off any staff. During the Covid pandemic we have also used the time to align our internal quality and production process, implement a new ERP [enterprise resource planning] system and gain ISO9001 and 14001 certification.
In what ways do you think Dynell is particularly strong and well placed in the market?
It’s a niche industry, where most of the industry players know each other. We at Dynell see ourselves as an extremely flexible company and we work out appropriate solutions based on the needs of the customer, no matter whether these are adapted standard products or new, special developments.
With our experience of almost 15 years in the aviation industry among the team, we know what to do and what needs to be considered to offer a satisfying solution based on customer requirements.
Additionally, we are dedicated to supporting our customers all the time – that’s why all Dynell units are equipped with modems or Modbus/TCP connections as standard so that we are able to analyse and monitor these products 24/7.
This not only helps the customer to reduce potential downtimes but also reduces potential after-sales trips, because we can offer effective remote support immediately as we already know what is going on with the affected equipment.
How many people do you now have working at Dynell? Are they all based at Mistelbach bei Wels?
Today, there are almost 40 people working for Dynell, some are working remotely but most of them are based in Mistelbach bei Wels.
Mistelbach bei Wels is surrounded by beautiful scenery of mountains and apple and pear plantations. People at Dynell highly appreciate escaping from busy cities and letting their creativity for ground power supply technology flow in this environment. We are a small family with the same passion and are enjoying it more than ever before.
Has the pandemic and its impact on the aviation industry hit your business? How have you sought to mitigate its effect on you?
It’s undoubtedly a fact that the pandemic hit the whole industry with an unexpected impact that nobody could imagine.
I clearly remember myself when I was confronted with the situation of flying back from abroad and I luckily caught the second-last flight back home to Austria before the worldwide lockdown was enforced in March 2019.
Subsequent weeks were characterised by uncertainty and extremely unpredictable behaviour among customers, and nobody could have imagined that we are still talking about the pandemic two years later.
On the one hand, starting a mission with a new company and getting hit by these worst of times was something unpredictable and on some days we questioned how we would overcome that. On the other hand, this time also ensured that the team grew even closer as we all pulled together to accomplish our mission of becoming a new, important player in the ground power supply industry.
Plus, we also had the opportunity and the time to intensively test our products and not go with chancy prototypes, as we know that or certain customers we only have one chance of convincing them.
We are proud to say that all units we have supplied so far are satisfying the high expectations of our customers. Luckily, we were also working on bigger projects, especially for pit systems where we could bridge the impact of Covid even better. We are positively looking forward to the rest of 2022, as we are sure that the desire and wish to travel again is undoubtedly higher than ever before.
How and where do you hope still to grow, both internally and in terms of markets and sales?
In times like these, you can reflect more often on whether you are on the right track and what could be done differently – it’s an ongoing process for us, which gives us the chance to grow together.
One thing is clear: although we see an exponential growth curve for Dynell thanks to the projects we are currently working on, we also need to be careful which markets we enter as we do not only want to supply just a product – for us, the service we provide and taking care of the products after sale is key to ensure stable growth [of the business].
Even though it’s a small industry, the chance to grow is certainly big, especially for those involved in new technologies like Dynell. Customers who began operating our units from the outset are starting to place repeat orders, which is a sign of commitment that they are happy with Dynell and its products.
For the rest of this year, we are planning in particular to strengthen our core market in Europe and also to increase our presence in Asia and the Middle East.