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5 minutes with Silvan Mueller, Business Development Manager at Bel Power Solutions & Protection

Posted by Marcello Perricone on Aug 20, 2019

Silvan MuellerThe market changed from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market: customers can choose between many different suppliers. Nowadays, price erosion is a fact!

We sat down with Silvan Mueller, Business Development Manager for Industrial & Rail Power Products at Bel Power Solutions & Protection, to talk about Bel's evolution, current market changes, and his favourite trip in the world.

First off, a bit of background: How did you start your current career path, and what does your position as Business Development Manager, Industrial & Rail Power Products, for Bel Power Solutions, entail?

Bel Power Solutions and Protection logo

I started my career in the late 1990’s, as a power supply test engineer at Melcher before moving to technical support and the product marketing department in later years.

Before I joined Bel Power Solutions two and a half years ago, I worked as a Sales Director at a dedicated distributor for the railway market. The segment of railway technologies always fascinated me and guided me throughout my entire professional career.

How has the rail industry changed since you started working in it?

The market changed from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market: customers can choose between many different suppliers. Nowadays, price erosion is a fact!

We, as a supplier, need to be able to address standard solutions as well as modified standard and full custom solutions; the projects became very complex, and the requirements are much stricter than 10-20 years ago. New requirements for Fire & Smoke and RAMS, for example, had an impact on the design of a power supply -- nowadays, we deliver a lot more documents to prove compliance with them and many others.

Are there any past projects Bel helped realize that you're proud of? Are there any upcoming ones you're excited about?

As one of the first railway power supply manufacturers, Bel’s Center of Excellence in Dubnica nad Vahom, Slovakia just became IRIS certified. We have launched a new product family of chassis mountable power supplies in the 60-100 Watts range for various on-board railway applications, and will continue to expand this product segment with further output configuration and additional power levels.

blue city connection lines bel

What industry challenges do you identify as the most pressing ones, and how can Bel help the sector overcome it?

Time to marker has become key. Due to the increased complexity, stricter requirements, and the extensive testing and design verification, ordinary design cycles exceed the project schedule for our customers.

Therefore, Bel has invested and will continue to invest into standard platform designs to use those building blocks and turn them into customer specific solutions in a much shorter time, with lower risks and lower cost.

What's the biggest professional challenge you've ever faced?

Back in the late 90’s, Melcher was a pioneer and the number one power supply company in the railway market. After the acquisition by Power-One, the focus was shifted to other markets and no further developments and investments were done towards the sector.

During that time, some customers and projects moved to our competition. Since the acquisition by Bel Power, we see a clear change of strategy, investing in new products and the entire organization in order to regain our position as the market leader and exceed our customer’s expectations.

Finally, a question we ask all our interviewees: what's your favourite rail journey in the world, and why?

My favorite rail journey is the Bernina Express, connecting Chur in Switzerland to Tirano in Italy by crossing the Swiss Engadin Alps. For most of its journey, the train runs along the UNESCO World Heritage RhB.

It’s a fascinating journey through alpine landscapes, with everything from glaciers and high mountains to bland climate and palms in Tirano.

To meet more service providers and decision makers from Spain, France, Portugal, Australia, UK, US, and much, much more, join us at SmartMetro Madrid on November 25-27th!

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Topics: Interview, 5 minutes with, SRW Featured

Marcello Perricone

Written by Marcello Perricone

The Editor of SmartRail World and Transport Security World.

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