SmartPower Stack(TM) Consortium Announces Selection of National

SmartPower Stack(TM) Consortium Announces Selection of National
Instruments Single-Board RIO General Purpose Inverter Controller 
Group Creates the Industry's First Power Stack With Integrated,
Deployment-Ready FPGA-Based Control System for High-Volume Grid-Tied
Power Converters and Motor/Generator Drives 
NUREMBURG, GERMANY -- (Marketwire) -- 11/28/12 --  The SmartPower
Stack(TM) Consortium, comprised of Methode Electronics, Inc. (NYSE:
MEI), SBE Inc., Fuji Electric Corp. of America and AgileSwitch, LLC
today announced the selection of the National Instruments (NASDAQ:
NATI) ("NI") Single-Board RIO General Purpose Inverter Controller
(GPIC) as the integrated control system for a new 100 kilowatt
intelligent power stack module. The NI GPIC features cutting-edge
Xilinx field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology with 58
integrated DSP cor
es to deliver 40 times higher performance per
dollar than traditional DSP-based control systems. The SmartPower
Stack(TM) with NI GPIC also includes a comprehensive NI LabVIEW
system design software that eliminates any need for knowledge of VHDL
or Verilog programming languages and enables the development of
advanced LabVIEW FPGA control algorithms in a high-fidelity desktop
co-simulation environment. 
The SmartPower Stack(TM) consists of SBE high-performance wound film
capacitors; Fuji Electric Corp. of America industry-leading insulated
gate bipolar transistors (IGBTs); AgileSwitch cutting-edge IGBT gate
drives; Methode Electronics innovative bus bar power distribution,
thermal management, and ISO 9001 manufacturing assembly and test
capabilities; and the industry-leading NI GPIC control system powered
by LabVIEW software.  
Through technical and business collaboration, the consortium is
creating a fully-integrated SmartPower Stack(TM) 100 kilowatt
three-phase inverter sub-system to significantly reduce the cost and
risk of deploying next-generation, smart grid-ready, digital energy
conversion systems. This effort represents the industry's first
collaboration to bring together best-in-class technologies and
graphical system design tools in a way that simultaneously reduces
cost and increases performance through technology integration that
spans the boundaries between each company. 
AgileSwitch President and CEO Rob Weber said, "This collaboration of
global leaders in all key technology domains will bring a new
generation of power stacks to the market that enable our customers to
develop the most innovative, next-generation solutions for renewable
energy applications like solar, wind, electric vehicles, high
efficiency drives, grid storage systems and uninterruptible power
SBE President and CEO Ed Sawyer commented, "This new architecture
integrates our industry leading film capacitor technology with
advanced gate drives, FPGA-based controls, bus bar architectures,
cooling solutions, and IGBT modules. The consortium is on track to
become a cost-competitive efficiency enabler for innovative companies
in the smart grid, motor drive and digital energy conversion
"We are excited to team up with other industry leaders to build the
next generation of power conversion systems," said Steve Bottari,
Fuji Electric's General Manager of Semiconductors. "The SmartPower
Stack(TM) integrated design will truly showcase Fuji Electric's
high-performance, high-reliability IGBTs."  
Methode Electronics Power Solutions Group General Manager Andrew Urda
added, "The combined innovation of the SmartPower Stack(TM)
consortium companies will provide the power electronics industry with
modular, high efficiency building bricks, enabling our customers to
deploy next-generation solutions today."  
National Instruments Principal Product Manager for Clean Energy
Technology Brian MacCleery remarked, "National Instruments is pleased
that the consortium selected the NI General Purpose Inverter
Controller and LabVIEW system design tools for their integrated
control system. The SmartPower Stack(TM) with NI GPIC will provide a
standard, modular building block for the electric power industry that
significantly reduces engineering cost and risk. Development teams
can expect to save at least 114 person-months of engineering cost per
design and complete their projects in less than half the time." 
About Methode Electronics
 Methode Electronics, Inc. (NYSE: MEI) is a
global developer of custom engineered and application specific
products and solutions with manufacturing, design and testing
facilities in China, Germany, India, Lebanon, Malta, Mexico, the
Philippines, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the
United States. Methode designs manufactures and markets devices
employing electrical, electronic, wireless, safety radio remote
control, sensing and optical technologies to control and convey
signals through sensors, interconnections and controls. Our business
is managed on a segment basis, with those segments being Automotive,
Interconnect, Power Products and Other. Our components are in the
primary end markets of the automobile, computer, information
processing and networking equipment, voice and data communication
systems, consumer electronics, appliances, aerospace vehicles and
industrial equipment industries. Further information can be found at
Methode's website at 
About SBE Inc.
 SBE Inc. is a leading developer and manufacturer of
film capacitor solutions that provide a much higher degree of
reliability, higher power density, and simpler cooling infrastructure
in demanding applications, particularly for
automotive/transportation, alternative energy, utilities, power
supplies/laser and military/aerospace. Originally a Sprague Electric
Plant, SBE has been manufacturing capacitors for over 50 years;
producing over a billion capacitors. With the newer development of
its DC Link Power Ring Film Capacitor(TM), SBE Inc. was recently
awarded a $9.1 Million grant by the Department of Energy to build a
world class facility for the manufacture of this line of capacitors
used in drive train inverters for plug-in hybrid and electric drive
vehicles. The company's headquarters, engineering, product
development center and manufacturing operation are located in Barre,
Vermont. Further information can be found at SBE's website at  
 AgileSwitch, LLC is developing transformative
technology that dramatically improves the performance and efficiency
of drivers for IGBT switches. IGBTs are used in a variety of power
converters including solar inverters, wind turbines, motor drives,
UPS, industrial machines, HEV, traction and power distribution. Power
converters have been incrementally improved over recent decades and
have reached the point where a large effort is needed to achieve a
small gain in performance or efficiency. The Company's technologies
can help significantly cut power loss in some applications and
provide substantial performance benefits in powering most electronic
equipment. The Company's technologies are specifically targeted
toward converters for systems focused on renewable energy (e.g.
solar, wind, smart grid, HEV) as well as other mission critical
applications (e.g. traction, UPS). AgileSwitch is supported by Ben
Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania. Further
information can be found at AgileSwitch's website at 
 Fuji Electric Corp. of America
is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fuji Electric Co., Ltd., and has been
responsible for sales and distribution of the company's products
since 1970. Fuji Electric Co., Ltd. has been developing power
electronics equipment since 1923, and is a global leader in
industrial products ranging from semiconductors, power supply, and
power generation equipment to AC drives and electric vehicle charging
stations. For more information please visit  
About National Instruments
 Since 1976, National Instruments
( has equipped engineers and scientists with tools that
accelerate productivity, innovation and discovery. NI's graphical
system design approach to engineering provides an integrated software
and hardware platform that speeds the development of any system
needing measurement and control. The company's long-term vision and
focus on improving society through its technology supports the
success of its customers, employees, suppliers and shareholders.  
Methode Electronics, Inc.
Cecilia Ostberg
Marketing Program Manager
Tel: 708-457-3286
SBE Inc.
Christine Sawyer
Director of Marketing
Tel: 802-476-4146
AgileSwitch, LLC 
Rob Weber
Tel: 610-889-2255
Fuji Electric Corp. of America
Doretta Caprarola
Marketing Manager 
Tel: 201-490-3933 
National Instruments
Julia Betts
Corporate Communications Manager
Tel: 512-683-8165
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