Analog specialist Apex targets printing market

NEW YORK—In another sign that Cirrus Logic Inc. is sharply focused on the consumer audio market, it has sold its Apex Precision Power business for $26 million to a group of private investors led by Alerion Capital.
Apex Microtechnology Inc. is now back in business as a stand-alone corporation, manufacturing high-precision analog components for four industry sectors: test and measurement, medical, aerospace and military. But it is the industrial market that Apex expects to garner most of its growth, said Greg Brennan, president and CEO, Apex, who has been with the company since the mid-1990s.

“Our business strategy continues to be in the analog power, precision power space that we’ve enjoyed over the last many years as a private company and public, and support industrial customers,” Brennan said. Apex has historically served the semiconductor capital equipment market, but it sees large growth opportunities in less cyclical areas, such as printing, he added.

Apex manufactures the high-voltage power operational amplifiers that are used to drive the print-heads on large industrial printers. And according to Brennan, its total available market ranges between $50 million and $70 million annually. “Ink-jet printing is in its infancy,” he asserted.

Apex will continue to seek applications that will help its customers manage the power dissipation in its end applications. “Our engineering force really understands the mechanical nature of what occurs in the circuit and manage the heat once it’s created—that’s what we are known for,” Brennan said.

While under the Cirrus Logic umbrella since July 2007, Apex added precision voltage references to complement its existing power operational and pulse width modulation (PWM) amplifiers. It has also supported its customers with the inherent electrical and thermal management issues of end-use circuitry requiring power levels of up to 50 A and 1200 V. These devices are typically used to generate motion control, such as driving piezoelectrical devices as well as brush and brushless DC motors.

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