Rutronik was founded in 1973 by Helmut Rudel in Ispringen near Pforzheim (Baden-Württemberg). Since its foundation, the company has developed from a one-man operation to one of the leading broadliners. Rutronik employs over 1,800 people worldwide. Supported by the corporate philosophy “Convincing through performance”, the distributor looks back on a successful company history of more than 40 years – with a growth rate that has always exceeded the market growth rate.

The subsidiary Rutronik Inc. serves the North American market. The Asian subsidiaries with seven branches in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Thailand are available to customers in Asia.

Interview with Roxana Nita, Regional Sales Manager at Rutronik Elektronische Bauelemente GmbH

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Roxana Nita: Rutronik offers technical, commercial and logistical advice, service and technical support across national borders. This ensures a consistently high level of quality worldwide.

For 2021 Rutronik is going to spread its activities in dedicated future markets like Automotive & E-Mobility, IioT & Internet of Everything, Advanced Robotic, Industry 4.0, Advanced Materials, Advanced Measurments, Processing & Analytics, AI, Automation, Energy, Biotechnology, Medical as well as Transportation, Logistics & Supply Chain.

E.E: What’s the news for 2021 about new products?

R.N: The circumstance that Rutronik acts as a problem solver is also evident in our odour eliminator based on UV-supported TiO2 photocatalysis (UVTP). This has already established itself in water and wastewater treatment, especially to ensure the quality of drinking water. In air purifiers they are still not very common. They are used in the construction industry and in some cities to reduce toxic pollutants in the air. Recent findings indicate that UVTP can also be used to ensure the microbiological safety of food.

The fact that this type of photocatalysis is also extremely effective against odours has not yet been widely discussed. Based on study results from the Japanese Kanagawa Institute of Industrial Science and Technology (KISTEC) and the Japan Food Research Laboratories, Rutronik has now developed an odour eliminator demonstrator. At the bottom of its cuboid housing (48 x 48 x 60mm), air flows into the device. A fan ensures that the air moves through the housing from bottom to top. Thereby it flows through a photo catalytic filter, which is located between two UVA-LEDs with a wavelength of 365nm and a drive current of 500mA.

To determine the VOC content, Rutronik uses the SGP MOX sensor from Sensirion. It is mounted next to the LED and is based on the so-called chemisorption of gases in the presence of oxygen. In this process, the undoped O2 atoms of the MOx enter into a bond with the odour molecules. The electrons released during this reaction lead to a change in the electrical resistance of a film of metal oxide (MOx) nanoparticles. In this way, the sensor detects a variety of VOCs and other gases that are crucial for odours and the quality of indoor air.

If the number of VOCs exceeds a certain value, the LED is activated. The irradiation time depends on the type and quantity of VOCs. As an option, the sensor readings can also be displayed so that users can always read the air quality.

E.E: What are the ranges of traded products?

R.N: The product portfolio includes semiconductors, passive and electromechanical components as well as embedded boards, storage & displays and wireless products. The target markets are primarily Automotive & E-Mobility, (I)IoT & IoE, Advanced Robotics, Industry 4.0, Biotechnology & Medical, Energy, Advanced Materials, Automation, Transportation, Logostics & Supply Chain and Advanced Measurement, Processing & Analytics, AI.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

R.N: The Corona virus (COVID-19) crisis is seriously threatening the Romanian economy and influencing the demand for electronic components. The depreciation of the national currency, restrictions induced by quarantine diminishing market request for several products have forced many local customers to postpone development of new projects, reduced production lowering purchases of electronic components, especially perceived as non-essential products.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

R.N: Due to the wide spreading of COVID-19 virus and different market behaviour, Romanian customers are facing several issues, translated in decrease of production, low request from market, limited availability of workforce, uncertainty of laws. Despite of that situation, our customers are still working. Nevertheless, they are also forced to re-evaluate their business models within the existing context, switching to more automation and non-contact technologies. This will open several new opportunities for electronic components market. We expect a significant increase in orders for the second half of 2021 and accelerated growth starting with 2022.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

R.N: There are several products, which deserve the label „most innovative” – all of our partners are dedicated innovation-driven companies developing and producing state-of-the-art products. Rutronik itself devoloped several solutions, as “one-stop” platforms option for customer development.

With the nRF9160 low power SiP (System-In-Package) with integrated LTE-M/NB-IoT modem and GPS, Nordic offers an approach that makes LTE technology possible for a variety of applications. It is also ideally suited for complex wireless design challenges. The high security aspect provided by the integrated central processing unit (CPU) Arm® Cortex®-M33 and the Arm TrustZone and Arm CryptoCell security technology are also special.

Or the FN980 series of state-of-the-art 5G data cards by Telit, providing a fast-track to market for ultrahigh-speed cellular mobile broadband end devices and networking equipment.

Also important is the Vishay microBRICKTM family, which received the “Most Innovative Products” of 2020 China AI Innovation Excellence Award. The modules convince by their compact and easy-to-use design, price-competitive solutions and an efficiency up to 95 % for POL conversion.

And last but not least the Minew MS46SF11 module with Nordics nRF52805 SoC. Its high performance Arm Cortex-M4 processor combined with compact size and really low power consumption makes it ideal for cost sensitive two-layer PCB wireless designs.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2021?

R.N: The pandemic will continue to accompany us for some time in the coming year and its effects on the global economy will not end with the turn of the year. It is therefore important to think long-term with foresighted planning and commitment. For us as a distributor, this means above all offering delivery reliability so that our customers can maintain their business operations. Nevertheless, we are confident that 2021 will bring many innovations and future-oriented approaches.