Wilk Elektronik SA is a Polish manufacturer of memory and storage products under the Goodram and IRDM brands. Company was founded in 1991 as a distributor and it has become the leading provider of computer memory in Poland after just a few years. At the end of the 1990s, as much as 70% of the memory modules sold in Poland came from Wilk Elektronik. At the end of 2003, Wilk Elektronik SA launched the first RAM memory modules manufactured in Poland under the Goodram brand. The next step was the introduction of Goodram USB flash drives and memory cards in 2006. To boost the development of this product line, in 2008 Wilk Elektronik SA established a strategic cooperation with the global leader of flash technology – Toshiba, currently Kioxia. Products with the Goodram logo are available in countries all over Europe, in Asia and Africa. Between 2013 and 2014, the company undertook a new challenge, launching a new product line aimed at industrial solutions – Goodram Industrial. The product group includes memory card (including Compact Flash), solid state drives and memory modules for various industrial applications. Second brand of Wilk Elektronik SA is the IRDM and it is aimed on gamers, professionals and enthusiasts. That brand covers three different product groups: DRAM memory modules, SSDs and memory cards. Interview with Wiesław Wilk, CEO at Wilk Elektronik SA. Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company? Wiesław Wilk: Our company focuses on few areas, targeting products for different type of consumers and they needs. IRDM products are dedicated for anyone who’s in need of the highest performing and the most reliable products to fulfill their jobs or hobbies, without compromising on other features such as design or affordability. Potential customers include photographers, graphic designers, developers, filmmakers or extreme sports enthusiasts, gamers, esport players or modders. Goodram provides proven and appreciated products for regular customers. Products are also delivered to organizations and institutions, including state ones. Much more specialized products are offered by Goodram Industrial. That brand was established out of the need to create reliable and durable memory products for advanced technologies. It includes a series of memory cards, USB, SSD and memory modules, used in internal and external industrial applications, often operating in extreme environmental conditions. As a manufacturer we provide customized memory for customers, in line with their expectations and meeting the technical requirements. Finished products go hand in hand with service and technical support for business partners. E.E: What’s the news about new products? W.W: As for new products, during the IFA fair in Berlin (2-6.09.2022) company presented brand new IRDM DDR5 RGB modules, DDR4 RGB modules with white heatsink and concept of new SSD IRDM Ultimate PCIe gen.5. Recently, Goodram Industrial announced starting an internal test program and successfully produced modules in DDR5 UDIMM and SODIMM technology with frequencies of 4800 MHz. Customers have to wait a little longer for the memory premiere – the official validation program and distribution of the first batch of the product will start at the beginning of Q4 2022. The manufacturer’s plans do not end there, because Wilk Elektronik announces the introduction of modules with a frequency of up to 6400 MHz to the offer. E.E: What are the ranges of products? W.W: Goodram is the leading brand of DRAM memory modules and SSDs in Poland. Company sells that products in whole Europe. What is more, offer also includes memory cards and USB flash drives. Wilk Elektronik offers a wide range of solutions – both for everyday needs and business, as well as more advanced dedicated to the industry. Wiesław Wilk, CEO at Wilk Elektronik SA E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active? W.W: The market in which Wilk Elektronik is active is full of strong and well known competitors. The market is constantly developing due to technological progress in the industry and customer demands for various types of solutions. Company’s strategy is focusing on a gaming IRDM brand used in the fast-developing gaming sector and Goodram Industrial solutions dedicated to the industrial sector such as power tools, fridges, electric cars and even aircraft. E.E: What can you tell us about market trends? W.W: As for Flash memory products, we are still in a downward trend, although the price reductions are already very small – the highest capacities of flash components have already reached record low prices. The main reason is not as much the development of technology and natural drops in production costs (per GB of data), but the general situation on the world market. Post-Covid perturbations (economic crisis, high level of inflation around the world) and those related to the war in Ukraine (energy crisis) mean that the demand of the end-customer is much lower than normally at this time of the year. All this forces fierce price rivalry between producers, many sell below costs, just to earn money. Probably the oversupply in the market will persist for some time and we do not expect price increases in the short term. On the other hand, prices are already at such a low level that we do not expect further significant price drops. When it comes to industrial FLASH and SSD products, the situation here is quite stable in terms of the prices of components supplied to us. The rather boring trend was not even slightly shaken by the forecasts of escalation of the conflict between China and Taiwan. However, we note that the suppliers of industrial-class equipment have solidly fortified their price positions and are not giving way to any negotiations. Obviously, the specificity of the market in which we are embedded as a department is governed by different rules than in the case of the commercial market. Discounts on commercial SSDs have actually been from the beginning of Q2 this year, but a sharp downward trend has been very visible since May and is expected to last until the end of the year – currently the price of electronics is at the lowest level in at least 4 years. The smallest capacities are already within the limits of production costs, there are still possibilities at higher ones and the price keeps dropping regularly despite the fact that it was “impossible” a week earlier. On the other hand, we have a client who has already understood the situation perfectly and despite low sales prices, expects opportunities and prices on the verge of margin and profitability. Both Q2 and Q3 are very low sales, but the competition is not idle and, due to the lack of other possibilities, sells the goods at extremely low prices just to rotate the warehouse, also the price war is visible on every possible market because everyone wants to make a living. Controller manufacturers agree that this is the worst year in the history of SSDs and their main goal is to survive at the moment – the ongoing war in Ukraine does not help at all, but only intensifies the effects of poor sales, according to experts, in 2023 it will not be better, but we sincerely hope that the experts are very good they are wrong. As for memory modules, the market situation is similar to that of other product groups. The conflict in Ukraine caused the demand for modules to decline and customers buy the equipment more conservatively. Despite the war, the earlier pandemic or the complicated situation in Taiwan, the availability of components for module production is good. E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed? W.W: The most innovative are the DDR5 memory modules. This latest generation will develop more and more, which can be seen in our competitors’ offer. As a company we also introduced Goodram DDR5 memory modules. We did not forget about gamers – under the IRDM brand we launched DDR5 RGB memory. When it comes to SSDs, the biggest novelty is the PCIe 5.0. We plan to launch this product in Q1 2023. For this moment the biggest innovation in our SSD portfolio is IRDM PRO M.2 PCIe 4 x4 with 8-channel Phison E18 controller and DRAM buffer. E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022? W.W: Your question is very general – I understand that it is about assessing the trends in the memory market. The memory market is part of the entire economy, and what you can see is that we are on the brink of a deep economic crisis, where the covid epidemic and the war started by Russia in Ukraine are, in my opinion, the main causes. We, as a producer of dram memory modules SSD and USB memory, operate in two market segments. The first and the largest are the memories, which at the end go to computers working in offices or in computers for gamers, in this segment for 3 months we can see a large decrease in the demand for computers and, consequently, for our products. In my opinion, it will not get any better for the next 6-9 months. The second segment is industrial memory designed to work at high or very low temperatures, in devices or computers controlling the operation of airplanes, trains, and entire production processes in industry. In this segment, I am an optimist, despite the economic slowdown, we do not see a lower demand, even greater than in previous periods. I predict an increase in sales in the next 6-9 months. Is this sector detached from trends in the entire economy, of course not, but the increased location of production in Europe is of great importance. Concerns and large companies have seen in covid how much they depend on the production of integrated circuits in Asia, In China we still have covid restrictions which result in longer or broken supply chains and on top of this a tense situation on the border of the war between China and Taiwan. All this together means that our current and new customers, wanting to ensure the continuity of production for their factories, try to place as many orders as possible to producers located in Europe. We are the only producer of dram modules in Europe that’s why I am an optimist for this segment.