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Aug
19
2019

Becker Avionics Lets Customers Lead Product Ideas

Posted 32 days ago ago by jhadmin

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Becker Avionics has been innovating high-quality products since 1945 when Max Egon Becker created his first aircraft radio receiver. Within three years, he was building luxury car radios for Mercedes.


“Max was a great innovator and great thinker,” Becker Avionics USA President Luis Gonzales related. “He had a passion both for automotive racing and flying.”
Becker’s focus on the general aviation market, especially gliders, naturally led to equipment attributes that all pilots desire. “It required them to build light equipment that was very reliable,” explained Lee Benson, a senior consultant for Becker USA. “That continues in the ethos of Becker today.”

Becker remains a high-tech family company, now under the direction of Max’s son, Roland, with a focus on digital avionics technology. It creates and manufactures communications, navigation, surveillance and search-and-rescue equipment for general aviation, air traffic control, law enforcement, and military operations throughout the world. “He took the company to that next level,” Gonzales said. 

The Becker Philosophy

Talk a bit with its leaders and strategists, and it quickly becomes clear that Becker Avionics derives its innovation from its razor-sharp focus on customers. “The challenge that we face every day is to solve a problem for a customer, period,” Gonzales related. “That’s where the innovation comes from.” 

Becker leaders listen, observe, and use their know-how to create or modify a product that solves a problem.“We think about you the pilot and what you need, what environment you are operating in,” Gonzalez continued. “Being customer-centric as opposed to product-technology centric has allowed us to build products that solve problems for our current customer base. We’re not creating products; we’re creating solutions to problems. That is our promise.”

Some companies seem to engineer for engineering’s sake, observed David Oglesbee, Becker Avionics USA director of sales and marketing, calling it “the innovation for the purpose of an engineer to be self-satisfied that he innovated something.” That’s not Becker. “Our innovation is driven by our customers,” Oglesbee said. For example, they were working with a King Air customer to provide a digital audio system, but the only way to fit the remote system was to remove the toilet. The customer didn’t want that. So Becker invented a system that eliminates the remote box by containing all the components in the control head.

“That’s a perfect example of how the need of the customer pushed us to develop a product,” Oglesbee said. “Everything we do is based on customer need and the desire for the customer to operate an aircraft in a safe and efficient manner…That’s our promise. We’ll be there for you.” Oglesbee has personally followed through on that promise by immediately flying out to help customers whether it was a holiday or not.

Becker considers its people and their services as part of the product, Gonzalez adds; that includes him and the sales team, engineers, and technicians. Their technology provides the tools to solve problems in shipping, repair, production or the field.   During brainstorming, the Becker team focuses on ways to help pilots do their jobs, such as providing more information, saving time, offering a different audio reception perspective, or enabling the pilot to make a decision faster, Gonzales said. All these results could help save a life on a search-and-rescue mission or law enforcement call.


The Becker brainstorming team also constantly thinks about ways to be more responsive – how to speed up repairs, how to ship products faster, how to provide customer onsite support quickly, Gonzales related. “The Becker promise to my way of thinking as an operator is that when you’ve got a problem, we’re going to be there,” Benson said. “Service is what Becker’s all about. It’s real easy to buy equipment; it’s real difficult to maintain it. As a prime example of Becker’s maintenance expertise, Benson points to the DVCS6100 system, the first-ever digital voice communication system to be fully ETSO and TSO certified. It carries an extraordinary 10,000-hour MTBF. “That’s service to me,” Benson said. “Something you can put in an aircraft and run it for years and forget about it. But when it breaks, we’ll be there to help you.”


Becker Products

Becker Avionics Group, based in Baden-Baden, Germany, expanded to the U.S. back in 1975. Its North American facility based in Miramar, Florida, serves customers in the Americas, Australia, and Japan with local production and services. It’s an FAA Part 21 facility that can repair all of the more than 90 Becker products under Part 145. Becker also has a Beijing, China, office to serve East Asia, an engineering division in Wroclaw, Poland, and a production site in Beaucourt, France. Becker supports customers everywhere in the world – and in space – with the exception of Antarctica (so far), Benson said. “Roland Becker has created a truly multinational corporation,” Gonzalez said. Yet it’s still small enough to be flexible, he added. 

Becker Avionics USA focuses on four product areas of expertise, Gonzalez said: VHF/UHF radio communications, audio, search and rescue, and air traffic control.

 
The digital intercom is one of its primary products, with its new AMU6500 coming out in the third quarter this year. The product line includes ATC radios mounted in control towers around the world, audio panels for law enforcement and EMS and paramilitary aircraft, a 2.5-inch form factor VHS radio, remote VHS radio, personal locator beacons, and new to the market, the AvioScout moving map navigation and mission management software system with 3D audio and Bluetooth.

Becker still supplies VHF transceivers to the glider market, while also providing highly sophisticated audio panels for C-130s. If you need more than the standard one to two transceivers that come standard from the OEM, Becker is the solution, Oglesbee said.

Sometimes customers need what new regulations require, so Becker created a new BXT6553 family Mode 5 transponder to comply with the new U.S. and European ADS-B mandates that take effect on 1 January 2020. It’s been approved for the Part 25 ADS-B retrofit market. It’s designed for a rigorous flying environment characteristic of rotorcraft operations.

The Future is Here

“The future for Becker is brighter than ever,” Gonzales said. “We have many new solutions, products, and services on the horizon.” Of course, no matter what the product, the razor-sharp focus on customers will continue. “We’re in lockstep with our customers and what their needs are,” Oglesbee said. “We’re constantly receiving feedback. We’ve got an eager engineering team that’s ready to take those ideas and develop a product. There are so many products in development right now.”

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