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Meet Tom Bresele: one of the reasons our clients keep coming back!

Image of Tom Bresele - President of Electronic Craftsmen


Like many people these days, Tom wears multiple hats - not only is he our President and Engineering Manager, he’s also our “innovative leader” with a constant craving to learn. He came to us with solid credentials - a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from esteemed University of Waterloo in 1981 followed by his licence as a Professional Engineer in 1984.


Electronic Craftsmen is the perfect place for Tom and his expertise because the complex transformers & inductors that we design are essentially electric devices with multi-dimensional mechanical, environmental and thermal characteristics.


Tom takes pleasure in the challenge of figuring out how to build a part after he's calculated the electrical design. Once the technical requirements are met, he puts his creative talents to work on how to best assemble the device to withstand the rigours of time and abuse of its intended environment. Many of our parts are used in highly sensitive and demanding environments and this is where Tom’s expertise is critical.


There is very little new information available on the science of transformers – most books on the subject were written 50+ years ago. In today’s obsession with “digital disruption”, the design of transformers and inductors has become a bit of a lost science; here at Electronic Craftsmen we're reinventing this technology  by combining years of experience with state-of-the-art materials.


One of Tom’s most significant contributions to E Craftsmen is his understanding of Thermodynamics.


He is skilled in the complexity of thermal transfer within the windings & core of a magnetic device and in the mechanics of moving heat energy using air and/or fluid flow. Why is this so important? Transformer heating is arguably the most potentially destructive element in a design and understanding how to effectively extract it is crucial to the long-term reliability of any part.


Tom is renowned for his collaboration with leading aircraft designers on Boeing and Airbus platforms - we’re very proud to say that our parts have been flying in many of these aircraft for over 35 years.


Tom is an essential asset to our clients and to the Electronic Craftsmen team.


He has the drive and the know-how to consistently make parts that surpass expectation – that’s why our clients keep coming back!


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Enclosed-Style Slim Line LED Lighting Step-Down Autotransformers


Image of IP66 Enclosed Style LED Step-Down Autotransformers

Sometimes there just isn't room inside a fixture or junction box to install a standard internal-mount transformer.


That’s why we're excited to introduce a practical addition to our Slim Line 347V & 480V step-down autotransformer family.


These easy-to-install versions of our popular step-down transformers are uniquely designed for external-mount applications. The enclosed-style autotransformer is easily attached on the outside via an integral threaded nipple inserted through a standard ½" NPT hole or knockout. All wiring is contained within the lighting fixture!


Rugged, compact and UL Listed for both Canada and the U.S., this part is a simple and elegant way to solve your commercial, industrial or street lighting LED lighting application.


Enclosed-type external mount LED lighting autotransformers are currently available in three models:

  • Model 210041E, 347:240V @ 50VA
  • Model 210100E, 347:120V @ 25VA
  • Model 211063E, 480:240V @ 35VA


  • Class: 105°C
  • Length: 2.07"
  • Width: 1.91"
  • Height:1.57"
  • Nipple dimensions: approx. 0.47" threads above 0.13" shoulder, outside diameter 0.82" (½" NPT)
  • Weight: 0.8 lbs.

Models are also available with an internal auto-resettable thermal fuse:

  • Model 210041F, 347:240V @ 50VA
  • Model 210100F, 347:120V @ 25VA
  • Model 211063F, 480:240V @ 35VA

Download complete specifications at our Slim Line Transformers page or contact E Craftsmen for details!

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Offshore Partnership

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E Craftsmen has long standing relationships with trusted vendors located in China, Taiwan and India and we can utilize these partners when higher volumes would suggest cost-reduction potential.


We value our relationships with these vendors and have been working with some of them for upwards of 10 years.   Each of these companies has their own unique competencies and we select the most suitable manufacturer based on the part parameters.


Any effort to utilize these partners is conducted in a way that is fully visible and trouble-free for our customers. Typically, all production parts are shipped to our facility in Waterloo, Ontario, for 100% conformance testing before delivery to our customer.  In some cases, however, we can facilitate a drop-shipment program from our vendor directly to the customer’s own off-shore facility; of course, this scenario may require additional quality assurance provisions.


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Renewable Energy - Taking Risk out of Transformers and Inductors


Today's sophisticated renewable energy products place significant demands on magnetics

Complex configurations, unique heating requirements, switching harmonics - all in smaller packages. In the customer’s eyes, if it's not efficient, reliable and cost-effective, it won't make the cut. The risks are inherent in all new designs.

Image of a DC Inductor
One of the major goals in new product development is to mitigate risk:
  • Customer risk that the product won’t meet their needs
  • Management risk that development and manufacturing costs will erode margins
  • Supplier risk in that the components might not meet tight-tolerance specifications or won’t be delivered on-time

E Craftsmen is a long-time expert in the business of developing and delivering custom magnetics for high risk applications. Send us your toughest design challenge — We do power perfectly!


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Quote Your Custom Magnetics Faster with this One-Page Specification Checklist

When you’re pricing your next custom transformer or inductor, it’s critical to get the specifications right, the first time. Our products and your applications demand precision…usually that involves some back-and-forth with engineers to gather all the information needed to generate an accurate quotation.


E Craftsmen offers a wide range of custom magnetics, each one with its own unique specification, so we created this one-page guide to use as a checklist to help you scope out all the details.


Our Quick Specifications Guide for Custom Magnetics will help you ensure that you’ve acquired all the pertinent details from electrical specifications to physical constraints and regulatory needs. Download the guide here and keep it handy to take along to your next design review meeting. We hope it’s a big help!

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We've reengineered the E Craftsmen brand

Image of Finger pressing the Electronic Craftsmen logo


As an engineering firm, research and continuous improvement are key elements to our success. Now, we’re taking those best practices beyond our products and apply them to our company brand too.


We did some recent research with our customers as well as within our industry, and discovered that even though the E Craftsmen name was introduced nearly 10 years ago, the Electronic Craftsmen name remained widely used.


So, we decided to borrow from our past, and to build something new for our future.


Moving forward, we’ll be using both the Electronic Craftsmen and E Craftsmen brand names.  There is no need to change your bookmarks or saved email addresses for E Craftsmen.


So, what’s in a name?

As our primary focus is “power electronics”, emphasizing this in our name provides both, clarity on our specialty, and credibility to our brand, so we’re bringing back the prominence of the Electronic Craftsmen name.  E Craftsmen will continue to be used as our corporate name and as a shortened form for our website and email addresses. 


We’re particularly excited to introduce our new logo! It’s already been applied to our website and we’re in the process of adding it to other materials such as marketing collateral, forms, and stationery.


Electronic Craftsmen logo


What’s staying the same is our commitment to continuing to provide innovative custom transformers and inductor solutions for our customers.


Let us know if you “like” our brand refresh or send us your feedback at [email protected]


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Looking for a new Custom Transformer & Inductor Manufacturer?


Image of people collaborating on a project

With over 60 years of working with new clients, Electronic Craftsmen has learned how important it is to research market demand and select the right manufacturing partners before investing in developing a new product or even a prototype. From our perspective, here are some practical steps we encourage our customers to take before taking the plunge.


Step 1: Test market demand before investing in product development


We have countless stories of new customers who invested in developing a magnetic component for their new product, and subsequently learned the product did not sell. We don’t want this to be you!

  1. Evaluate the competition to see how your product competes or differentiates itself.
  2. Do you need to protect your intellectual property with a patent?
  3. Test your new product (concept or prototype) with your target market or existing customer base.
Step 2: Buy or build?


Do you have proven capabilities in designing or specifying magnetics? Precision can be critical in harsh environments with temperature fluctuation, movement and vibration. If this isn’t your core capability, hire an expert to design and manufacture your components. An experienced manufacturing partner will not only help you avoid the risks of bad design but can provide advice on opportunities to simplify and reduce cost when designing your prototype. This can create long term savings and reduced issues with your customer base.


Step 3: Find the right manufacturing partner for your needs


Here are four important considerations in selecting the right manufacturing partner:


1. Location. While overseas partners may appear to have better pricing, domestic manufacturers provide the advantage of:

  • simplifying product transportation and logistics,
  • reducing language, cultural, and time-zone challenges
  • participating in face-to-face meetings

2. Find Customer References. Leverage several resources to look for client references on manufacturers you are considering:

  • Research online for manufacturers in your industry with specific search terms that target your specific needs.
  • Connect with fellow engineers and entrepreneurs in your network


3. Create a short list. Narrow down your search based on confidence gained from the following:

  • Is their website helpful and easy to navigate?
  • Is it evident that they can do specifically what you need them to do?
  • Are they capable? Can they provide engineering design insights you may not have considered?
  • Do they have credentials?
  • Are they familiar with your industry?
  • Do they explain how they do business?

Interview Potential candidates. Take a critical, holistic view of each manufacturer on your list, and investigate beyond cost quotes and payment options. Ultimately, your choice of manufacturing partner should depend on the following characteristics:

  • A demonstrated history of know-how in design & manufacture of a wide range of custom parts
  • A responsive, welcoming & helpful Customer Service team
  • Established production capabilities and quality performance
  • Willingness to foster a supportive, collaborative and mutually beneficial relationship

A good partner will be interested in your success and will appreciate the professionalism you apply in selecting them.


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Electronic Craftsmen: A trusted name since 1956, turns 60

Picture of Electronic Craftsmen's building in Waterloo, Ontario

In a sea of start-ups, Waterloo Region doesn’t often revel in a 60-year anniversary. But, on November 12, 2017,  in a quiet business park at what used to be the northern edge of Waterloo, Electronic Craftsmen celebrated 60 years of business evolution and innovation.


Electronic Craftsmen has been creating custom transformers and inductors in Waterloo since 1956.


“I have the financial records from that first year of business,” says Tom Bresele, who started as a junior design engineer at Electronic Craftsmen 33 years ago before climbing the ranks to his current role as President. “It was ridiculous…something like $200 or $300 in sales.”


Few records exist documenting the early days of the business.  Financial records indicate that the company was incorporated as an enterprise in 1956 after purchasing assets from the Electro Coil Company. Those early years housed 15 employees in the original Bridgeport and Weber location and in 1967, following the purchase of the business by Fred Sayers, the growing company migrated to 73 Schaefer Street, which continues to serve as its home today.  The company was subsequently purchased from the estate of Fred Sayers by Management in 2009.


Staffed by many like Bresele who have occupied their desk for 10, 20 or more than 30 years, the Electronic Craftsmen team has seen the ebbs and flows of manufacturing in the area over time. Sixty years of business in Waterloo Region called for adaptation to ever-changing environments.


“Electronic Craftsmen is in Waterloo Region because this area used to be the home to industries we worked with most: radio and television,” says Bresele, naming a tiny slice of the manufacturing culture that the Region – and Electronic Craftsmen – once relied on so heavily.


But adapting to regional change isn’t Electronic Craftsmen’s only forte. Given the global and constant need for power electronics and energy storage applications, Electronic Craftsmen often finds itself at the hand of international matters or trend shifts.


Like a lot of businesses following September 11, 2001, Electronic Craftsmen felt the change in economy. "Our clients in aviation dropped orders dramatically, but on the flip side, we saw airport security business increase exponentially. That carried the business for the year,” says Blaine Gray, Vice President at E Craftsmen. Industry changes like offshore developments, increased shipping rates and dying technologies have been a challenge for the team at Electronic Craftsmen, but are also at the heart of their resilience.


“Change or die, I call it. We’ll always adapt to what our customers need,” Bresele says, having directed the business through a number of the aforementioned industry shifts. “We’ll always have an emerging-technology customer in our pipeline.” And they have. Electronic Craftsmen has grown immensely from early business of making small parts for communications technologies. The team of about 55 now serves international clients in fields that range from aviation, aerospace & military to renewables and industrial automation. 


"It's a lot of diversity. We’ll churn out 300 or so designs every year and that’ll turn into 100 different new parts; we learn something new every single day,” says Gray. Bresele doesn’t see an end to this learning in sight. “People will always need transformers, maybe differently, but we’ll adapt to that, too. We’ve made it 60 years; we’ve got another 60 ahead of us.”

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Why Build Custom Inductors and Transformers

Custom water cooling transformer


Manufacturing is making a comeback in North America.  But downward pressure persists from offshore commodity suppliers so time & cost-saving is the nature of the game.


R&D for new products with improved features, in smaller packages in increasingly shorter time frames is, for many, the only answer to declining revenues.


Why choose custom-made versus standard parts?


Logically, the first step for a designer to control material costs is to source standard, off-the-shelf components. The belief is that settling for a standard part will provide initial cost-savings vs. the superior choice of a custom-made part that will better suit the application. While this may be the case from a basic purchasing perspective, there are a number of design issues that may challenge that "price-only" choice over the long-term. (Not to mention that "catalogue" parts are rarely "on-the-shelf" anymore.)


When it comes to magnetics, there are several factors to consider

Form and Fit: A Custom part expertly designed with consideration to dimensions, physical constraints and terminations will likely yield a much more effective solution rather than simply “settling” for a standard part that doesn't really fit. Unexpected time needed to rework a packaging layout can result in excessive design-cycle costs. Experienced magnetic designers have exposure to a wide range of materials and innovative methods to develop a part tailored to fit just right.


Function: Losses in a transformer or inductor due to ripple currents and harmonic content can cause unexpected over-heating. Weeks lost in waiting for delivery of a low-cost catalogue part followed by set-backs due to inadequate or even dangerous performance can put the development cycle of a new product into jeopardy.


Duty cycle: Expert attention given to intermittent operation duty cycle in a custom design generally results in a dramatically smaller, cooler and cost-effective part than originally estimated.


Expert Collaboration: Often, doing it yourself takes more time and leads to frustration. Working with a professional that is skillfully trained in the design of magnetics can offer invaluable insights and know-how that are just not available from that “order-taker” at the electrical distributor.


All in all, what appears to be short-term gain can result in long-term pain when it comes to procuring parts best suited to the application.  Don’t just “settle”… Send us your specs and we'll give you a qualified quote! on a better design.


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Get quick delivery of LED lighting transformers - how we make payment options easy

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If you’re like most people, when you find just the right product or part that you need, you want to get on with buying it right away. We completely understand that.


While most of our existing clients who order custom inductors and transformers set up Net 30 payment terms, new customers who are looking at standard products like our Slim Line LED Lighting Step-Down Autotransformers often want quick delivery — and they can’t afford to take the extra time to set up payment terms.


That’s why we accept VISA, MasterCard, EFT/ACH or e-transfer payment options for those smaller or expedited shipments, so you can get on with building your application without the extra paper work.

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