Microcontroller Improves Flexibility & Reliability of Evaporator Control Systems
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    24 Pharmaceutical Preparations
    29 Special Purpose Machinery
UK-based Genevac Sales Development company designs, builds and markets laboratory evaporation systems, with applications in the Pharmaceutical and Biotech industries. Prior to the Application Experiment it had experience in design of electronic control systems using discrete components only. At the start of the project it had 16 employees, of which two were engaged on the electronics side, and a turnover of 1.3 M¤.
The technology chosen for the new evaporator control system is microcontroller-based control system. The system comprises of a micro-controller for generic processing, together with A to D converters and peripheral interfaces for display, control and data collection, this directly replaces the existing control system which utilises discrete analogue component technology. The objective of introducing the new technology was to reduce component count, increase flexibility by allowing software changes to meet different customer needs, to increase ease of servicing and reliability and to allow interfacing with automated chemical process systems.
The project budget was 28 K¤ and the development took 11 months from start to the first sales of evaporator units including the new controller. The project costs were recouped within a few months of completion, and it is hoped that the future benefits will give a high Return on Investment, with the initial evaluation forecasting a ROI of 680% on the original 28 K¤ investment over 2 years.
This project will be of interest to other manufacturers of scientific apparatus, which increasingly needs to be interfaced to computers for control and data logging. Also to any company whose products are high cost, low volume units where the electronic control is a small but vital part.
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Microcontroller technology provided Sovereign Centre with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

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