Microcontroller application for wood-based heating systems
New technologies contribute to environmental care
Technologies used

PCB, Microcontroller

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    29 Machine building
    28 metallic products
IMB Industrieofen- und Maschinenbau Jena GmbH is a SME with 30 employees having a long tradition in the development and manufacturing of boilers for wood-based heating systems. Furthermore, the company offers other products, e.g. stress relief furnaces used in the glass industry. As a typical representative of the machine building industry sector of the former GDR, the company has experiences and corresponding production facilities in mechanical engineering, but there was no knowledge or experience in microelectronics before the FUSE Application Experiment. IMB was a real newcomer in this field.

The products of the company are used in heating systems for detached houses, small company buildings with location in wood areas. Because of several state programs for introduction of environmental care heating systems these products are sold mostly in Germany but also in North- and East-Europe.

The objective of the experiment was the improvement of the competitive position and a turnover increase by designing a microcontroller based control unit for IMB's existing boiler product family "LIESTATHERM". The product family covers a wide range of different power ranges and boiler sizes and is used as a wood based heating system for detached houses, but also for small and medium sized office buildings or workshops. The substitution of the existing conventional control unit consisting of simple switches and temperature controller by a microcontroller based solution allows the implementation of additional service functions and enables the system to work together with other heating systems (e.g. heat pumps or solar heatings).

In order to guarantee the design flexibility which is necessary to adapt the control unit to the special needs of one customer, and of course due to economic reasons, it was necessary to install the corresponding microcontroller know-how at IMB. Additionally, the work with a PCB CAD system had to be learned in order to have all necessary know-how in this field available for future projects. The result of the Application Experiment is a modular control unit that can be used without hardware changes for the whole product family only by doing software modifications. It is now possible to program the heating process and to control a combination of different heating systems. The improved product contains a PIC16C65 of Arizona Microchip. For the programming and implementation, the development software MPLAB, a PIC start programmer and a PID-Dem-Evaluation Board were used. The PCB design was realised with the EAGLE system.

Within the experiment IMB acquired know-how in the management of projects using microelectronics, especially PCB and microcontroller technology. Because of the lack of any experience in this field, this was very important. The main lessons learned referred to handling of the corresponding design tools and best practice in design methodology. Furthermore, the engineers of the company are now familiar with programming and application of microcontrollers, PCB design, simulation and manufacturing as well as test strategies for products based on these technologies.

The Application Experiment duration was 11 months. The total costs were 82K€ of which 44K€ was the FUSE investment. The payback period for the FUSE investment will be in the range of 18 months. Assuming a life time of 5 years, the total ROI for the FUSE investment will be about 780%.
IMB Industrieofen- und Maschinenbau Jena GmbH
Camburger Straße 68
D-07722 Jena

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

PCB, Microcontroller technology provided IMB Industrieofen- und Maschinenbau Jena GmbH 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.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.

Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
Gesellschaft fur Mikroelektronikanwendung Chemnitz mbH
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D-09113 Chemnitz