Title
Electronic control for gas-combustion heaters
Electronics help gas-fueled space-heaters to position themselves in high-end product segment, leading to increased profit margin
Technologies used

Microcontroller

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    28 Metallic products, except machinery
Abstract
Peeters-Buelens is a Belgian SME, employing 37 people, founded over 25 years ago. Its business is the design, manufacturing and sales of individual space heating appliances (stoves, inserts and fireplaces), operating on wood, coal, oil and gas. Its annual turnover is about 3 M. Appliances are mostly sold under the brand name Peeters, which is a registered trademark in Belgium and most of the neighboring countries. Its products have no electronic content, so the company is a non-microelectronics company. It is selling its product mainly on the domestic market, and in neighboring countries, through a network of retailers. With the technology available prior to this project, it was difficult to obtain a position in the high-end market.

The objectives of the AE were to improve the image of its products, giving additional comfort and the possibility to add more sophisticated, energy-saving and user-friendly options without significantly increasing the basic cost price. This goal was reached by replacing an electromechanical system-grouping ignition by pilot flame, ignited by manual piezo igniter, flame failure device by use of thermocouple and regulation of the gas burner, by an electronic device.

Target markets are the high-end space heaters, adding a lot more features regarding application, security and comfort of use. The increased market price (up to approx. 200 ) is acceptable for the increased features on that type of appliance and allows generating higher profit margin, even with increased cost price.

The technology chosen was an 8-bit micro-controller. The result of the project is a generic controller that can be used with a wide variety of sensors and actuators, and that can be used in a wide range of products.

The project was approved for a total duration of 10 months. The development started April 1st '99 and ended December 31st, 1 month ahead of schedule. The project was funded by FUSE, for a total of 43 kECU.

The payback period of the investment is calculated to 24 months. The return-on-investment is estimated at 1177% over a period of 10 years, or 770% if we include the investment for industrialisation.

The most important lesson learned was that the company learned how to modify and adapt the program for the micro-controller, so that it is now able to apply the same technology in other actual and future products.
Company
Peeters-Buelens n.v.
Harensesteenweg 58-72
B-1800 Vilvoorde
Belgium

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontroller technology provided Peeters-Buelens n.v. 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
IMEC
Bart De Mey
Imec, Kapeldreef 75,
B-3001 Leuven, Belgium