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
|Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
||Metallic products, except machinery
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
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
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.
|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.
||Guiding Technology Transfer Node
|For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Bart De Mey
Imec, Kapeldreef 75,
B-3001 Leuven, Belgium