Title
Gas heating appliance controller
PIC's integration for a 150% sales boost
Technologies used

Microcontroller

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    28 Manufacture of fabricated metal products, except machinery and equipment
Abstract
Bodart & Gonay is a Belgian SME (77 staff) created in 1957 and based in Theux (Liege region). It is mainly active in the following fields:
- design, making and marketing of gas, wood and coal stoves, fireplace inserts and home heating appliances (81% of the turnover)
- production of outdoor and apartment block letter-boxes (7% of the turnover)
- subcontracting in sheet metal folding (12% of the turnover)

It markets its products mainly in Belgium (25% of market shares for heating appliances), but is also active in other EC countries (France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Netherlands, United Kingdom) and in some East-European countries (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia).

The company has over 40 years of experience in sheet metal machining, and no experience at all in microelectronics.
The technical goals that Bodart & Gonay wishes to attain through this project are improvements in the use, control and quality of the combustion process of one of their gas heating appliances ("Ambiance", that will become "Harmonie") by introducing a microcontroller. The current technologies used for Ambiance are mechanical and thermodynamic technologies. The mechanical part of the current product causes some problems in terms of i.e. precise temperature regulation, ease of use, etc..
Behind the technical goals, there are also multiple strategic goals. Bodart & Gonay wants to:
- both stay at the technological top for its current and future customers and increase the technical edge regarding its competitors
- conquer the gas appliances market
- increase its export level
- reinforce its leading position on the Belgian market. For example, considering the Belgian market only, Bodart & Gonay reasonably estimates that not only the improved regulation but also the easier use of the new appliance can boost its sales from 600 to over 1,500 units per year even if the new product is more expensive for the consumers.
Furthermore, this project would enable the company to master the whole product and reuse its newly acquired microelectronic experience for further developments.

In addition to the economical benefits deriving from the achievement of this project, it has also enabled the company to hire one extra staff member. If, given the positive results of the project, Bodart & Gonay decides to increase its involvement in microelectronics, many more jobs could also be created.

The project lasted 7 months and required a 40,000 EUR budget. One of its initial improvements (remote controller) has been postpone as an option that will be developed later by the company. As far as the other improvements are concerned, their achievement has been successful. The expected ROI (Return On Investment) is 472.5% over 7 years. The payback period is assessed at 1,7 year.
Company
Bodart & Gonay
Rue de la Hoegne, 19
B-4910 Theux
Belgium

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontroller technology provided Bodart & Gonay 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
ARAMIS
Faculté Polytechnique de Mons
Service d' Electronique
Boulevard Dolez, 31
B-7000 Mons
Belgium