Title
FPGA based system for multi-axes servo controllers
FPGA replaces standard logic allowing increase of performance, boardsize reduction and cost savings
Technologies used

 FPGA, HDL

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    29 Machinery for special purposes
Abstract
MASMEC Srl, Via dei Gigli 21 I-70026 Modugno (BA), with 34 employees at the start of the AE manufactures a wide range of production solutions by designing and realizing integrated systems performing assembling and functional tests on mechanical components. The Company’s production is almost exclusively oriented towards the production of single model machinery (semi automatic test stands; rotary table units or entire lines), designed and assembled under the specific requests of the customer.
The current capabilities of the FU in developing the electronics required for the Control Units of the produced machinery consists mainly of CAE design for analogue and digital boards using standard discrete components, and PCB layouting in through-hole technology. The technologies owned are: use of commercial PLCs and the design of dedicated microcontroller or DSP based boards.
MASMEC with this AE has developed a flexible, reconfigurable pluriaxes control system , based on FPGA technology, to be used in different control machinery applications. The new axis control implementation has replaced the existing motion control unit which used standard discrete electronics on a PCB.
These include the product addressed in this AE has been a control machinery for mechanical parts assembly, used in the area of robotised machines for automotive applications. At the start of the AE it was proposed that all the required functions of control electronics would be integrated into a single Altera FPGA. However, since the synthesis resulted in a big sized device, which would have caused PCB layout difficulties, it was been decided to split the circuit to a smaller FPGA and a separate ALU.
So, the component developed during the AE consists of a fully digital integrated device with adaptive capacity of closed control loop, including various peripherals such as quadrature decoders, interface logic, I/O, digital filter.. in addition to the external ALU for calculations.

The benefits of this AE to MASMELhave been:
Technical:
  • Improvement of the technical performances of the produced machinery by means of the implementation of more sophisticated control alghoritms;
  • Improvement of the flexibility and versatility of the controlling circuitry;
  • Improvement of the compactness, quality and reliability of the electronic part of the produced equipment;
  • Acquisition of in-house FPGA development tools and capability.

Economical:

  • * Addressing the market segment of the control numeric machinery, in addition to the owned special purpose machinery one;
  • * Engineering and production costs reduction allowed by the introduction of field programmable electronics (i.e. saving in purchasing materials, in assembly time, in testing and debugging operations, etc.).

The AE Budget has been 55 KEURO, with a duration of 9 months against a planned duration of 7 months. It will take a further 1 year and 100K EURO to productionise the unit.

The payback period, assuming the full development cost of 155K EURO is 3 months after in production, which is 1 year after the AE was completed. The ROI is 1750%, assuming a 3 year product life.

The major lesson was learnt during the FPGA generation. The synthesis resulted in the FPGA size being higher than the expected one, requesting SMD process not owned by the Company. This problem has been solved by partitioning the circuit demanding some FPGA functions to the microcontroller, in order to have an FPGA size usable by standard PCB process.

Due to this problem the company learned the close connection between the FPGA to be designed and the board. Always the technologies used in the company must be under control and the designers of the chip and the board must work together.

Company
MASMEC Srl
Via dei Gigli 21
I-70026 Modugno (BA)
Italy

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

FPGA technology provided MASMEC Srl 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.


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