FPGA controls stepping motor for synchronisation of
motor axes

With a cost reduction of 34%
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    29 Other General Purpose Machinery
    333 Industrial Process Control Equipment

Gilbos is a company with 220 people. Its core business is the design, manufacture and sales of textile machinery, more specifically winders. All the design for the machines is done in house: including concepts, mechanics, and electronics.

The objective of the AE was to lower the manufacturing cost of a precision winder by replacing a servo-controller, motor, and precision encoder by a stepping motor controlled by dedicated electronics.

The technology, chosen for the controller was an FPGA.

The total cost for the development was 40 K ECU. The project started on the 15th February '97, and was concluded on the 30th September, '98 taking 7.5 months, as opposed to the 6 months planned.

The cost of the new winders was reduced considerably. The component cost of the precision-winding option that amounted to 15% of the winding unit, will be reduced by about 34%. This will enforce the market position of the company. The payback period will be less than one year, A return-of-investment of 350% will be realised during the first 3 years (the expected life-time of the product).

The project was a success to the company and first production is planned for Q3, 1999. Manufacture, assembly and test will be done within the company.

The most important lessons learned by Gilbos, which resulted in the 1.5 month delay were:

  • The FPGA-size needed was larger than originally expected, leading to long lead-times to order components to allow implementation of the prototypes. In future more time should be allowed at specification phase.
  • The high clock-frequency of the FPGA (40MHz) caused timing problems in the test set-up that had to be fixed during testing. This should have been considered as a potential problem and some contingency planned in to the project.
  • Measurements in the field required some changes in the specification, and had not been planned for.

    Grote Baan 10

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

FPGA (VHDL) technology provided GILBOS NV 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
Kapeldreef 75
B-3001 Leuven