Title
CNC Woodworking And Aluminium Working Machines.
Microcontroller and FPGA for control encoder improves the product and increases market share
Technologies used

Microcontroller, FPGA

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    29 machines tools
Abstract
Ala s.r.l. has 6 employees and a turnover of 200 KEUR. It is active since 1995 and produces CNC tool machines -panthographs- (also special ones upon the customer's request) for the furniture industry. The standard production of the firm consists in milling machines with a 600 mm2 working area up to over 4.500 mm2, with 2/3 axes(also called machining centres) to work on and decorate panels to be used for furniture. The actual market of the enterprise is localised in Italy, in the Middle East and in Europe. Its products are bought by small and medium factories (end users) with a low daily production needing small and medium sized CNC (numeric control) milling machines. At the moment the firm is using an axes control mother board or PLC for stepping motors and for the management of the interpolation of the axes. Obviously this technology does not allow the axes of the machine to move at high speed thus limiting ALA's target market to small-sized factories with slow production runs and preventing the firm from entering the market of aluminium casings. These mother boards are manufactured by a third party and then installed by the company into its machines, therefore ALA srl has no experience nor know-how in electronics. The AE purpose was to produce, through a deeper study of the microcontroller device (which was merely purchased and installed at the start of the AE) and the introduction of FPGA technology, a new, more powerful and flexible control mother board up to 4 axes, for brushless or step by step motors, with or without encoder. The main objective of the AE was to provide the milling machines with a faster, more powerful and more flexible axes control and with up-to-date technical features. These improvements were necessary also to allow ALA to move to a customised high-end market with higher margins. These added functionalities and the great improvement in performance (increased of more than 10 times) thus achieved would surely lead to higher profit margins, enhance the presence of the company on the market, penetrate new segments and new markets, improve the assistance and acquire specific technical know-how with reference to the new technologies involved and to the management of the project. Moreover, the company will also gain a certain knowledge that will grant the firm the development of other similar products. In addition, the production of the new machine can strengthen the existing market shares not only in Italy but also abroad (Middle East, India, Eastern Europe and Mediterranean Area). The AE duration was of 16 months and costs 67Keur (FUSE funding 60 Keur), the return on the investment (ROI) was estimated of 681% over five years and the payback period is 16 months.
Company
Ala s.r.l. - Automazioni Lavorative per Aziende
Via Nazionale 41-47
87027 Paola (Cosenza)
Italy.

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontroller, FPGA technology provided Ala s.r.l. - Automazioni Lavorative per Aziende 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.
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