Thyssen de Reus BV is a medium sized company with about 400 employees.
Founded in 1953, the company has an annual turnover of about 45 million
Euro. Main business is the development and production of special lifts
and platforms for elderly or disabled persons. These products are sold
in the Netherlands and in Europe.
These people make use of these lifts to span differences in levels.
The platform lifts are installed on the inside of a straight or curved
staircase and are available for domestic homes and private or public
buildings at places where no 'ordinary' lift is available.
To improve the competitive position and to increase our market share,
it was necessary to introduce new microelectronics technologies into
the lift control system, because the current product is at the end of
the technical life-cycle. Furthermore within one year a harmonised European
standard will be published; there is no chance to apply to this standard
with the current controller. In this situation the amount of selling
objects will be reduced to zero.
Hence, the Application Experiment was carried out to overcome the
know-how and management barriers, which prevented Thyssen de Reus from
using these advanced technologies.
The introduction of a NEC D78070AGF, Microchip PIC16C77&16C54,
16C73 microprocessors for the control circuit and a Lattice FPGA 1048E
for the safety system resulted in an increased functionality and better
performance of our lifts which is of great importance for the mobility
of elderly or disabled people. The control unit became safer, more flexible
and cheaper. Although the design of the product is complex, the production,
installation and servicing costs are significantly reduced.
Furthermore the development of electronics has a big impact on the
mechanical design. Additional advantages resulting from the new control
concept are reduced space requirements for installation, higher reliability,
automatic testing capabilities and new diagnosis system, reduced installation
costs by introduction of remote control and the substitution of the
mechanic movement control by an electronic system.
The current product technology is from the early seventies - a combination
of relays and analogue components.
The project covered the complete development from functional design/
specification till prototyping. During the Application Experiment Thyssen
de Reus acquired experience in using FPGA design tools, programming
and application of microcontrollers and the management of such a kind
of long-term projects. The initial barriers to introduce the new technologies
The result is the improved product Mounty, which will cause a significant
increase of turnover and profit. The acquired know-how will be used
to develop new products in the future.
In addition to the acquired technology know-how the main lessons learned
concerned best practice aspects in co-operation with subcontractors
and suppliers of specific hard/software in this area.
The AE was started in October 1998 and ran for 12 months until September
1999 including a project break of 4 months. The project costs up to
the working prototype were 78.000 EURO, plus additional industrialisation
costs of 91,5 kEURO. The product will be introduced into the market
in automn 2000. The total return-on-investment in the first five years
will be 1140%, resulting in a payback period for the FUSE investment
of 8 months.