Wheelchairlift for disabled persons
FPGA and microcontroller technologies improve performance and safety and reduce costs by 20%
Technologies used

PCB, Microcontroller

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    29 Lifting and handling equipment

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 were overcome.

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.


Thyssen de Reus BV
Van Utrechtweg 99
2921 LN Krimpen a/d Ijssel

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

PCB and Microcontroller technology provided Thyssen de Reus BV 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
Gesellschaft fur Mikroelektronikanwendung Chemnitz mbH
Matthesstrasse 53
D-09113 Chemnitz