PDP11 Single Board Computer
50% performance improvement using a digital ASIC
Technologies used

    Digital ASIC

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    30 Computers and other information Processing Equipment

Mentec Limited is a computer systems company, which employs 175 people in various countries and has an annual turnover in the region of 25 mECU. Mentec Limited has designed and delivered a number of electronic sub-systems (Single Board Computers) over the last ten years based on Intel and DEC microprocessors. The company has specialised in delivering PDP11 type processors for use in embedded processor/Real Time systems. Mentec Limited has implemented these Single Board Computers by using modern programmable logic and microprocessor technology.

Mentec Limited’s market segment is a robust one because many large organisations have invested millions in PDP based software systems. While the option of upgrading these systems’ performance exists, these companies are not inclined to completely redesign their systems. Some examples of these application areas include, Telecom Switches, Power Station Controls, Paper Control Systems and Financial Networks. By utilising an ASIC based design, Mentec Limited can offer greater performance over its existing Bit Slice Technology offering.

The economic benefits of such an undertaking will result in continued sales and reduced production costs. If the technical goals of the Application Experiment can be achieved the commercial risk will be small. The main technical risk was associated with the ASIC itself. The advice we have received from our consultants is that the ASIC requirements are not over complex and therefore the risk is low.

Beginning in April 1997 the Application Experiment was expected to take 12 months for completion at a cost of 183K ECU’s. The Payback period for the initial investment return is immediate as the first orders received for the new product cover the investment costs. The ROI for the product is an estimated increase of 53% of board sales for the year 1999. There fore the time to market for this higher performance ASIC based computer is of great importance as the market demand for it already exists. As this was Mentec Limited’s first ASIC design a close working relationship with Mentec Limited’s consultant partners would be central to the success of the Application Experiment. This Application Experiment will allow Mentec Limited to undertake further ASIC design projects involving its other product lines in the future.


    Mentec Limited
    Dun Laoghaire Industrial Estate
    Pottery Road
    Dun Laoghaire
    Co. Dublin Ireland

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Digital ASIC technology provided Mentec Limited 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
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