Title
ASIC for Industrial Battery Chargers
ASIC technology improves functionality and reliability
Technologies used

Mixed Signal ASIC

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    31 Electrical
Abstract
Fulmen Ibérica is a 73 employee Spanish company belonging to the CEAC group (Compagnie Européenne d'Accumulateurs), that has designed and manufactured battery chargers since 1986 in Barcelona. The company belongs to the industrial sector of Electric Motors, Generators and Transformers (NACE 3110 in the standard EU classification system), and had previous experience in general electronic design, i.e. microcontroller, high power electronics, but had no experience in ASIC design before this project.

Fulmen, together with CMP Batteries UK, of the same group, are leaders in the European market of battery chargers, with an annual joint turnover with this product around 20 MEUR. Both companies will benefit from the results of this Application Experiment. ^

Industrial battery chargers are sold to charge the batteries of vehicles such as cleaning vehicles for supermarkets, forklifts for warehouses, luggage transport vehicles in airports, etc. Typical customers are the providers of these services or the manufacturers of the vehicles, which sell the chargers with their product.

The use of complex electronics in this equipment has become necessary to respond to market needs, in order to provide more functions to the customers and to improve a charger's ability to predict a more exact full battery charge. The chargers were built using off-the-shelf standard components. Performance could be improved by using faster or more powerful hardware using specific and/or general-purpose concurrent processing units. The integration of these processing units in a mixed-signal ASIC that includes an 8-bit microprocessor core, RAM memory and analogue blocks gave to the company several commercial advantages. First, a significant reduction in size and cost - the control board with the ASIC is 7 EUR cheaper than the existing one - and at the same time increasing its reliability and the EMC performance. But the ASIC also provides extra functions, and therefore sales appeal, to the simpler ranges of chargers at a lower cost. This is an important competitive advantage to gain difficult markets.

The Application Experiment has taken 20 months to complete, with a total cost from start to working prototypes of 112 KEUR, plus additional 60 KEUR for industrialisation. It is expected that the total investment of 172 KEUR will be recovered after app. 15 months. The Return On Investment after three years would be around 250%, equivalent to an annual average return of 37%.
Company
Fulmen Iberica, S.A.
C/ Miquel Torelló i Pagès 34-36
E-08750 Molins de Rei
Barcelona, Spain

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Mixed Signal ASIC technology provided Fulmen Iberica, S.A. 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
COTEC
C/Marques De Urquijo 26, 1 C, Izq.
E-28008 Madrid
Spain