Supernova Installation Tester
Microelectronics and IEE Regulations
Technologies used

Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA)

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    31 Electricity distribution and control apparatus 3320: Instruments and appliances for measuring, checking, testing, etc.
Seaward Electronics Ltd is an UK manufacturer of specialist electrical, electronic and telecommunications test equipment. The company has 90 employees and is a market leader in the manufacture of equipment that meets safety and legislative requirements within UK, European and worldwide markets. The company turnover is 3 MEUR p.a. The Industrial Sector is 3320: Electrical Instruments for Measuring.

The experiment was to enhance the technical experience of the company through the upgrading of one of its products, the SBS7671 Multi-tester, which uses an outdated computer control system that requires new technology in order to improve the ergonomics, external interfaces and additional features.

The aim was to develop a complex programmable logic device (CPLD) to provide a higher level of integration within the control circuitry. This would provide extra functionality, simpler and smaller PCB, and more reliable control through a reduced chip count.

The benefit of the AE has been to provide this new technology in a shorter-time than would have been possible without the FUSE funding. A more competitive product will now provide an increase in sales and profitability. Seaward have already incorporated this technology into other new products. This has enabled a rapid response to market pressures in other product areas.

The main lesson learned is the necessity to consider the many alternative tools and components carefully. Feasibility work on the right technology for the requirement is a pre-requisite and the simulation process is essential.

The higher level of integration allows lower power consumption, more reliable control, simpler and smaller PCB. It is possible to personalise a common component across many products. These innovative features resulted in increase in company market share.

A prototype was successfully developed and tested within a budget of 50.5 KEUR between May 1997 and June 1998. The payback period is 6 months, half the original target, and the return on investment is expected to be threefold.
Seaward Electronic Limited
Bracken Hill
South West Industrial Estate
Peterlee, County Durham, SR8 2SW

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology provided Seaward Electronic 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
Bolton Institute of Higher Education
Technology Development Unit
Deane Road
BL3 5AB Bolton
United Kingdoms