Catering Kitchen Range with Induction Generator
Microcontroller reduces costs by 25%
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    31 Electric Equipment
    29 Machinery for food, beverage and tobacco processing
MKN Maschinenfabrik Kurt Neubauer GmbH & Co. as first user, is a medium-size company with 240 employees which develops and manufactures products for commercial kitchens - mainly in the field of electrical heating technology. The main emphasis here is on mechanical development, design and manufacture of the appliances; user-specific electronic components are being developed and manufactured to our requirements by co-operation partners. MKN supplies the market in Germany for thermal catering-kitchen appliances via specialist dealers, and it exports throughout the world. In Germany MKN is market leader in thermal appliances for catering kitchens. With its induction hob products it has an estimated market share of around 20 % in Germany - and around 5 % in Europe. The appliances with induction hot plates make up around 8 % of the company's turnover. MKN also supplies further cooking equipment for kitchen ranges.
Objective of this project was the improvement of an induction generator module for catering kitchen ranges with a power range from about 3 to 10 kW by introduction of a microcontroller for control of the electronic power converter instead of using the existing analogue technology and digital standard logic. It was an additional target to reduce cost by using SMD instead of conventional devices. Also the height of the complete module should be reduced by around 60% to make it possible to use the induction generator in on top hobs. This reduction of a height of 150 mm to 60 mm was actually made possible by reducing the number of PCBs from 3 to one, which was only possible by using a microcontroller.
The microcontroller allowed functions to be realised which were much more simple and reliable than the current analogue technology. For instance, the optimised controller allowed the power dissipation of the power output element to be reduced. The improved product can be adapted to changed conditions and demands primarily by modifying the software. This considerably improves maintainability.
The AE was started on 01.07.98 and ran for 12 months. EU funding totalled 50 kEUR.
The costs for the whole generator module could be reduced by around 25 %. The planned reduction in price for the hobs in which it will be installed enhances competitiveness and the opportunity to increase market share. The payback period is around 3.5 years. The return on investment is about 300% for an overall product lifetime of 10 years.
As a result of the AE, MKN learnt how to successfully use a microcontroller for control technology applications, and how to use the opportunities brought about by such a system.

MKN Maschinenfabrik Kurt Neubauer GmbH & Co
Postfach 1662
D- 38286 Wolfenbüttel

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Microcontroller technology provided MKN Maschinenfabrik Kurt Neubauer GmbH & Co 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.

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