Fluorescent Lamo Driver
Mixed signal ASIC as controller for fluorescent lamps with reduced costs, increased luminance efficiency, load-adaptive power control and EMI reduction
Technologies used

Mixed Signal ASIC

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    31 Lighting Equipment and Electric Lamps
GIMAX S.r.l. is an Italian Company that, with 10 employees of which 2 are electronic engineers, has been realising since 1990 products for illumination and equipment for electric distribution in the industrial sector of Light Equipment and Electric Lamps (NACE PRODCOM 3150). The Company's lines of product are: electric power panels for electricity distribution, fixed and portable lighting systems and electronic ballast for fluorescent lamps supply. Its products are utilised both for civilian and military applications (building sites and shipyards, factories, military plants, cinema production).
The Company main expertise is in developing ballast for fluorescent lamps and its customers are both End Users and OEM.
GIMAX markets its product in Italy with a representative network and in other European Countries by means of distributors with a current turnover of 2,230 Keuro.
All its electronic products are designed utilising analogue standard components on PCB and SMD technology. A continuous innovation is applied on the products with particular attention to the features of safety and conformity with the rules in force (EMI and IEC).
The objective of the Application Experiment was the realisation of a mixed ASIC prototype to be used in a new ballast board in order to increase the competitiveness of this Company's product by means of an increase in the product reliability and quality, as well of a reduction of costs. The mixed ASIC is composed mainly by power drivers (more than 80% of the area), analogue-to-digital converter (about 15% of area) and digital control logic (less than 5%).
The new board, utilising an innovative ASIC component, was designed to obtain technical benefits and functionality as: increased luminance efficiency, load-adaptive power control, reduced electromagnetic interference, and finally to obtain a product with reduction of 20% of surface and 20% of count of components.
Other than increased functional capabilities of the product, the objectives of the AE was a 36% total (components and manufacturing) cost reduction of the ballast board. This reduction has been achieved thanks to a quasi total removal of discrete components (having integrated the digital and analogue parts inside the ASIC) and partially thanks to the minor manufacturing cost.
Reason to reduce the product's cost was mainly due to the reduced capability of GIMAX to penetrate the market and to the foreseen increased competition.
It is estimated that the benefit of reducing cost will allow GIMAX to increase its Italian market share from the present 15% up to 17% in four years.
This project has been developed with an actual cost of 114.5 KEuro and an actual duration of 17 months.

The economic AE benefits are calculated in the period 2000-2003 on the basis of the increased market penetration due to the better performance and the 36% cost reduction of the product. The total investment for the realisation of the new product is expected to be recovered within 13 months and the Return of Investment (ROI) is estimated in 327%. The industrialisation phase requires a cost of 97 Keuro.

Thanks to the Application Experiment a lot of experience has been gained by GIMAX, mainly concerning an improvement of its capabilities in the functional design of complex analogue-digital application specific integrated circuit. Technical as well as managerial know-how and ability to manage the development of other future microelectronic projects increased consistently. Inside GIMAX, a team has been set up to manage the development phases of the microelectronic design, as well as the interfacing with the silicon foundry. In this way the notable initial investments will be exploited also in the future
GIMAX S.r.l.
Via dell'Acqua, 2
55042 Forte dei Marmi (LU)

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Mixed Signal ASIC technology provided GIMAX S.r.l. 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.

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For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
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