AUTOTECH is a small private company specializing in the development,
and production of high quality automation devices for industrial and
consumer usage. AUTOTECH was established in 1985. It has 5 employees
and an annual turnover of 200 KEURO.
The company's prior expertise was the design and production of analogue
systems. The AE caused microelectronics design expertise to be applied
to the company's personnel.
The company produces and sells a specific range of products including:
- Virginia Tobacco Curing Computer
- Analogue Central Heating Programmers
- Precision thermostats
- Precision temperature indicators
The target market of the AE product is basically the 50.000 buildings
of Athens as well as the buildings of all areas of Greece and Europe.
AUTOTECH has developed a digital device that serves as a central heating
controller and is based on the new technology INTEL microprocessors.
The combination of low cost and high performance make this device the
most advanced digital central heating controller. Being expert in the
development and marketing of central heating controllers, this new device
comes to strengthen AUTOTECH's position in the market place.
The technology of that central heating controller was analogue because
the company had not the capability to develop products with digital
technology in that days. The production capacity of the company with
the existing infrastructure and personnel in that product increased
gradually from 120 pieces to about 250 pieces per year.
The introduction of micro controller device technology into AUTOTECH
central heating controllers will reverse the expected decline in product
sales due to the combined effects of technical obsolescence and improved
competitor products. The adoption of the micro controller technology
will enable AUTOTECH to achieve further sales growth, partially by the
replication of the micro controller development in new product areas.
The application experiment was completed in six months and the prototype
development costs of 39,495 K Euro will be paid back in 18 months. The
ROI (return on investment) over the anticipated 3 year life of the product
is estimated to be about 296,24%.
The digital controller programs the function of the central heating
unit after measuring the temperature of the water in the boiler, the
temperature of the environment and the temperature of an internal room.
Micro-controller device technology was adopted because it:
- Provided the combination of digital, analogue and serial data interfaces.
- Offered reasonably low cost in the anticipated volumes of less
than 500 units per year.
- Provided the flexibility for adoption in other application areas.
- Offered low design entry costs.
- Offered controlling of more parameters effecting in the best operation
of the heating system.