MCM development allows payback period of 3 years and ROI of 337% over 5 years.
Save Mass and Costs in your space equipment With Our DC/DC Converter for High-Rel Applications
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    322 Communication equipment
Laben is an Italian company, founded in 1958, currently having 400 employees. It develops, manufactures and sells modules used on spacecraft. Its competence is in hybrid circuits and ASICs.

Scientific satellites market required customised modules in low quantities. Commercial space activities, mainly for telecom, is starting to dominate the space market. It is more competitive, and the higher volumes, up to 100 units per product, require standardisation.

Laben's current standard hybrid technology was capable of power densities of 80 mW/cm2. Its currently needs power densities up to 1.5 W/cm2. This requires changes in its standard hybrid manufacturing process, putting the companies on a transition towards power hybrid technology.

The required power densities are moderate, since power hybrid technology covers the range from 3 W/cm2 to over 15W/cm2.

The goal of the project was to adapt the existing hybrid manufacturing capability, with a minimum of modification, to allow the development of modules, currently needed in the market. A 40W DC-DC converter was used a driver product to introduce the necessary changes in the manufacturing process.

The effort needed was 4000 hours. The development started July 1996, and lasted for 22 months. The planned duration had been 13 months. Development cost was 162 kECU. 102 kECU had been the approved funding.

Laben successfully enhanced it manufacturing capability to low-power densities. The Return on investment is calculated to 337% over 5 years with a payback period of about 3 years. This is calculated on the sale of the driver 40W DC-DC converter only. The introduction of the new technology will be covered completely by the sales of the DC/DC converter. Actually payback will be faster, since other products will be developed with the technology.

Lessons learned were:
- The specification of standard flight hardware requires another approach than the approach used for the development of customised modules.
- The expertise in the Power Supply department and in the Process Technologies Units needs to be joined by an approach of concurrent engineering.
- Internal design guidelines have been developed, to ensure compliance with the internal technological capability.
- A process specification has been written, and was submitted to ESA for verification and acceptance.
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Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

MCM technology provided LABEN SPA 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
Bart De Mey
Imec, Kapeldreef 75,
B-3001 Leuven, Belgium