Larimart is a medium-size forty-year-old Italian company specialising in the development and manufacture of tactical communications equipment and related auxiliary items, for military and para-military organisations. The main customers are the Italian and European Ministries Of Defence, Police Forces, Public Users (Fire Departments, Transports, Postal Services, etc.) and selected OEMs. The company employs 101 employees (60% of them involved in electronic development) and its turnover is approximately 12 MEURO. Larimart design and manufacture a range of communication equipment, for example:
- Tactical terminals and peripherals
- VHF/FM hand-held/mobile transceiver
- Audio/data communications switching systems
- Tactical battery management systems
- Tactical antenna masts
The existing products, prior to this project, used discrete analogue/digital circuits and microprocessors mounted on PCBs, was, at the beginning of the Application Experiment, limited on PCB design with discrete analog/digital components and microprocessors. This technology limit reduces the flexibility, functionality and performance of the systems.
The objective of this project, is to improve a Data Voice Communication Switching system (DVCS), whose purpose is to perform command, control and use of different communication links, such as telephone lines, radio transceivers, voice recorders, etc. This equipment is particularly useful in Operation Centres, where many of Operators deal with an high number of voice calls to and from the external world. The project enabled the company to develop an improved DVCS using DSP technology. The main advantages achieved by using this technology were as follows:
- manufacturing cost has been reduced by about 40%, including reduced test cost.
- tuning operations have been eliminated, as there are no analogue filtering stages on the board.
- reliability improvement by a factor not less than four - this an extremely important parameter in consideration of the equipment typical application.
- maintainability enhancement, being now possible to remotely download and update the software running on the system.
- unification of design: the Front End boards, needed to interface the different types of external signals, all have the same structure and employ the same DSP section.
- design reusability, with a steep reduction in new - or revised - products development time.
The adoption of the DSP technology positively affected the entire line of Larimart products taking advantage of the performance and flexibility required in a signal-processing environment.
Moreover the experiment allowed Larimart to achieve the following very important objectives:
- Create within Larimart the ability to develop DSP-based subsystem. This allowed a fast "tailoring of functionality with benefits in time-to-market and on performance/cost ratio, essential aspects for the present (and future) market development.
- Define and realise a DSP development environment to allow an easy software implementation through re-use of modules.
- Make a design suitable not only for equipment presently in production, but capable to finding a broad usage for future applications.
- Design a first "real-world application board achieving both a significant cost reduction by about 40% and an estimated reliability improvement of more than 55%.
The project duration was 9 months and the designed board is now successfully in production. The payback period on the FUSE funding support of 87 KEURO is estimated to be less than one year. The return of investment is predicted to be 1845 % over the lifetime of the product.
The Application Experiment is of interest to technologically aware companies that operate in telecommunication sector.
The main object of this AE is a significant costs reduction and an increase in the system efficiency, in order to stay in the market since competitors have already moved to digital.
|You can also benefit from microelectronics
DSP technology provided LARIMART 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.