Speaking machine for multi-access telecommunication equipment
Integration with FPGA reduces testing costs, while greatly enhancing performance
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    322 Communication equipment
    323 Sound recording or reproducing apparatus
Appel Elettronica (Italy), a company with 140 employees and 28 engineers, has been active in the communication business since 1967, designing and producing equipment and systems for a large number of applications.
As far as public and private communication networks are concerned Appel Elettronica has reached a high level of expertise in the design of automatic telephone exchange support systems to carry out special and peculiar services such as automatic addressing systems for phone calls of public utility or emergency, automatic systems capable of performing services of added value (exact time, telephone waking, urgent calls, change number announcements, calls re-routing…).
Appel delivers to the domestic market with 20% market share.
Appel Elettronica, whose current microelectronic experience is PCB and microprocessors, has decided to develop a multifunctional system that contains a new phonic group for message recording and reproducing.. They decided to exploit the FPGA technology for the first time. The new system in based on a modular, flexible hardware platform open to implement the telephone exchange support systems having the capability of handling all the services presently performed by different equipment. Additionally its architecture is capable of expansions in order to be able to implement new services.

Thanks to the increased integration it is possible:
- To multiply by 4 the number of processed PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) channels
- To double the maximum storage capacity for the recorded messages is (68 min. instead of 34)
- reduced problems in PCB design and manufacturing
- cost reduction in PCB master realisation
- cost reduction due to reduced test and assembly time

The total cost of the Application Experiment is of 45.5 kEUR and its duration has been of 6 months (December 1997 to May 1998).
Considering that the new product will give a positive trend to the mayor part of next years Appel production, and payback period is supposed to be less than one year from May 1998 (end of AE),
and we estimate that more than 5 times the global investment will be regained in three years taking into account the global industrialisation costs.
With this AE Appel Elettronica has developed a Phonic Group for a new telecommunication system with performance never reached in previous products (16 PCM streams, that means about 500 telephonic channel served at the same time, up to 68 minutes of phonic messages stored in a static memory bank, including on-board digital mixer). This has been made possible thanks to FPGA technology.
In this AE we developed the FPGA using a schematic diagram approach, because this approach was more familiar to us and requested a shorter learning period; however at the end of the AE we decided to ask our subcontractor to give us a training on the VHDL description and synthesis and learnt how productive, flexible and portable is the tool. In fact at the end of the course we were able to redesign the complete logic architecture in less than 1 week.

Therefore we believe that we will follow this high level design approach for future FPGA developments
Via Fausto Coppi,
5 - Orbassano (TO) – ITALY

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

FPGA technology provided APPEL ELETTRONICA 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.

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