Albertronic is a small (five employees) company that has been active in the telecom-industry since 1991, and is an independent European telecom-manufacturer, with sales of 600 KECU. Albertronic designs and produces their products in-house. The designs are mostly micro-controller-based, for which the software is designed by Albertronic too. The somewhat older analogues PABXs are manufactured in standard through-the-hole technology. The, from a later date, ISDN-PABXs are manufactured with surface mounted technology.
In recent years, Albertronic has built up solid relationships with wholesalers and suppliers. The head-office and the factory are located in Waddinxveen, the Netherlands. Albertronic sells a complete product range of small PABXs (Private Branch Exchanges), ranging from small analogue PABXs with 1 trunk-line and 4 extensions, to ISDN-PABXs with a maximum of 8 (analogue) extensions. All PABXs are sold through the wholesale channel, with an overall market share of 15 %. It is expected that the demand for 'wireless' PABXs will grow rapidly, whilst prices for 'wired' PABXs are expected to drop. With this in mind, the application experiment should open routes for a wireless PABX, and, at the same time, lower the cost of existing products of Albertronic's product portfolio. Therefore, more specifically, many components like tone-generators, DTMF-detectors, DTMF-transmitters etc. were integrated into a chip. Reducing the number of manually placed components from 68 to 20 and reducing the costs of components and manufacturing essential to stay competitive in the highly price sensitive telecom market for consumer products. The total cost price could be reduced by 20 %. Other technologies like FPGA and DSP could not meet these requirements. Next to it, software updates via Internet are possible and PCB-space reduced with 30%.
The chip, will definitely make Albertronic more competitive with existing products, and will ease the introduction of a wireless PABX.
The project started in April 1996 and was carried out in 18 months (12 months budgeted), finished in October 1997 at a cost of 143,5 kECU of which 112.5 kECU was covered by this FUSE-project. The payback period will be about two years and the ROI is estimated at 250 % (356 kECU) over the economical lifetime of 5 years. The ROI will be even higher because the component will also been used in other products in Albertronics telecom-business.
However, the sales forecast may be jeopardised by telecom companies, developing the ISDN-market, offering PABXs at take-away prices, so fading away Albertronic wholesale-channels.
Albertronic has learned how the process of ASIC-development works. The whole process from the VHDL-definition, the use of DSP-technology, the verification-process and the transformation into working silicon. For a small telecom OEM, future strategies of big telecom operators are of utmost importance.
|You can also benefit from microelectronics
ASIC technology provided ALBERTRONIC B.V. 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.