SMT and FPGA achieve Biomedical Freezer Controller
cost reduction Significant cost reduction achieved through integration with SMT and FPGA
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    331 Medical and surgical equipment and orthopaedic appliances
    29 Non-domestic cooling and ventilation equipment
UK-based Planer Products designs, manufactures and markets biomedical freezing equipment. The company has expertise in product design aspects relating to mechanical, electrical, thermodynamic, refrigeration and electronic engineering. It employs 30 people overall with 4 people in full-time technical roles, and in 1997 had a turnover of about 5 MEuros. The company's medical products are used in four main markets: human in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), human bone marrow freezing, animal embryo freezing and biological cell-line freezing.

The Application Experiment centred on the control electronics for the freezer range, which uses microprocessor, analogue and digital circuitry to process temperature and pressure signals from the freezer. The Experiment reduced the number of components in the controller through the use of a Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). This also led to an increased flexibility in customising the operation of the controller, meaning it can now be used across Planer's whole freezer range. In addition, adopting Surface Mount Technology (SMT) for the first time further reduced the size and number of boards in the controller.

Increase in sales is estimated be to approximately ECU 780k over a five-year period. Payback time is approximately 15 months. The Return On Investment (ROI) is determined to be 350% over the estimated five year of the lifetime of the product. The total cost of the AE was 59k Euros with 54k Euros funded under FUSE. An additional 30k Euros was need to bring the product to production. The duration for the AE was 12 months.

This project should be of interest to any enterprise with predominantly analogue or discrete component design experience, particularly in the fields of medical electronics, instrumentation or process control.
110 Windmill Rd
TW16 7HD
United Kingdom

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

SMT, FPGA technology provided PLANER PRODUCTS LTD 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
University of Hertfordshire
Erdc, College Lane
AL10 9AB Hatfield
United Kingdom