Title
Chipcard Reader for Electronic Cash
Mixed Signal ASIC opens new markets for a small company
Technologies used

Mixed Signal ASIC

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    332 Instruments and Appliances for Measuring and Checking
Abstract
Cards & Devices GmbH, Seebach is a small enterprise with 5 employees founded in 1994. It's main business is the development, manufacturing and sale of smart-card products. The company operates in the business field of measuring instruments (3320), especially in the field of hand-held counters (33206430). The product spectrum of the company includes smart cards according to ISO 7816, smart card readers and interface devices as OEM. Most of the products are sold on the German market but also to other European countries.

One of the main products and the object of this AE is the micro-reader called "Smart-Cover" that was introduced into the market in 1995, e.g. as a reader for electronic purses or other information stored in smart cards. The product can be used for checking of different kinds of smart cards, such as telephone cards, electronic purses etc.

The technical solution was based on standard components and IC's (controller 80C31, EEPROM, LCD driver, Logic IC's) mounted on a multi-layer PCB. The company has the necessary knowledge and the development tools to realise products at this technology level itself. However, the realisation of this functionality with standard components is expensive and results in a relative big product with limited reliability. The company needed to reduce costs and improve reliability to compete with the many suppliers in this market.

The objective of the AE was therefore to introduce mixed signal ASIC know-how to Cards and Devices and to improve in this way the existing product. The company learned to manage such projects and to design and simulate mixed signal ASICs.
The specialists got best practice knowledge in the application of embedded microcontroller cores and test strategies for complex systems with ASICs. The main management and know-how barriers could be overcome by a very efficient know-how transfer process and a close co-operation with the subcontractor. This can be also seen in the schedule:

The project was started in June 1996 and was finished as planned after 10 months in March 1997.

The total costs up to the prototype stage were 129 k€. With the estimated sales figures a payback period of about 2 years and a ROI of about 350% over the expected product life time of 5 years.
Company
Cards & Devices Chipkartenlösungen GmbH
Neue Straße 67
D-99846 Seebach

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Mixed Signal ASIC technology provided Cards & Devices Chipkartenlösungen GmbH 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
Gesellschaft fur Mikroelektronikanwendung Chemnitz mbH
Matthesstrasse 53
D-09113 Chemnitz
Germany