Switched Output Temperature Sensor
Microcontroller Technology Opens Up New Market Opportunities
|Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
||Electrical and Optical Equipment
||Suppliers of Vehicles for Land Transport
||Industrial Process Controller Equipment
Elmwood Sensors Ltd designs and manufactures thermal sensors
for use in the automotive, industrial and commercial sectors. The company's
current product range is based on the use of either bi-metallic or thermistor
technology. Both have limited scope for future diversification and growth.
The market is a mature market that is fiercely price competitive.
The objective of the application experiment was to introduce an electronic
design capability into the company so that a new universal automotive
temperature sensor / switch product could be developed. The technical
objective of the application experiment was to integrate an embedded micro
controller, a thermistor and a power switch to produce a programmable
thermal switch. This device would also provide the added advantage of
being able to digitally communicate temperature values and diagnostic
data to the vehicle's management system.
The improved product's features include:
1. The conversion of the resistance value of temperature sensor to a value
representing 0C including non-linearity compensation.
2. The comparison of the temperature values against pre-programmed 'trip'
3. The direct drive of a load of up to 4 amperes DC in response to the
result of the temperature measurement.
4. Signalling a direct reading of the temperature via a serial interface.
The new produce design capability has significantly improved customer
perceptions of the company's technical capability, and enhanced the image
of the company in terms of it's innovation capability. This has led to
the company acquiring new customers because of the acquisition of electronic
design expertise provided by the FUSE application experiment. In addition
the company's standing with existing customers has also been enhanced
by the provision of detailed application support to customers. The experience
gained has also influenced the company's design of the type of sensor
that it designs into new products to minimise total system complexity.
For example, the experience gained Elmwood Sensors to advise a customer
on an interfacing technique for it's humidity sensors based on microcontroller
technology that reduced the component count from 32 parts to 3.
The application experiment's duration was 8 months, and the development
was undertaken between January 1997 and September 1997. The cost of the
application experiment was approximately 50 KECU. This investment has
already resulted in improved customer perceptions, related sales, and
significant future sales potential. The anticipated payback period for
the FUSE investment of 3 years is dominated by the long lead times for
the entry into service of new products in the automotive market place.
However, this application market can have a relatively long product life
time, and based on an 8 year full production life the Return on Investment
(ROI) of this product development is 420 %.
The company's experiences detailed in this document will be of interest
to other companies operating at a very basic analogue design capability,
or companies faced by a similar market environment, dominated by the supply
of components or systems to large organisations on a bespoke basis. The
target audience will include other component suppliers to for the automotive
marketplace, machinery, industrial process control applications.
Elmwood Sensors Ltd
Tyne & Wear
|You can also benefit from microelectronics
Microcontroller technology provided Elmwood Sensors 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.
||Guiding Technology Transfer Node
|For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Univercity of Glamorgan
Pontypridd CF37 1DL