The activities of DR-Electronics are focused on the design and manufacturing of electronic equipment, giving special emphasis to electronic charges protection and industrial automation. Prior the ADMMES experiment the company was characterised by rich expertise in electronic designs based on discrete components (PCBs) for systems associated with industrial automation and more particularly with measurement and charge protection equipment. The objective of the current experiment was to implement an innovative ASIC-based product, which would accomplish both measurement and monitoring of all three phases of power supply lines in a single device, (a solution which has been till now offered in the market as a combination of separate (monitoring and metering) devices), and furthermore, it would be characterised by reduced overall cost (more than 48% reduction) and size, increased fault tolerance and reliability, thus forming a market innovation in this field which will permit the company to dominate the Greek market and to penetrate with success to foreign ones. The main functional characteristics/improvements of the implemented ASIC are: detection of over and under voltage using preselected up/down limits programmed by the user, detection of loss of one or more phases, detection of voltage asymmetry between phases by using preselected limits programmed by the user, voltage (current) True RMS value calculation, run-time programmability regarding the aforementioned settings and saving of the various settings in case of power down. For the digital part, a top down VHDL design methodology was adopted along with behavioural description for the analogue parts using MENTOR tools. Initially some incompatibility problems were faced regarding AMS analogue library with the existing MENTOR-based CAD environment but these were solved within 1 month period resulting in a slight delay in the progress of the work, the combination of which with the fact that the time required for fabrication was longer than originally planned (more than 3 _ months) had as result that the project was completed successfully within January 1998 instead of November 1997 as originally planned. The University of Patras and SYNERGY acted as subcontractors and provided with success technical consulting and assistance in the ASIC design and testing. It is estimated that with the new improved ASIC-based product (developed through this project) due to its very low-cost (much lower than all other existing similar electronics based equipment in the market and comparable to that of low-cost low-reliability mechanical systems) its high accuracy and reliability and small size, the company will gain a significant share of the local market (more than the 50%) currently occupied by medium and high end users within the first three years of the products introduction to the market, with the prospect (starting from the 3rd year) to penetrate aggressively and dominate the major market share of the Greek market (more than 65%) currently owned by lower quality mechanical systems addressing low-end-users. Moreover, it is expected that due to the enhanced characteristics and attractive price of this product, the company will also have the chance to penetrate in the EU markets with success starting from the 3rd year after the introduction of the product into the market.
A pay-back period of less than 1.8 years is expected, and based on very conservative projections, an ROI of about 1.7 over the next three years period is estimated as a worst case scenario, where only the local market has been taken under consideration without even taking into account sales to low-end (local) users, while the components life is expected to certainly exceed the average market life of the specific product which is typically ranging around 6 years.