An Enhanced Data Acquisition System
FPGA Leads to Cost and Space Reductions
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    34-35 Automotive
    40-41 Energy Generation, Machinery
    332 Instrumentation
Prosig Ltd is a small, rapidly growing company that designs, manufactures and markets high quality data acquisition and data processing systems for harsh environments such as those experienced in the automotive, power generation and fatigue testing industries. These field data acquisition and analysis applications include vehicle development and refinement in the automotive industry, and condition monitoring with emphasis on vibration in power generation industry. The company employs 45 staff, and in 1998 the company achieved sales of 3.3 M Euro. 30% of the company's sales are achieved from the Protor data acquisition system.

The company's Protor data acquisition and data processing system utilises discrete digital and programmable logic device (PLD) technology to implement the Plant Monitoring Module (PMM) which is central to the functionality of the system. The generation of speed monitoring and clock generation functions using this technology limits the equipment's performance in terms of its range and resolution. The increasing data acquisition rates required as the speed of many of the plant items now being monitored is increasing made it essential that the PMM capabilities are upgraded.

The market for vibration condition monitoring is also cost sensitive, particularly in the UK. Any reduction in hardware costs provides commercial advantage. The objective of the application experiment was therefore to introduce cost savings by the rationalisation of the system architecture and reduced component costs based upon the use of a flexible FPGA technology, and to improve the systems performance.

The FPGA device enabled the following functional improvements to be made:
i) Replace the speed sensing and clock generation circuit with one that has sufficient bandwidth to cope with current and future demands for monitoring of plant with higher shaft frequencies.
ii) Replace clock circuits based on a combination of discrete components and small scale programmable logic devices with a single in-circuit programmable device implemented on a PC/104 compatible PC interface card.
iii) Rationalisation of the main PROTOR hardware component through the use of proprietary hardware made possible by the availability of a standard PC card with the required clock logic.

The rationalisation of this key component of the PROTOR system provides not only extended operating parameters but have significant impact on the manufacturing and maintenance cost of the system. The increased product sales will result in a return on investment (ROI) of the prototype development costs of 27 KECU over the product life of 5 years of 500%. The payback period for the investment costs in developing the prototype system is 13 months.

The duration of the application experiment was 9 months.

The application experiment will develop a sustained company capability in FPGA design, which will enable the development of other improved products, using this technology.
Prosig Computer Consultants Ltd.
Link House
High Street,
Fareham Hants,
PO16 7BQ

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

FPGA technology provided Prosig Computer Consultants 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.
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Univercity of Glamorgan
Mid Glamorgan
Pontypridd CF37 1DL
United Kingdom