Application of Analogue ASIC technology to improve their performances: greater sensing distance, lower consumption, higher frequency and much better temperature behaviour
Technologies used

Analogue ASIC

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    332 Instruments & Appliances for measuring, checking, testing
SAIET group has started its activity in 1962 and today is active in Telecommunication and Industrial Automation market (with SAIET Telecomunicazioni SpA and SAIET Elettronica SpA). Biggest part of the employees are university graduate or hold a diploma. The SAIET Elettronica turnover was 5.0 millions EURO in 1998. SAIET Elettronica designs and manufactures proximity and gap sensors employing various technologies: inductive, ultrasonic, capacitive and magnetic. SAIET Elettronica, present mostly in the national market, sells these products to the industrial automation market and reaches directly the final important customers (machine manufacturers) and, through an extended network of distributors, smaller customers. The area interested in the ASIC development is the Industrial Electronic one. The target of the AE is an increase of the competitiveness of the inductive proximity and gap sensors through the employ of the new ASIC technology. The present SAIET sensors make use of a complete discrete solution or an hybrid one, with a bonded IC and components in SMD technology. As the circuit is dipped in resin, its perfect impermeability makes them particularly suitable to operate even in very hard environmental conditions. As to reduce number of components, space utilised, to improve sensor performances and to avoid dependence on IC vendor which is also a competitor, SAIET decided to produce its own analogue ASIC. So SAIET, with the help of its subcontractor, developed a first prototype of an ASIC, which performs basically like an oscillator, with other integrated functions; the ASIC is realised in High Voltage CMOS technology with self-temperature compensation, characteristic which is fundamental for the behaviour of the whole sensor. From a functional point of view, the component could be used in many type of sensors (specially inductive series), in many configurations (like npn-pnp, normally open or closed, etc.). The increase of the competitiveness is got through a higher miniaturisation, a greater reliability and a reduction of the industrial costs. Not less important target of the AE is the acquisition of the know how in the new technology, in order to be able to face new applications in the next future. The APS component is to be used for almost all the inductive sensor families (Direct Current, ON/OFF, NPN output, PNP output, linear output, flush mounting, non flush mounting) manufactured at present with the discrete component technology or with a commercial IC. This AE started on February 1998 and finished on May 1999; its cost was of about 62 KEURO with an effort for the company equal to 13 person months. It is expected that the total investment, including industrialisation, will be paid back in 2 years, considering a volume production of 600.000 pieces over 4 years. Based on a product lifetime of 4 years the ROI (Return of Investment) has a figure of 168%. The knowledge of ASIC technology puts SAIET in a good position when the Company will develop more advanced products as Smart Sensors.
SAIET Elettronica S.p.A.
Via Serenari, 1
40013 Castelmaggiore (Bologna)

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Analogue ASIC technology provided SAIET Elettronica S.p.A. 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
Via del Ferrone, 5
I-50124 Firenze