Mixed signal ASIC reduces costs of hand-held magnetic strip reader
Mixed signal ASIC reduces costs of hand-held data logger
Technologies used

Mixed signal ASIC

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    332 Manufacture of instruments and appliances for measuring, checking and testing
Securiton General Control Systems GmbH is situated in Vienna, Austria, and is a daughter company of Group 4 Securitas Austria, the biggest security company in Austria. Both companies belong to Group 4 Securitas (International) BV, a security company with operations in many countries employing about 60.000 people world-wide. Securiton GCS develops, manufactures and distributes hand-held data acquisition units which are capable of reading so called magnetizable bar codes. These magnetizable bar codes are exclusively manufactured and distributed within the company Securiton GCS. The company has 12 employees of which 6 are involved in electronic development. Before starting the FUSE project the company had experience with PCB design in SMD technology. The product which was being improved in this application experiment by means of a custom-designed mixed signal ASIC was a hand-held data acquisition unit called ESCORTE. It is capable of reading so called magnetizable bar codes and storing the codes together with the time and date stamps in memory. The informations can be downloaded via a special data transfer unit. ESCORTE mainly used within an electronic guard tour system. The reason for conducting this project was the lose in market shares because of an uncompetitive product. The objective is a strengthening of the market position and targeting new markets by reducing manufacturing costs and improved features. By introducing the new technology Securiton GCS was able to reduce the cost and size of the unit and at the same time increase its functionality. Most of the circuitry of ESCORTE was implemented in a single ASIC resulting in a drastic reduction of electronic components. The MSRA (Magnetizable Strip Reader ASIC) FUSE experiment started in October 97 with a budget of 132,7 KECU and was completed in February 99. The design of the prototype took 16,5 months with a delay of 3,5 months with respect to the original schedule - mainly because of the fact that a hardware designer left the company at short notice and the planned MPW run could not be reached. Final testing of ASIC engineering samples showed that 2 of the 10 packaged dies are working according to specification. Supply current in power down mode and during full operation of the samples are well below the specified limits. A relevant expertise increase could be gained mainly in the areas of programming in VHDL, simulation of hardware models and technology management that were new for the company. The application experiment is of interest to companies designing data acquisition units, especially when these are to be miniaturised and increased in functionality. Additionally companies with applications in security should have an interest in the AE. The time to market is expected to be one year and industrialisation costs will come to the amount of 107 k. The pay back period is estimated to be 30 months and the product lifetime is about five years with an ROI, which will reach up to 350%.
Securiton General Control Systems GmbH
33 1010 Wien

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Mixed signal ASIC technology provided Securiton General Control Systems 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
Research Institute for Integrated Circuits
Altenberger Strasse 69
A-4040 Linz