Ignition Controlled Engine Analysis
Applying PLD, DSP and SMT technology creates new market opportunities for portable, realistic monitoring and analysis
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    332 Manufacture of instruments and appliances for measuring, checking, testing, navigating, exc. industrial process
COM GmbH from Graz, Austria, has over 25 years of experience in the development and production of instruments for IC (internal combustion) engine and medical measurement implementing PCB and microcontroller. COM has six employees (two electronic engineers with experience of analogue and digital design with discrete components and through hole plated PCB) and a turnover of about 581,4 k€ (1998).

COM produces IC engine indicating systems, necessary for improvements when developing IC engines (measuring the pressure inside the cylinder, the angle of the crank shaft, and the internal temperature) and a ballistic Analyser for ballistic measurements. Furthermore COM produces several signal conditioners for transducers. COM distributes its products world-wide by agencies.

1970 (year of foundation), the company developed and produced the world-wide first computer aided IC engine indicating system. Several improvements have been made with the actual system, DATAC-1, being on the market since 1989. It comprises a data acquisition section and an IBM-compatible PC. All PC components, a small monitor and the COM hardware is installed in plug-in technique in an industrial case.

The current DATAC-1 technology is not up to date, which makes a redesign necessary to hold the shares of the market. A dramatic space saving to approximately 10% of the size of DATAC-1 can be achieved by using PLDs and SMDs. Additional use of new monolithic analogue components and a DSP can improve the performance and flexibility and adapt it to today's standard.

COM is a first user of PLD, DSP, and SMT.

The main reason to innovate was to enter the new market opened by forthcoming regulations for IC engines. Therefore size and power consumption had to be reduced, which also leads to cost reductions. This was achieved with the new design making it a perfect follow up. Furthermore, two new market segments were opened: On board investigations in cars and ships.

The importance of both segments is rising. In cars because stationary operated test benches do not characterise the real behaviour of the engine and in ship diesels because even the lightest performance changes of an engine can lead to serious problems on sea.

COM will develop and industrialise a new complete system where the PC is not visible for the customer.

The design of the prototype took 13 months with a budget of 75,18k€ of which 70K€ was the Fuse investment. The payback period of the FUSE investment will be approximately 12 months while the ROI over a product lifetime of three years is estimated to reach up to 650%. In addition 59K€ of industrialisation costs were necessary.
Am Mühlgraben 5
A-8041 Graz

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

PLD, DSP, SMT technology provided COM 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