IXTREM is a well-known engineering and consulting company of 10 people
specialised in electromagnetic techniques. The company, created in 1992,
designs and manufactures sensors and integrates electronic modules inside
systems, which are bought from a supplier.
The company has a small electronic technical team composed of one
engineer and one technician. Their experience is limited to the design
and the manufacture of small basic electronic modules (amplifiers, filters,
current generators...) and to the maintenance of electronic boards which
are supplied outside the company. They have no experience in microelectronic
except PCB knowledge.
IXTREM has focused its activities on non-destructive testing, magnetic
and electromagnetic measurement techniques and their applications: magnetic
labelling (cells and animals), magnetisation, demagnetisation, intense
magnetic field, measurement of magnetic field, magnetic sorting, magnetic
detection (metal and mines) and magnetic environment and methods. IXTREM
has developed instruments and sensors to correctly answer to these different
Especially IXTREM has developed an equipment called Maxwell. Maxwell
boards are interfaced in PC bus ISA to make a powerful monitoring system
for data acquisition and signal processing using DC or sinus signal
frequency range from 10 Hz to 10 MHz. Maxwell plate-form is mainly dedicated
to non-destructive testing application (eddy current and magnetic flux
The object of the FUSE project was the development of a portable battery
operated device for measurement and metal detection. Main electronic
components in this new product are a Motorola Coldfire DSP and a XILINX
Spartan XL FPGA, that supports the processing of high speed DSP functions
and in addition includes the necessary interface logic. The technology
transfer was mainly in the area of DSP functionality whereas the FPGA
work was subcontracted. The main objectives of the AE were related to
cost reduction, improvement of some specific functions (multiplexing,
data processing and representation), size reduction, avoiding a PC environment
which is expensive and too complex, and targeting of new markets.
Most of their customer are located in mechanical, metallurgical, aeronautic
and armament industrial sectors. With the new product, the company has
decided to target new sectors like agriculture, environmental sector,
food industry to find new markets.
The project lasted 12 months and required a 60'000 EUR budget. The
expected ROI is 1'204 % over 5 years. The payback period is assessed
at 2 years.