Title
An improved Linear CCD Control System
FPGA technology provides improved accuracy and flexibility
Technologies used

FPGA

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    333 Industrial Process Control Equipment
Abstract

Control Applications is a small, 7-year-old research and development company specialising in the design and development of industrial automation systems. The company employs 6 employees, and in 1999 achieved sales of approximately 300.000 Euro.

Specifically, Control Applications (CA) is specialised in the organisation & automation of production lines in the industrial fields of Aluminium, Cement, Food, Manufacturing and Mining. This includes collection of data and visual representation, automatic control of productions lines and quality control of end products. CA is considered to be the only Greek company that develops machines for visual quality control. The personnel of the company are comprised of electronic engineers and computer scientists integrating backgrounds and skills from the domains of image processing, industrial applications development, s/w design and development and production automation.

Line scan sensors are utilised by the company in its products. These products range from rice to fruit sorters and operate in real-time. Speed and colour resolution are very important parameters.

Different sensors are used according to the application, and for each one a new board had to be designed with the discrete technology used today, though most of them share common characteristics. Due to the 'old-fashioned' technology that was used only the absolutely essential functions, such as timing, correlated double sampling, gain and offset were practicable to be incorporated.

The objective of the Application Experiment was:

  • To improve the electronics in the existing sorting systems to improve efficiency and add the capability of handling a series of line scan cameras.
  • To design a new board using an FPGA. This board will be common to all sensors and at the same time will take advantage of the increased capabilities offered by the new technology, meaning that additional functions will be incorporated.
  • To reduce product set-up costs by 18% and increase sales (mainly exports).

The application of FPGA technology produced the following product improvements:

  • The improvement in the existing sorting systems makes the Control System more efficient and capable of handling series of line scan cameras.
  • The new board has additional functions such as timing, correlated double sampling, gain and offset.
  • Reduction in production costs, specifically the PCB costs were reduced by approximately 60% while the component costs decreased by 20%.
  • Improvement in quality.

These additional product features provide new customer benefits and product differentiation features that improve Control Applications' market competitiveness.

The application experiment was completed in 10 months and cost 55.000 Euro. The payback period for the application experiment will be 15 months, and the return on investment is estimated at 364 % over 4 years of life.

Following the application experiment, Control Applications is now capable of undertaking the incremental design of the improved product for other applications, and the manufacture of the new products.

Company

Control Applications Ltd.
36 Mikalis St, N. Smirni
171 22 Athens
Greece


Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

FPGA technology provided Control Applications 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.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
Archimedia SA
73, Poseidonos Avenue
P. Faliro 175 62
Greece