Industrial Communications Board
Increased density achieves outstanding functionality
Technologies used

Surface Mount Technology (SMT)

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    333 : Industrial Process Control

Application Specific Computers Ltd (ASC) was established in 1989 with 4 employees. The two directors are both electronic/computer engineering graduates with over 20 years combined experience in the field of Real-Time software and digital microelectronics. The company now has 7 employees. Turnover is 300 KEur p.a.

ASC combine an electronics design consultancy service and design digital electronic systems and has designed a small range of single board and rack based computer boards for industrial use, typically for OEM intelligent shop floor automation and monitoring systems. Industrial networking and the development of industrial metal detectors are examples of product areas.

Experience extends to system and circuit design using microcontrollers and FPGAs at PCB level with through hole component technology.

The existing product is a complex Industrial Communications Computer (ICC) board, using through hole technology, which is a component of intelligent shop floor automation and monitoring systems. This board uses a 32 bit Motorola MC68EC040 clocked at 25MHz supported by 2Mbytes of static RAM and 4Mbytes of EPROM. The unit supports a variety of serial asynchronous and asynchronous protocols, as well as industrial communication protocols such as Modbus.

The project is for the First User to gain knowledge and experience of Surface Mount Technology (SMT) with the application being to the ICC board. The aim was to reduce manufacturing and assembly costs by 10%, increase Input/Output bandwidth improvement by 250%, increase the functionality by adding four new functions (40% increase) and obtain a reduced physical volume by 33% by the use of SMT.

The ICC board was fabricated on an 8 layer printed circuit board (PCB) using 8 thou track and gap spacing. PCB design rules and major physical constraints are detailed for SMT and pick-and-place assembly.

The project allowed ASC to gain a knowledge of how to apply the benefits of SMT to future hardware.

The project started in September 1996 took 10 months and cost 44KEur. The payback period for the above investment is estimated at 9 months and the ROI seven-fold over the life of the product. 338 words

Application Specific Computers Ltd
Unit 6, Thongsbridge Business Park
Miry Lane, Thongsbridge
Huddersfield HD7 2SA,

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Surface Mount Technology (SMT) technology provided Application Specific Computers 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
Bolton Institute of Higher Education
Technology Development Unit
Deane Road
BL3 5AB Bolton
United Kingdom