Microcontroller improves performance and reduces cost by 15% of railway
points temperature control
|Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
||Parts of railway track signalling, safety or traffic
ESA Schaltanlagen Grimma GmbH is a medium-sized company with
about 70 employees. Main business field is the development and manufacturing
of products for electrical engineering and power supply. The company is
specialised in manufacturing of electrical equipment and components for
the railway. The products are typically used for the heating of points
in order to guarantee their functionality also in the winter time. The
necessary control components are manufactured, assembled and installed
as system solutions. Customers are railway companies, e.g. the Deutsche
Bahn, but also regional railways and private companies having their own
track systems or works sidings. Up to now, the market is restricted to
The product to be improved is a temperature control and snow-warning device
which is used for the automatic heating control of rail points depending
on the weather conditions (frost or snowfall). All the functional blocks
of this device consist of discrete analogue components. Using a relay
contact, the power supply for the heating coils is automatically switched.
The structure of the system is shown in the figure.
For the detection of frost and snow, sensors are measuring the temperature
of the track and the air. In addition, the system is able to detect rain
or snowfall. These three sensor elements are connected with an electronic
control unit. Here the incoming data are analysed, and the heating is
switched on or off.
Within the Application Experiment, a new temperature control and snow-warning
device consisting of the two main components weather station and track
temperature measuring unit was developed. They are connected by a bus,
all data processing and control functions are realised by a microcontroller.
The new product is characterised by improved parameters and additional
functionality which was not possible to obtain with the old technology.
In addition, the manufacturing costs could be reduced by 15% resulting
also in price advantages for the customer.
The know-how transfer within the Application Experiment enabled the First
User to introduce new products with intelligent features on the market
which will result in additional sales and market shares. The company will
be able for the first time to sell their products abroad.
The company acquired the following knowledge and experiences
: · Management of microcontroller projects
· Marketing strategies for microcontroller based products, co-operation
· Product specific application of microcontrollers
· Software programming
· Application of bus systems for data transfer
ESA Grimma will be able to replicate the know-how within the company.
In addition the experiences are useful for any other company in Germany
and Europe with similar starting conditions when introducing microcontroller
The Application Experiment durstion was 10 months as planned with a working
prototype at 30.3.1999. After finishing the field test at the Deutsche
Bahn AG the system will be introduced to the market in April 2000. The
costs up to the working prototype were 55,600 € of which 50.000 € was
the FUSE investment. An additional 26.500 € was spent for the industrialisation.
The payback period on the FUSE investment will be 24 months. Within the
first five years of product life, a Return-on-Investment of 315% can be
ESA - Elektroschaltanlagen Grimma GmbH
|You can also benefit from microelectronics
Microcontroller technology provided ESA - Elektroschaltanlagen Grimma
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.
||Guiding Technology Transfer Node
|For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
||Gesellschaft fur Mikroelektronikanwendung