SOLAR POWERED VACCINE REFRIGERATOR
microcontroller improves performance and reduces costs by 12.5%
Dulas has successfully adopted microcontroller technology to improve its solar
powered vaccine refrigerator. The new product controller has improved performance,
enhanced features and lower calibration and test costs. The use of the technology in
Dulas’s solar powered products will enable the company to enhance its
competitiveness and expand its market opportunities. The annual sales revenue
resulting from the use of microcontroller technology is expected to double within
Dulas Ltd develops, produces and installs equipment based on DULAS LTD
renewable energy resources. The company is well established in Employees 22
the solar, hydro and wind electricity generation industries, and Turnover 2 M€/year
sells its products world-wide. Its product and services include
Industrial Sector Refrigeration equipment
turnkey hydroelectric generation systems, solar powered systems NACE code: 29
for healthcare and telecommunication applications, and bio-mass
Technical expertise PCB and discrete components
energy production systems, including commercial wood burners. before the project
Technical expertise at Microcontroller
the end of the project
SIGNIFICANT ECONOMIC BENEFITS
Sales of Dulas’s vaccine refrigerator and other solar powered products were
expected to decline as a result of improved products from its competitors. The
Sales revenue of solar powered
% products relative to 1997 figures utilisation of microcontroller technology in the vaccine refrigerator has resulted
in enhanced features and improved performance. In addition, Dulas has already
150 started to introduce the technology into its other solar products. The combined
100 effect of the technology utilisation in Dulas’s photo voltaic products will enable
it to improve its competitiveness and achieve significant growth in sales as
1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 Year shown in the chart. The prototype development was funded under the FUSE
programme at a cost of 27 K€. The increase in sales will enable Dulas to recover
these costs within 19 months. The return on investment is estimated at 681%
over 3 year of sales. The industrialisation costs were 35 K€.
The existing photo voltaic controller of Dulas’s VC150 solar powered vaccine refri-
gerator was based entirely on discrete analogue components. It suffered from
limitations related to the effectiveness of the battery fast charging process, and
the level of user control and feedback. The improved microcontroller-based product
has overcome these limitations and provided major feature enhancements including:
• Improved battery charging system with monitoring and maintenance battery state.
• Better protection to deal with reversed or open circuit battery connections.
• User set up procedures and field adjustment facilities.
• Display of battery voltage, charge and discharge currents.
• System performance monitoring, recording and data transfer via serial port.
FUSE: Innovation with Microelectronics AE27583
How to go about it
CHOOSING THE RIGHT TECHNOLOGY
Microcontroller technology was selected by Dulas to improve its
solar powered refrigerator because it offered the following PROJECT OVERVIEW
benefits: Main Activity Microcontroller development
• Integration of most of the analogue and digital electronic
functions into a single chip. Duration 11 months
• Suitability for implementing the user interface and control Effort 140 person days
algorithms of the system.
Overall prototype 27 K€
• Flexibility enabling feature modifications for different development costs
applications by software changes.
• Low components costs for an annual production volume of
less than 200 units.
• Suitability for adoption in other product areas.
A PARTNERSHIP FOR SUCCESS
Dulas conducted the project as a FUSE application experiment EFFORT & COST
with the support of a suitable subcontractor. The subcontractor
Task Company’s Subcontractor’s
provided support in the following areas: effort (days) costs (K€)
• Training in microcontroller development and C language Management 10
Training 6 1.4
• Review of the technical specifications.
• Hardware design options. Specifications 20 0.5
• Software development. Design 69 2.5
• Prototype testing.
Test 35 0.3
The main project tasks, effort and costs are listed in the
adjacent table. Total 140 4.7
YOU CAN ALSO BENEFIT FROM MICROELECTRONICS
Microcontroller technology has provided Dulas with the means of improving its vaccine refrigerator and other solar powered
products with the result of expanding its market opportunities. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right
micro-electronics 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
Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.
The Technology Transfer Node The Company The FUSE Secretariat
Centre for Electronic Product Engineering UGCS Ltd, Dulas Ltd, European Commission
University of Glamorgan Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan, Dyfi Eco Parc, Machynlleth, DG Information Society – N105
CF37 1DL, United Kingdom. Powys, SY20 8AX, 200, rue de la Loi
Tel: +44 1443 4824542 United Kingdom. B-1049 Brussels
Fax: +44 1443 4824541 Belgium
FUSE: Best practice in Microelectronics AE27583