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In touch with taste

Saeco equips a new generation of espresso machines with Sharp Microelectronics BlueStreak processors.

With Italian roots and international vocation, the Saeco company was founded in 1981 in a small village in the hills near Bologna. Today, the company is one of the leader producers of fully automatic espresso coffee machines, with much of its technology developed internally and patented. The company produces 1million coffee machines every year from three production plants.
At the heart of the latest generation of Primea espresso machines is the BlueStreak System on Chip (SoC) LH75411 from Sharp Microelectronics.
The LH75411 is a mid range processor which offers a range of features that make it an economical solution for controlling all types of vending machines with display units.
It was this functionality that convinced the development engineers at Saeco to design it into the latest coffee machine. “For the new Primea, it was important for us to find a processor that already included a touch screen colour display controller, which serves as control panel, as our core competence lies in the development of high quality brewing systems,” explains Andrea Castellani, R&D director at Saeco.
The trend with coffee machines – and other vending machines – is increasingly towards intuitive operation via touch screens. This technology is not only of interesting for household appliances like the Primea, but is also suitable for commercial coffee vending machines or combined drink and food vending machines in public areas.
Gunter Wagschal, product marketing manager for the BlueStreak SoCs at Sharp, feels that this first cooperation is the start of a long term partnership with Saeco. “The highly integrated BlueStreak SoCs, with their many peripherals and interfaces for this type of application, offer an ideal price performance ratio and therefore a good basis for further projects with Saeco.”
The LJ75411 SoC is based on an ARM7TDMI-S 32bit risc core and operates at a clock speed of up to 84MHz from a 1.8V supply. The SoC also comes with 32kbyte of sram onchip and includes a number of peripherals, such as a greyscale and colour lcd controller and a high definition multichannel a/d converter with an integrated touch screen controller.
Like all BlueStreak SoCs, the LH75411 operates at temperatures ranging from –40 to 85°C – the industrial temperature range.
Sharp’s ARM9 and ARM7 based SoCs offer a degree of versatility. The products range from simple cpus, with a clock speed of 76 MHz, to high performance 266MHz SoCs. All BlueStreak SoCs have a high level of integration and low energy consumption. The processors are thus suited for use in a wide range of applications where low system cost is important.
Typical applications include next generation of mobile devices, including hand held games consoles or portable media and DVD players, as well as PDAs, GPS receivers, measuring equipment and portable medical devices.

Graham Pitcher

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