DMU30 Gearing up for Mass Production

The DMU30 programme is moving into the qualification phase, ready to ramp up to full volume production in July 2016. DMU30 is a new high performance 12-DOF MEMS IMU using high-precision Multi-MEMS inertial sensors with a novel ‘sensor blending’ filter to achieve near-FOG grade bias and angle random walk characteristics. The qualification phase puts in place a fully specified and controlled production process and verifies that the process will deliver the product specification throughout its production lifetime. This process is compliant with our AS9100 quality assurance accreditation and culminates in a ‘PPAP’ production release process in accordance with automotive production control standards.

Low volume initial production for testing, customer evaluation and integration has been in place for several months. The performance of these parts has been highly encouraging both in the Silicon Sensing design proving tests and in customer evaluations. Interest in the product is very strong so we are preparing to run additional low-volume production batches. This will allow us to expand the number of customers participating in early evaluation, and to allow customers to start integrating DMU30 into their applications ahead of full volume production.

DMU30 SOP (Start of Production) coincides with the ‘tape cutting’ on a brand new, dedicated, high-volume Silicon Sensing test and calibration facility. This facility will be solely used for high precision test and calibration of SSSL IMUs. The first machine was installed in February 2016 – a state-of-the-art 2‑axis rate table with thermally controlled chamber supplied by Acutronic of Switzerland.

The new purpose built 2-axis rate table is currently being integrated with Silicon Sensing bespoke high volume test control systems. These systems provide increased capacity for high precision calibration over temperature of more than 30,000 IMUs per machine per year. Plans for installation of the next machine are now being drawn up.

DMU10 Diverse Applications

DMU10, the low-cost IMU launched 18 months ago, has proved an extremely popular choice for a very diverse range of applications on land, at sea and in the air.

Applications as varied as Precision Agriculture, Robotics, Commercial Aviation, Vehicle Telematics, Drilling Platforms, Unmanned Airborne and Underwater Vehicles are all now using the DMU10 and seeing the cost/performance benefits that result. Designers have appreciated the choice of OEM or housed module configurations as well as the enhanced performance of the pre-calibrated options.

DMU10 comprises three of Silicon Sensing’s popular Orion combi-sensors – each of which has a PZT MEMS gyro and two axis MEMS accelerometer within. The orthogonal construction of the Orion sensors with the DMU10 allows the accelerometer axes to be arranged in back-to-back pairs, enhancing common-mode error rejection. Bias Instability and Random Walk (noise) performance for both gyros and accelerometers is class-leading, and a key discrimination factor. A PC-based evaluation kit makes it easy to interface to the DMU10 for initial experimentation, and to save the real-time inertial data for subsequent analysis.

PinPoint® gyro helps navigate FLOORBOT

Having been extensively used for ‘in-dash’ satnavs in gyro-aided dead reckoning navigation for cars, PinPoint®’s latest achievement is being selected by FLOORBOTICS™ for use in self-guided robotic floor cleaning products for industry and the home. According to Duncan Ashworth, Director at FLOORBOTICS™ and the inventor of the ARNA™ robot navigation system “Mobile robots often need to know their relative orientation in the environment and therefore an accurate gyro, with low drift, is an important part of the navigation sensor fusion. Silicon Sensing’s PinPoint® precision MEMS navigation and pointing gyro – CRM100 – offers the lowest drift and fastest nulling speed for a sensor in such a small form factor. The company’s excellent technical support with good documentation and reference design, and their responsiveness to our questions when first integrating and evaluating the gyro, were also deciding factors when it came to a selection decision.”

PinPoint® CRM100 and CRM200 use Silicon Sensing’s fifth generation Vibrating Structure Gyroscope (VSG) Coriolis angular rate sensor technology. At the heart of the tiny surface mount sensor is a 3mm diameter resonating silicon ring on which the thin film PZT transducers are deposited to provide the motion drive and sensing. The sputtering process for depositing the microns thick electrodes has been developed by Silicon Sensing in its MEMS foundry in Japan to the extent that the technology has a wide range of applications in other MEMS devices from micro-mirrors to inkjet printheads.

FLOORBOTICS™ International, with locations in USA and Australia, is a renowned and experienced leader in the field of robotics for industrial and domestic floor cleaning machines.

TruTrak’s continued co-operation with SSS

TruTrak Flight Systems recently placed follow-on purchase orders for Silicon Sensing’s PinPoint® MEMS gyroscope products for use in its successful range of aircraft autopilots. This latest order further extends the successful co-operation between the two companies which goes back over ten years. Andrew Barker, President & CEO of TruTrak says “TruTrak has been using Silicon Sensing gyros in our products for many years. The PinPoint® line of gyros are unmatched in quality and the support we have received from Silicon Sensing is top notch!”. PinPoint® CRM100 and CRM200 are precision, single-axis MEMS gyroscopes which use fifth generation VSG (Vibrating Structure Gyro) technology. Founded in 1999, co-incidentally the same year as Silicon Sensing was formed, TruTrak Flight Systems is a leader and innovator in the experimental and light sport aircraft autopilot market.

PinPoint® gyro even better

Continuous improvements to the design and manufacturing processes of the PinPoint® CRM100 and CRM200 precision MEMS gyro mean that SSS has been confident in tightening the specification to guarantee higher performance for many customers. Scale Factor, Bias Instability and Angular Random Walk error parameters are now up to 50% lower with this release. Typical Bias Instability is now 12°/hr and Scale Factor over temperature 0.5% making PinPoint the best in class for a miniature chip-scale MEMS gyro. In many cases this means customers who previously needed to calibrate the host system to guaranteee system level performance across the operating temperature range can consider removing this costly procedure thus making considerable savings. PinPoint® is an extremely successful single-axis gyro product for Silicon Sensing with well over a million gyros in service with hundreds of customers in a diverse number of applications ranging from car navigation aiding to aircraft instrumentation. Improvements to the Thin Film PZT transducer technology have been at the core of the drive for improving the sensor, this PZT technology is now being successfully applied to customers of Silicon Sensing’s foundry business.

DMU30 Update

DMU30 is making excellent progress and is on course for full release in October. DMU30 is a first generation High Performance MEMS IMU (HPIMU). The design is essentially complete and DMU30 units are now being out through their paces as part of thorough internal qualification testing. Several key potential customers gave already taken delivery of pre-production units for integration, trials and evaluation. “The development team are very confident of the integrity of the IMU design which has already passed several tests with flying colours, including HALT accelerated life testing” reports Silicon Sensing’s Project Manager, Nathan Willcocks. “Once complete the development team will being work on some of the planned new features to be incorporated into future generations of the DMU30 as the next step along the HPIMU roadmap, these include, for example, low-power sleep mode, over-range capability and AHRS functions. However the focus today is on the release of the first generation DMU30”.

DMU30 is on course

The first of a family of High Performance IMUs (HPIMUs) due for release in the summer of 2015, DMU30 is a ground-breaking, non-ITAR, MEMS IMU alternative to more costly ‘FOG-grade’ IMUs for use in exacting motion sensing applications, ranging from unmanned vehicle navigation to surveying and mapping. Development is now at an advanced stage with B-Model units now being integrated and submitted to rigorous calibration and test routines at Silicon Sensing’s prestige IMU laboratory and test facilities. Full specification details will become available in March and beta customer trials are scheduled to begin in May. Further programmed development of the HPIMU family will see the integration of additional positioning sensors, including magnetometers and barometers, creating a prestigious family of affordable IMUs where no compromise in performance is required.

 

400 years of Anglo-Japanese trading

Silicon Sensing Systems recently took part in the Japan400 Plymouth celebrations, commemorating the 400th Anniversary of the arrival in Plymouth of the first English trading vessel to return from Japan.

A business event, organised by the University of Plymouth and Plymouth City Council and hosted by The Royal Western Yacht Club was held in order to promote understanding and to generate trading links between local companies doing business with Japan.

The event was attended by representatives from the Japanese Embassy, Plymouth City Council, the University of Plymouth and Kawasaki Precision Machining as well as a number of other interested parties, contributors and businesses. Silicon Sensing Systems provided its perspective with a brief presentation, made by Company Secretary, Norman Cooke, on its close to 20 years of successful Anglo-Japanese business partnership. Also in attendance was Mr Hiroaki Minami representing the Silicon Sensing Systems Board of Directors.

DMU10 will be sampling soon…

Silicon Sensing Systems has been developing its latest 6 degree of freedom Dynamic Measurement Unit, the DMU10 and it will be sampling soon.

DMU10 provides three axes of angular rate and linear acceleration, and two measurements of temperature. The output message includes message counter, built-in test results, delta theta and delta velocity information. Data is output on an industry standard RS422 interface for ease of integration.

DMU10 is engineered using Silicon Sensing’s unique MEMS VSG5 ring gyroscope and capacitive accelerometer technologies to provide benchmark performance, size and affordability. It contains three 5th generation piezoelectric (PZT) gyroscopes and six accelerometers. Outputs from dual ‘back-to-back’ accelerometers per axis are averaged to improve precision and reduce uncorrelated noise.

It will be vailable as un-calibrated, calibrated at room temperature and calibrated over the full operating temperature range, DMU10 is also supplied either as an OEM or Packaged unit. Early samples will be the calibrated (over temperature), “A Model” OEM version.

Typical Allan Variance plots for the Gyroscope and Accelerometer channels are shown below:

Humanoids visit Silicon Sensing

‘Eva’, Flux’ and ‘Mustachio’ , the University of Plymouth Humanoids, came to the site at Plymouth to show off their football prowess to Silicon Sensing.

‘Eva’ has recently won a sprint gold medal at the FIRA Invitational Cup in Korea in the sprint event. With the help of a PinPoint® gyro used as a yaw sensor she was able to keep track and win gold.

All the humanoids in the Plymouth team use PinPoint® gyros in their IMU and new developments within the team are looking to improve the performance by using the Orion™ combi-sensors.

Eva went on to break the world record for a Robot marathon.

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