First production orders and extensive customer trials for new IMU

In the year since the launch of Silicon Sensing Systems’ new DMU41 9 degrees of freedom (DoF) inertial measurement unit (IMU) the company has signed two major production orders and several smaller orders worth multi $million and has sent units for trial in areas as diverse as marine navigation, rail track surveying, aircraft stabilization and satellite low earth orbit.

Steve Capers, General Manager of Silicon Sensing comments: “Throughout this year we have seen high level of sustained interest in our new, true tactical grade IMU. We developed DMU41 with the advice and involvement of our customers so we were confident of the demand for a highly compact tactical grade IMU that would not be ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) controlled. One year on we have an ever-growing list of customers, with further units ready to be dispatched for trials in the coming months.”

DMU41 brings ultra-precise motion sensing to the latest generation of smaller, more space and power-limited platforms. This all-silicon, micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) unit measures just 50x50x50mm, weighs only 200g, consumes significantly less power than its predecessor yet delivers performance that competes directly with much heavier, larger and more costly, fibre optic gyro (FOG) -based units. This includes class-leading bias instability for more accurate performance over time, excellent angle random walk and exceptional low noise characteristics.

Each DMU41 contains three inductive and three piezoelectric resonating ring gyroscopes with six capacitive accelerometers, all designed and manufactured by Silicon Sensing, along with a 3-axis magnetometer. All inertial sensor data is blended to give optimal motion sensing information with DMU41 able to provide data at configurable variable output rates up to 2kHz. Outputs can combine angular rate, acceleration, delta angle and delta velocity, temperature and built-in test results – and every DMU41 is calibrated over the full operational temperature range to guarantee sustained, reliable performance.

DMU41 Launched

Silicon Sensing introduces a new 9 DoF inertial measurement unit – the DMU41

  • The highest performing silicon MEMS IMU available
  • Unit volume, weight and power consumption reduced by more than 40%

Silicon Sensing Systems is launching a new 9 degrees of freedom (DoF) inertial measurement unit (IMU) which extends the class-leading performance of its predecessor, the DMU30, whist delivering a dramatic reduction in volume, weight and power consumption.

At only 50x50x50mm, and weighing just 200g, the new DMU41 represents a 54% reduction in volume and a 42% reduction in weight over the DMU30. In addition, it has a power consumption 50% lower than DMU30’s typical usage.

With these remarkable decreases in scale and power consumption the DMU41 brings ultra-precise motion sensing to far smaller and more restricted platforms and applications whilst delivering performance that competes directly with far heavier, larger and more costly, fibre optic gyro-based units.

Steve Capers, General Manager, Silicon Sensing Systems Ltd, explains: “We have developed DMU41 in close consultation with customers across many sectors, many of whom have expressed a need for a highly compact, ‘tactical grade’ IMU that is not ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) controlled.”

Capers continues: “We expect our new IMU to find a home operating in the most severe situations – environments such as aerospace, marine and space – where consistent, ultra-precise motion sensing is critical but available space and power is limited.”

DMU41 is an all-silicon micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) IMU that delivers unparalleled inertial performance, combining excellent angle random walk and bias stability with exceptional low noise characteristics. This compact 9 DoF unit contains three inductive and three piezoelectric resonating ring gyroscopes with six capacitive accelerometers, all designed and manufactured by Silicon Sensing, along with 3 magnetometers. All inertial sensor data is blended to give optimal motion sensing information with DMU41 able to provide data at variable output rates up to 2kHz. Outputs can combine angular rate, acceleration, delta angle and delta velocity, temperature and built-in test results – and every DMU41 is calibrated over the full operational temperature range to guarantee sustained, reliable performance.

Upgraded CRS39A

Silicon Sensing announces upgraded gyro for downhole surveying /north finding.

  • Redesigned unit more easily installed in 25mm diameter cylinder
  • Reduced mass with FOG and DTG competitive performance

Silicon Sensing Systems is now delivering its latest generation of ultra-high stability gyroscopes. The new CRS39A has been designed for use in severe environments including downhole drilling operations.

This upgrade of Silicon Sensing’s established CRS39 gyro includes a move to a single board, from two. This has reduced the unit’s mass by 40% and allows it to be installed far more easily in space-limited applications, such as the 25mm diameter cylinders typically used in downhole drilling equipment.

CRS39A also incorporates upgraded micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and electronics, including new drive electronics and improvements to the sensor head. These have delivered significant performance enhancements in critical areas such as bias instability, angle random walk, noise and vibration tolerance whilst multiple on-board temperature sensors allow CRS39A performance to be tuned to suit each operating environment.

Steve Capers, General Manager, Silicon Sensing Systems comments: “Our new CRS39A represents a cost-effective and extremely rugged alternative to fibre optic and dynamically tuned gyros. We have refined both the form and performance of CRS39A to deliver a gyro that is ideal for tasks such as down-hole surveying, non-magnetic north-finding, platform stabilisation, ship stabilisation and control, and autonomous vehicle control, as well as for installation in high-end attitude and heading reference systems.”

CRH03 Launched

Silicon Sensing Systems is introducing a new, all-silicon gyro with inertial sensing performance that is a clear and highly cost-effective alternative to both fibre optic gyro (FOG) and dynamically tuned gyro (DTG) -based products.

The new CRH03 high-performance/low-noise, single axis gyroscope is an upgrade to the company’s previous-generation CRH02 unit. The CRH03 consumes 30% less power than its predecessor and incorporates improvements in both micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and electronics, including new drive electronics and improvements to the sensor head. It is available in five rate ranges, including a new option of 10 degrees per second, is highly tolerant to external vibration and delivers excellent bias instability and angle random walk.

Steve Capers, General Manager, Silicon Sensing Systems Ltd, explains: “CRH03 is a precision gyro with huge potential across sectors such as aerospace, marine, rail, robotics, mining and autonomous vehicles – and in a variety of roles including platform stabilisation, surveying and guidance and control – or as part of a full inertial measurement unit (IMU).”

CRH03 is available both as a packaged unit and as an OEM version. For customers who are creating their own sensor system, such as an IMU, the OEM version is deployable in multiples. With three choices of resonant frequency, system designers are able to specify a triplet of gyros with different frequencies to ensure they achieve the required system motion sensing performance.

PinPoint gyro production increased by 30%

Silicon Sensing increases gyro production by 30% as markets look for performance increase – Customers combine Pinpoint® sensors for up to 4x better performance.

Silicon Sensing Systems Ltd has increased production of its low price, miniature solid-state Pinpoint® gyro by 30% to meet growing demand for improved motion sensing across many every-day applications.

Steve Capers, General Manager, Silicon Sensing Systems, comments: “This is a remarkable time for us. Across many of what we would view as ‘workhorse’ applications we are seeing growing demand for precision levels of motion sensing, delivered at a realistic price. In tasks such as camera stabilization for land surveying, operators now expect to work with minimal jitter, drift and noise, allowing them to increase the quality of what is often vital imagery and data. Using Pinpoint in combination, our customers are seeing performance enhancements of up to 400% ”

Due to its small size, low price and excellent, reliable performance, Pinpoint is being used in combination to improve the performance of many sensor types. This is a single chip device the size of the smallest fingernail (approximately 5mm by 6mm) packaged in a hermetically sealed, ceramic leadless chip carrier (LCC). A bank of 16 Pinpoints can be combined on a printed circuit board (PCB) less than 30mm by 25mm to deliver 4 x better performance than a single device – and class-leading bias and noise performance over a wide temperature range. As PinPoint is available in both flat and vertical form factors, users can create similarly up-scaled three-axis sensing solutions on a single PCB.

Capers continues: “As awareness of these performance gains is growing we have been approached by customers across many markets and have already responded by increasing production by 30%. Next year may bring further increases in demand.”

Three Pinpoint gyros, as well as three of Silicon Sensing’s CRH02 gyros and in-house accelerometers, are also used in the company’s latest and highest performing inertial measurement unit, DMU30. This is an all-MEMS (Micro electro-mechanical system) unit delivering inertial performance that is equivalent to fibre-optic gyro (FOG) grade devices but with greater reliability and at a lower cost, size and weight than is typical of FOG technology.

CRS03 – A Remarkable Success Story

In an historic event for Silicon Sensing, at the end of July 2016, we finally ceased production of our long-running CRS03-xxS range of MEMS gyros. Users have not been left in the lurch however – as well as options for Last Time Buys, they have two further choices for a drop-in replacement: CRS03 lives on in its CRS03-xxT variants – offering an updated MEMS sensor and improved performance – and in the CRS43 gyro. With a different internal architecture and lower price, CRS43 offers an easy choice for fans of the CRS03 who want to avoid system re-design.

CRS03 is one of the earliest commercially-available silicon MEMS gyros to come with the reach of consumer and industrial system designers. It entered production in 2000 and, by the end, around 2.5 million parts will have been produced. It’s a testament to the design quality of the internal MEMS sensor head, known as VSG3, that the design has maintained its status as an ultra-reliable workhorse rotation rate sensor right up to the present day. CRS03 has seen use in high-volume applications as diverse as satellite antenna control, RC helicopter stabilisation, robotic cleaners, smart agriculture, marine positioning, UAVs, avionic instruments, motorsport and GPS compasses.

Silicon Sensing continues to cater for designers requiring a low-cost yet reliable gyro with market-leading performance. As well as CRS03-xxT and CRS43, our PinPoint range of chip gyros is massively popular throughout the world and is at the heart of the new CRS43 design. In addition, Silicon Sensing has continued to improve the performance of the embedded sensor head, allowing a new high-performance family of gyros and IMUs to be produced (CRH02, CRS39 and DMU30) for those seeking FOG capability at a more affordable price. The current sensor portfolio is further augmented by a range of silicon MEMS accelerometers, also produced in Silicon Sensing’s foundry in Japan.

Our latest miniature IMU

Silicon Sensing is delighted to announce the launch of DMU11, the latest in its portfolio of silicon MEMS IMUs. DMU11 follows in the footsteps of the popular DMU10 range, offering similar performance but in a reduced size packaging. Available only in an OEM PCB format, this latest product is firmly aimed at integration into high-volume applications where a low acquisition cost is essential. Users of the DMU10 already appreciate the performance that DMU11 now offers – bias instabilities of better than 10deg/hr and 0.05mg, and random walks of less than 0.4deg/rt hr and 0.05m/s. Each DMU11 is individually calibrated over its full operating temperature range, thus maximising and proving its performance specification.

Available for purchase and evaluation now, DMU11 is gearing up for high volume production. An evaluation kit can also be purchased, comprising a DMU11, and interfacing hardware to connect it to a PC. Custom evaluation software, also provided, allows the user to monitor the DMU11 outputs in real time, or to capture and save the inertial data for subsequent analysis.

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 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.

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