Silicon Sensing AMU30

The AMU30 from Silicon Systems.

June 20, 2019      

Silicon Sensing Systems today announced it will showcase its new high performance, all-MEMS inertial measurement unit (IMU) at the Sensors Expo next week in San Jose, Calif. The AMU30 is the company’s first IMU that combines high-performance motion sensing with full attitude and heading reference system (AHRS) capabilities, the company said.

Based on its DMU30 unit, the AMU30 is designed to respond to growing demand for a tactical grade, non-ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations) IMU that also outputs pitch, roll, and heading data, the company said. The micro electrical-mechanical system (MEMS) offers an alternative to heavier, larger, and more costly fiber-optic gyro-based devices, it added.

Several potential uses

“We believe this product has huge potential in a wide range of markets and across many environments,” said Steve Capers, general manager at Silicon Sensing Systems. “AMU30 is a significant evolution of our DMU30 high performance IMU and we are now offering it to our customers for evaluation.”

Capers said markets and applications that could benefit from the AMU30 include:

  • Hydrographic surveying and maritime guidance
  • Airborne surveillance and mapping
  • Autonomous or remotely operated vehicle control and machine control
  • Inertial navigation and GPS drop-out aiding.

The AMU30 includes a 10 degree-of-freedom IMU with a three-axis magnetometer, pressure sensors, and a sophisticated AHRS algorithm. A multi-MEMS architecture blends the inputs from dual independent MEMS sensing elements on each axis to deliver precise 3-axis outputs of angular rate and acceleration, plus roll, pitch and heading angles, altitude and pressure, and temperature, at 200 Hz. The company said performance is optimized through calibration over the full operational temperature range.

New MEMS foundry

Silicon Systems, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is jointly owned by Collins Aerospace and Sumitomo Precision Products. The Anglo-Japanese joint venture has supplied almost 30 million MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers to thousands of customers worldwide. The company recently announced the signing of a new 10-year agreement, which will take the business through to the end of 2029.

Silicon sensing

Silicon Sensing announced plans for a new MEMS foundry that will increase its output of inertial sensors and device wafers. Image: Silicon Sensing

Last month, the company announced it would expand its MEMS foundry in Japan, moving into a new purpose-built facility to help meet the increased demand for its MEMS inertial sensors and sputtered thin film PZT MEMS device wafers. The new facility increases its floor space to 3,000 square meters, doubling its current wafer throughput, with a goal of reaching a five-fold increase in output over the next five years.

“This is an important milestone in the continuing evolution of the Silicon Sensing company,” said Hiroshi Tanaka, general manager of the Japan site. “Our aim is to make smooth transition from the current facility into our new, earthquake resistant building by the end of 2020.” The expansion is part of a two-year program of investment, which includes upgrading tooling, capabilities, and capacity, the company said.