If You Can’t Test It, Maybe You Cant-Test It

The testing and calibration of inertial measurement units (IMUs) is a complex endeavor, especially as IMU technology outgrows the capabilities of equipment used in the testing process. With replacement proving to be both costly and time-consuming, Ideal Aerosmith took it upon itself to find manufacturers a feasible alternative.

How we solved it.

the challenge

Many manufacturers who produce inertial measurement units (IMUs) continue to test and calibrate them using a device called a two-axis table. These devices offer a degree of affordability, thanks to a mathematical “trick” that allows an IMU’s six degrees of freedom to be excited with the table’s two degrees of freedom. However, these two-axis tables also come with an additional idiosyncrasy: they have a lower rate capacity on the outer axis than the inner axis.

While determined engineers may have used these legacy tables to meet past testing requirements, new generations of IMUs almost always require their gyroscopes to be tested at rates that exceed the capabilities of a two-axis system (on its outer axis). While manufacturers began to contact Ideal Aerosmith for help in overcoming this challenge, some of them simply did not have the time or resources to replace their two-axis tables.

One question kept coming up: Would it be possible to retrofit existing two-axis tables with the capabilities to effectively test and calibrate newer IMUs?

the solution

With a little ingenuity and a lot of hard work, Ideal Aerosmith’s team of experienced engineers developed a solution that utilized existing two-axis tables. The key was placing IMUs in a new orientation during testing. Specifically, IMUs were mounted onto the table at a carefully calculated angle in which the table’s inner axis could be used to simultaneously excite all three gyroscope axes simultaneously. The method is referred to as “canted mounting,” and it’s possible for an Ideal Aerosmith technician to retrofit almost any two-axis table so that it might be utilized.

the outcome

Ideal Aerosmith’s canted mounting solution provides testing capabilities and accuracy that traditional flat mounting cannot achieve on its own. To see the results for yourself, contact Ideal Aerosmith.

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