Keeping Batch IMU Testing On Track

When calibrating and verifying thirty inertial measurement units (IMUs) at the same time, one catastrophic failure can result in a costly retesting of the entire batch. If one bad IMU is allowed to impact all the others, the efficiency of simultaneous testing suffers. As one manufacturer planned its process, it relied on Ideal Aerosmith to make IMU testing as efficient as possible.

How we solved it.

the challenge

When an innovative manufacturer requested a turnkey test system capable of calibrating and verifying as many IMUs, simultaneously, as possible, the Ideal Aerosmith test solutions team was on the case. While the mechanical aspects of development presented their own challenges, the logistics of acquiring and moving data presented a unique set of hurdles. Two challenges stood out: (A) How to minimize the impact of catastrophic failures of one or more IMUs on the calibration and verification of others and (B) Data acquisition throughput: specifically, how to keep up with the data rate from thirty IMUs.

the solution

Ideal Aerosmith developed a partitioned bus architecture that addressed both of these challenges. The partitioned bus limited the impact of a catastrophic IMU failure to only those other IMUs that were connected to the same partition. For example, if one IMU incurred a catastrophic failure and hung up the bus, it could affect the test for – at most – four other IMUs (instead of all 29 other IMUs).

In addition, each bus partition had a dedicated bus controller. This allowed the multiple cores in the CPU to be leveraged via multithreading. With one thread per bus controller to handle the incoming data, and a high performance logging file system to record it, our turnkey test solution had no trouble acquiring data from 30 IMUs communicating at maximum speed.

the outcome

The turnkey test solution – a result of Ideal Aerosmith’s expertise in both inertial test products and aerospace test solutions –  was capable of simultaneously calibrating and verifying up to 30 IMUs per batch. Data is acquired and collected accurate and reliably, and the system has been in operation in a 24/7 production environment since 2012.

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