Scaling Up IMU Testing

Precision inertial testing is not a process that is easy to scale up. However, it is much less challenging when you work with the experienced team at Ideal Aerosmith. As one customer was pleased to learn, with innovation and ingenuity, it’s possible to increase throughput without sacrificing quality.

How we solved it.

the challenge

A manufacturer required a turnkey test system capable of calibrating and verifying inertial measurement units (IMUs). In order to reduce the calibration and verification cost per unit, they asked Ideal Aerosmith’s test solutions group to develop a solution that performed these tasks on as many test articles as possible.

Fitting a large number of IMUs into the confined space of a thermal chamber posed a number of challenges, not the least of which was how to engineer a mechanical mounting with small error stack-up.

the solution

Ideal Aerosmith’s plan relied on devising a tabletop suspended in the middle of the thermal chamber and mounting the IMUs on both sides. This arrangement resulted in much smaller installation misalignment errors than the hotel fixture originally requested by the customer. Additionally, the IMUs were installed on precision machined posts that not only assured a minimal positioning error, but also improved wiring management.

Finally, to maximize the available space, the IMUs were placed in six different orientations. This complicated the math involved in performing calibrations, but increased the overall test capacity.

the outcome

The resulting turnkey test solution was capable of simultaneously calibrating and verifying an incredible 30 IMUs per batch. Best of all, its complexity has not adversely impacted its reliability. The unit has been operating in a 24/7 production environment since 2012.

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