August 2016 - Marine Technology Reporter

MTR100: Silicon Sensing Systems

Marine Technology Reporter

Silicon Sensing Systems is a provider of silicon MEMS-based gyroscopes, accelerometers and inertial measurement units. The latest solutions offer robust non-magnetic North Finding technology – a cost-effective alternative to FOG-based products – as well as systems suitable for a wide range of navigation and stabilization requirements.

With a heritage dating back more than 100 years, Silicon Sensing Systems Ltd and its predecessor companies have a unique record in delivering gyroscope systems to the marine industry. Based in Plymouth in the southwest of the U.K., Silicon Sensing Systems produces low-cost highly reliable gyros. Having gained entry into the consumer car market, the company now produces up to 4 million devices per year, and more than 30 million to date. The company is now jointly owned by UTC Aerospace Systems, co-located in Plymouth, and Sumitomo Precision Products Amagasaki, Japan, bringing inertial expertise from the U.K./U.S. side, and silicon MEMS fabrication from Japan.
The patented construction of its silicon MEMS gyros – based on a vibrating ring – makes the Silicon Sensing Systems gyros highly resistant to shock and vibration, increasing the reliability and quality of its inertial portfolio. An in-house MEMS foundry has manufactured all of the core gyro technology since the birth of the joint venture. Among its unique fabrication equipment is a deep reactive-ion etching capability, developed in-house in Japan. Most recently, Silicon Sensing Systems has leveraged the inherent capability of its MEMS devices to create a new range of high performance gyros and inertial systems. Sensitive enough to detect earth rotation rate, these devices enable a North-seeking capability to be offered to the market – offering performance equivalent to fiber-optic systems but at a greatly reduced price. Specific new products now on offer include, CRS39 and CRH02 gyros (with performance better than 0.1deg/hr bias instability), plus DMU10, DMU11 and DMU30 inertial measurement units. 
(As published in the July/August 2016 MTR100 edition of Marine Technology Reporter)

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