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RAMP Collaboration with Acutronic Improves MEMS Device Testing

Article Posted On 1/7/2014

Funded by the RAMP (Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania) program, Acutronic and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) researchers have been collaborating so that Acutronic can use its existing manufacturing testing equipment to also calibrate MEMS (microelectromechanical) devices.

Traditionally, this Pittsburgh, PA-based company has provided highly precise equipment to calibrate traditional inertial measurement units (IMUs), which are manually loaded and require long test cycles. With CMU Robotics Institute Finmeccanica Associate Professor Siddhartha Srinivasa, principal systems scientist David Bourne, and systems engineer Michael Dawson-Haggerty, the company has been working on a system to use its testing equipment to calibrate MEMS IMS in parallel, with less human intervention and in much shorter time.

Together, the team has developed a system which automates and parallelizes IMU thermal conditioning during calibration. Their core concept for increasing throughput is to disconnect the thermal chamber from the rate table. In this way, units can come to the necessary temperature off of the rate table, and then only be mounted for the active part of the test. This transforms a previously serial operation into a parallel one, reclaiming valuable machine time that was, with the old approach, spent idle.

A demonstration of their work is available at