Seiko Epson has developed two new compact inclinometers and two new compact accelerometers (three-axis sensor units) for different industrial applications. These products provide stable monitoring for extended periods of time with a resolution of 0.001 degree (inclinometer) and 10 uG (accelerometer). Epson will begin shipping samples in January 2013 and plans to begin volume production within 2013.
Sensors are used in the construction and civil engineering industries to monitor horizontal and vertical planes in skyscrapers and other large structures, as well as to measure changes over time that occur in structures due to slight shaking and to measure structural distortion and deterioration after seismic activity. However, the high-precision inclinometers and accelerometers used to date for these measurements and sensing applications have been expensive, large, and heavy, characteristics that present significant barriers to adoption. Industry wanted the compactness, power-efficiency and low cost of monitoring systems provided by silicon MEMS sensors combined with the same long-lasting accuracy and stability as mechanical servo sensors.
"To meet the customer needs we drew on our unique strength in QMEMS*) fabrication technology to develop a new quartz accelerometer that is both highly accurate and stable," said Toshihiko Kano, general manager of Epson's M Project. "We combined this accelerometer with semiconductor and software technology to form high-performance inclinometers and accelerometers (three-axis sensor units) for practical applications. We will supply these inclinometers and accelerometers as built-in models and as CAN*2-compliant waterproof and dustproof models that can be used in a variety of applications."
These products make it easy to build a flexible monitoring system that will satisfy industrial performance requirements. They can also easily be used to realize multi-node and synchronous measurement systems. By using a digital interface, customers will be able to build monitoring systems that have superior anti-noise performance and long-distance measurement capability in far less time.
*) QMEMS is a combination of "Quartz," a crystalline material with excellent characteristics such as excellent frequency stability and high precision, and "MEMS" (micro electro mechanical system). QMEMS devices, produced via a microfabrication process on a quartz material instead of on a semiconductor material like MEMS, offer high performance in a compact package. QMEMS is a registered trademark of Seiko Epson Corporation.
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