TAMAGAWA SEIKI CO.,LTD.


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Technology

History of our Gyro Development

 Since World War II, there had been a lot of studies of Gyroscope under the concept of high accuracy, compact-size and light weight for the need of aircraft or missile. In those days, Attitude Gyro and Rate Gyro were the standard types of Gyroscope and often used for aircraft, missile or rocket, etc.

 Until the late 70’s, Mechanical Gyroscope was commonplace. For high-end products such as aircraft navigation system, Stable Platform Gyroscope which consists of Multi-gimbal was often used. The characteristics of Stable Platform Gyroscope is high accuracy and narrow range of angular velocity. This type of Gyroscope was called Platform Gyroscope. In 1970’s, Strapdown Gyroscope was also introduced to market. The word “Strapdown” is used in contradistinction to “Platform”, which means that detection range is wide, and attitude angle is calculated by 3 axis of angular velocity. This technology is realized by developed computer technology.

 In 1980’s, Inertial Navigation System by Strapdown Ring Laser Gyro was adopted by Boeing and Airbus. In those days, Strapdown Gyroscope was gradually increased while Platform Gyroscope was decreasing.
From 1980’s to 2000, mechanical Gyroscope was replaced by non-mechanical Gyroscope. For example, Ring Laser Gyroscope was in practical use in 1980’s, and Fiber Optic Gyroscope followed in 1990’s.
 In 1970’s, Hydrodynamic Gyroscope such as Gas Rate Gyro and Vibrating Gyroscope was actively developed in US. The accuracy of these Gyroscopes is not very high, but they are superior in operating life, environmental performance and cost. Therefore, a lot of Japanese manufacturers were interested in and focused on these Gyroscopes. Since then, Hydrodynamic Gyroscope or Vibrating Gyroscope were used for mass-produced automobile or camera and changed its image of expensiveness or short operating device. Honda, a Japanese automaker, paid an attention on Hydrodynamic Gyroscope (Gas Rate Sensor) which was initially developed for Japanese Defense program. Honda succeeded in developing low-cost & high performance Hydrodynamic Gyroscope and used them for car navigation system in early 1980’s. This achievement made an impact on Japanese industry as Gyroscope was used for general industry for the first time.

Since then, a lot of Japanese manufacturers have focused on Vibrating Gyroscope or Fiber Optic Gyroscope. This trend would affect the development of MEMS Gyroscope later. It is considered that MEMS Gyroscope will become more common from now on. Gyroscope is facing with conversion from Military based development to Industry standard.