What is an Encoder?
A rotary encoder also known as shaft encoder is an electromechanical device that converts the angular position or motion of a shaft or axle to an analog or digital code. It counts the number of rotations, rotational position, and rotational angle. Linear Encoders are used to measure linear movement along a straight line.
The rotary encoder is used to monitor the position of a rotating shaft by converting shaft rotation into electronic pulses. The encoder’s pulses are measured and analyzed by a control unit which is used to determine the machine’s position and velocity, with a high degree of accuracy and flexibility when controlling motion.
Working and the types of Encoders
Incremental rotary encoders use a transparent disk that contains opaque sections that are equally spaced which determines the movement. A light-emitting diode is used to pass through the glass disk and is detected by a photodetector.
This causes the encoder to generate a series of parallel pulses as it rotates. The output of the incremental rotary encoder is measured in pulses per revolution which is used to keep track of the position or determine the speed.
This type of encoder emits a pulse of strings in response to the amount of rotational displacement of the shaft. A separate counter is used to count the number of output pulses and determine the amount of rotation.
In order to count the number and degree of rotation from a certain input shaft position, the counter is made set to the reference position and the number of pulses passing through that position is added cumulatively by the counter.
For this reason, the reference position can be selected as required and the count for the number of rotation can be unlimited. When a disk with an optical pattern revolves along with the shaft, light passes through two slits which is transmitted or blocked according to those patterns.
The light which passes through those gaps is converted into electrical current in the detector unit, which corresponds to each slit and is received as two square waves. The two slits are so placed that, the phase difference between the square wave outputs is one-fourth of the pitch.
This kind of encoder emits pulse in parallel to the rotation angle as an absolute value which is represented in the form 2n. These have one output for each output code bit. As the resolution builds up, the value of output increases.
The rotation position is directly measured and examined by analyzing the output code. At the point when the encoder is fitted or settled in a machine, the zero position of input rotation shaft is made fixed and in this way rotation angle is always used as a digital value with the zero position as the coordinate origin.
The advantage of this encoder is that data never gets corrupted by noise and returning to the zero position at the starting is not necessary.
Furthermore, even when code reading or measuring becomes impossible due to high-speed rotation, correct data can be read when the rotation speed slows, and correct rotation data can even be read or measured when the power is restored after a power failure or other interruption in the power supply.
How to Select an Encoder
There are several important criteria involved in selecting the proper encoder:
- Desired Count Per Revolution(CPR)
- Desired Pulses Per Revolution(PPR)
- Noise and Cable Length
- Diameter size
Applications for Encoders
An encoder can be used in applications requiring feedback of position, velocity, distance, etc. The examples of encoder’s application are as follows :
- Labeling Machines
- Medical Equipment
- Drilling Machines
- Motor Feedback
- Assembly Machines
- Testing Machines
- CNC Machines
Advantages of an Encoder
- Highly reliable and accurate
- Low-cost feedback
- High resolution
- Integrated electronics
- Fuses optical and digital technology
- Can be incorporated into existing applications
- Compact size
Best Brands To Choose From At Industrybuying.com
Autonics is one of the best brands that offer encoders in various sizes and types. Autonics provides only high quality and precise measuring devices with respect to the operating position and speed of the rotating shaft. Autonics provides high operating speed and system speed which therefore decreases the number of cycles and boosts the overall productivity in the manufacturing environment.
Omron’s rotary encoders detect, measure, analyze, and process various changes such as changes in position, velocity etc. These encoders detect the by reading the code or by counting the number of pulses. This eliminates the need to return to the origin at the beginning.
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