In today’s world, automation and precision are essential for smooth functioning of machines and systems. Incremental encoders are one such device that plays a significant role in achieving high accuracy and precision. They are widely used in industries such as robotics, automotive, and manufacturing and likely to take over the industries soon!
If you are looking forward to invest in these encoders, you have landed the right page. In this article, we will discuss encoders, especially the incremental encoders in detail, how they work, their uses and applications, and tips to buy the right product. So, without any delay, let’s begin.
What are Incremental Encoders?
An encoder is a device that converts mechanical motion into electrical signals. These signals can be used to track and measure various parameters such as position, velocity, and acceleration of a rotating shaft. There are two main types of encoders, absolute and incremental. Absolute encoders provide an absolute value of position or angle, while incremental encoders provide relative values of positiofn or angle.
Furthermore, incremental encoders have two output signals, A and B, that change their state (high or low) when the shaft rotates. The number of steps or pulses produced by an incremental encoder is directly proportional to the rotation of the shaft. Incremental encoders do not provide information about the absolute position, but the relative position information can be used to calculate the absolute position if the initial position is known.
How do Incremental Encoders work?
Incremental encoders consist of a disc with evenly spaced slots, and a light source and a photoelectric sensor on either side of the disc. The disc is attached to the shaft whose position needs to be tracked. As the shaft rotates, the slots pass between the light source and the sensor, creating pulses of light that are detected by the sensor. The number of pulses produced by the encoder is directly proportional to the rotation of the shaft.
The output signals of an incremental encoder, A and B, are generated by two separate sensors, called quadrature sensors. These sensors are arranged in such a way that they produce signals that are 90 degrees out of phase with each other. The combination of these two signals produces a pattern called a quadrature signal. This pattern can be used to determine the direction of rotation of the shaft, as well as the number of steps or pulses produced by the encoder.
Uses and Applications of Incremental Encoders
Incremental encoders are widely used in various applications that require high accuracy and precision, such as:
- Robotics – Incremental encoders are used in robots for positioning and navigation, especially in collaborative robots where human-robot interaction is required.
- CNC Machines – CNC machines use incremental encoders to track the position of the tool and workpiece, which is essential for high precision machining.
- Automotive – Incremental encoders are used in automotive applications such as engine control and anti-lock braking systems.
- Manufacturing – Incremental encoders are used in manufacturing applications such as conveyor systems, material handling, and packaging.
4 Tips to Buy the Right Incremental Encoders
Now that you know most of the stuff about these devices, you must have figured out if you need them or not. And if you need one and are thinking of a purchase, let’s consider some tips to choose the right product.
- The resolution should be your top priority
The resolution of an incremental encoder determines the number of pulses produced per revolution. Higher resolution encoders provide more accurate position information. However, higher resolution encoders can be more expensive, and may not be necessary for all applications.
- Don’t miss out on the operating environment
The operating environment of an incremental encoder is an important consideration. Encoders used in harsh environments, such as in the presence of dust, moisture, or vibration, should be designed to withstand these conditions.
- Determine compatibility
It is important to ensure that the incremental encoder is compatible with the system in which it will be used. The output signals of the encoder should match the input signals of the system, and the mechanical interface should be compatible with the shaft and mounting requirements.
- Choose a trusted vendor
This may be the last consideration but is the most important one. If you have found a product settling with all the above-mentioned parameters, don’t buy it until you check for the vendor’s history. Choose only an experienced one whom you can trust with your money. As a sincere recommendation, we would suggest you consider “Encoder Products Company.” They are one of the most trusted experts in motion control. You can check out the details on their official website and we bet you cannot resist buying from their extensive collection of encoders.