Optical rotary encoder

What is an optical rotary encoder?

An optical rotary encoder is a device used to measure the angular position, speed and direction of rotation of a shaft. It is commonly used in industrial and automation applications, where precise control and feedback is necessary. The device is made up of two main components: the encoder disk and the sensor. The encoder disk has a series of spaced slots or holes around its circumference, while the sensor is positioned close to the disk and detects the light passing through the slots or holes.

Types of optical rotary encoders

There are two main types of optical rotary encoders: incremental and absolute. Incremental encoders measure changes in position or rotation, while absolute encoders provide an absolute measure of position or rotation. Incremental encoders are further divided into two sub-types: quadrature and single-ended. Quadrature encoders have two outputs that are out of phase with each other, while single-ended encoders have only one output. Absolute encoders use a unique binary code to represent each position or rotation, allowing for high accuracy and resolution.

How does an optical rotary encoder work?

An optical rotary encoder works by translating the angular position of a shaft into an electrical signal. As the shaft rotates, the encoder disk passes between the light source and sensor. The sensor detects the light that passes through the slots or holes in the encoder disk, generating a signal that corresponds to the position or rotation of the shaft. The signal is then processed and used to control the device or machinery to which the encoder is connected.

Example applications of optical rotary encoders

Optical rotary encoders are used in a wide range of applications, including robotics, machine tools, conveyor systems, and printing presses. In robotics, encoders are used to control the movement and position of robotic arms and grippers. In machine tools, encoders are used to control the position and speed of cutting tools. In conveyor systems, encoders are used to monitor the speed and position of moving parts. In printing presses, encoders are used to synchronize the movement of print heads and paper feeders. Overall, optical rotary encoders play a crucial role in ensuring accurate and precise control in many industrial and automation applications.