Rotary encoders are often used to track the position of the motor shaft on permanent magnet brushless motors. These are commonly used on CNC machines, robots, and other industrial equipment. In these applications, the feedback device (encoder) plays a vital role in ensuring that the equipment operates properly.
There are usually two types of encoders. Absolute and Incremental. In an absolute encoder there is a coded wheel that can either be mechanical or optical. As the wheel rotates, either contacts are made (in a mechanical encoder) or opaque regions trip an infared beam (in an optical encoder) in a specific manner. It will then output data to a CNC or PLC to give position data on how far a shaft has turned.
Incremental encoders (sometimes called quadrature encoders) do not usually have an internal position count. Instead, they use A and B channel pulse output that is interpreted by an external device to determine position.
There are some companies offering oddball combinations of the two, such as Fanuc's battery backed encoder that operates as an incremental encoder, but keeps its count information in internal memory.
Improper encoder alignment on a motor can make equipment move in an odd manner, or can cause it to lose it's position and make the controller think that the machine is in a different place. Sometimes resulting in a hazardous run away condition, or damaged equipment.
Correct encoder alignment is absolutely essential to proper operation.
We offer support for both internal encoders that are built into high end motors as well as ad-on encoders from third party manufacturers.