Dec 05, 2023
Rotary Encoders for Harsh Environments

Rotary encoders, pivotal in automation and robotics for precision control of rotational movement, play a crucial role in various applications. Whether employed in conveyor systems regulating belt speed, elevators for smooth stops and starts, or rotational robotic joints ensuring accurate movement, rotary encoders are indispensable.

In demanding environments such as paper manufacturing, chemical/petroleum processing, cranes, and food and beverage processing, where reliability is paramount, rotary encoders face challenges. Failures can result from mechanical overload, signal output issues, or, most commonly, contamination. In these settings, optical rotary encoders, renowned for accuracy, are prevalent but susceptible to solid or liquid intrusion between the reader and scale.

Contamination, particularly trouble some for optical encoders, can lead to unpredictable behavior or complete malfunction. Protective measures like seals and enclosures, while helpful, may degrade over time in heavy industrial applications. Elements like sand, sawdust, dust, and dirt, as well as liquids such as water and cleaning agents, pose constant threats, especially in industries like food production.

To address these challenges, inductive rotary encoders emerge as a preferred solution for heavy-duty applications in harsh environments. Leveraging electromagnetic sensing, these encoders eliminate the need for a clear line of sight between the reader and scale. The independence of enclosing both the reader and scale ensures a robust, non-contact solution that is impervious to contamination. In challenging industrial conditions, inductive rotary encoders stand out as a reliable choice, offering durability and accuracy where traditional optical encoders may fall short.

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