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Precision Manufacturing of Optical Encoders

2012 June 4
by andreakbass

Car suspension, with brake. Precision control is essential to any number of industries and applications: from the anti-lock brake systems of automobiles and motorcycles, to the wheel speed sensors on railcars and mobile robots – all such equipment systems rely on minute monitoring of their displacement, speed variance, rotation, and translation distance. There is, in essence, no room for error. The lives of automobile passengers, for instance, depend on a car’s anti-lock braking system sensing if a particular wheel is moving at a speed slower or faster in relation to the other wheels. If the monitoring in such a system breaks down, everything stands to be lost.

In order for precision control systems to perform optimally, it is absolutely critical that the right sort of optical encoder is being used.  Optical encoders, otherwise known as optical “choppers,” are rounded discs equipped with light sensors, with each sensor activated upon exposure to a light source through an aperture. As the optical encoder spins, each light sensor gets triggered by the light source, then “shuts off” when no longer exposed. In turn, the pattern of information relayed by the light sensors allows for the larger precision control system to determine the wheel’s moment-by-moment stats, directional patterns, and overall condition.

The level of precision required to make optical encoders is perfect for the photo etching (a.k.a. photochemical machining or milling) process as pioneered by PEI.  Our photo chemical-based machining allows for extremely tight, consistent tolerances – an absolute must in an application whose precision can mean, quite literally, the difference between life and death. Given our long-standing mastery of exactitude, PEI is in a perfect position to meet the production needs of virtually all optical “choppers” and encoders.

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