Engineers are always looking for more speed and precision in smaller packages.
The Mercury II family of encoders from MicroE Systems, Natick, Mass. (microesys.com), offers linear resolutions from 5 m to 1.2 nm, and rotary resolutions of 16k to 268M CPR. Speeds can be as high as 3.7 m/sec with 50-nm resolutions. Linear accuracy is ±1.5 m, and ±2.1 arc-sec, rotary. System height is only 10 mm, sensor Z height is 8.7 mm, and standoff tolerance is ±0.15mm.
The system uses a 10-mm-tall sensor that works with both linear and rotary encoders, and on tape and glass scales. The double-shielded sensor cable keeps out interference. The electronics module has LEDs for setup and limit indicators, and carries an Ethernet interface. Differential outputs include A-quad-B, index, independent left and right limits, and an alarm. It stores settings and setup parameters in nonvolatile memory. Available software supplies digital readouts and Lissajous plots, lets users remotely operate the system, and performs support and system diagnostics.