A linear encoder is a critical part of a motion control system, providing continuous, linear position feedback to drive the motor position. Linear encoders improve the positioning accuracy of an electro-mechanical actuator by providing direct position feedback at the load to compensate for backlash or other sources of error. Linear encoders are also used as the primary feedback device for linear motors that directly convert electrical energy into linear motion.

Productivity improvements, frequent product changes, and sophisticated machining tasks are constant challenges in linear actuator applications. Traditionally, optical or magnetic linear encoders have been used to provide the required position feedback. In this paper, the reader will learn about magnetostrictive position sensors and some of the advantages over other encoder technologies. For example, magnetostrictive sensors are highly robust for harsh environments, and provide absolute position feedback without ever requiring calibration.