Scanning for Ideas: Encoder Takes on Drift

Nov. 22, 2008
The frictionless, interferential-type linear encoder has gratings set up in two dimensions and can use up to three scanners to continually check for drift

Edited by Stephen J. Mraz

Linear actuators can have 10-decimal accuracy when they leave the factory or right after calibration, but thermal and linear-guiding drift while the actuator is operating can make that accuracy figure meaningless. Engineers at Heidenhain Corp., Schaumburg, Ill. (heidenhain.com), have eliminated this problem with the two-dimensional 1Dplus encoder. It detects and measures thermal and linear-guiding drift while a stage or machine is moving, letting linear actuators compensate for these factors on the fly.

The frictionless, interferential-type linear encoder has gratings set up in two dimensions and can use up to three scanners to continually check for drift. The measuring standard is DIADUR with a thermal expansion coefficient of 0 ppm⁄K°. Current measuring range is 300 × 2 mm, but the company plans to increase that significantly soon. The Xaxis measurement has 1- m accuracy and includes a reference mark. The grating period of the encoder is 8 m; the signal period is 4 m.

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