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    Motion Control Sensors

    Motion control sensors, also known as position sensors or rotary encoders, detect movement from a nearby object and return an electrical signal to the detector which converts it into a readable signal for digital devices. These sensors are critical for precisely measuring the angular position of an object, allowing for exact monitoring and control of mechanical displacements. They are important in applications that require regulation of outputs such as speed, position, frequency, and volume.

    Rotary encoders transform mechanical motion into electrical signals, functioning either as incremental or absolute encoders:

    Incremental Encoders

    These encoders produce a set number of discrete digital pulses per rotation of the encoder shaft. The position is identified by counting these pulses, which correspond to specific mechanical movements. Speed determination is calculated based on the number of pulses per time unit, typically counted by a separate counter, regulator, or PLC. After a complete rotation, the position feedback from a single-turn encoder resets to zero.

    Absolute Encoders

    Unlike incremental types, absolute encoders output a definitive value for the encoder shaft's position at any time, providing this data immediately upon power-on. There are two types of absolute encoders:

    • Single-turn Encoders: Track the position within one full revolution of the shaft.
    • Multi-turn Encoders: Count the total number of shaft revolutions, resetting when a predefined limit (commonly 4,096 revolutions) is exceeded. These encoders often require additional gearing to track multiple turns and can be either optical or magnetic in design.

    Types of Motion Control Sensors

    Rotary Encoders

    Also known as shaft encoders, these are electromechanical sensors that monitor the position of the shaft or axle, and then send it back digitally. Rotary encoders are commonly used in many automation applications that require precise shaft unlimited rotation

    Linear Transducers

    Linear transducers are used to measure movement in a straight line. They convert displacement into an electrical signal, that's proportional to the amount of displacement. These sensors are commonly used in very harsh, cold climates, and applications where accuracy is critical.

    Magnetic Pickups

    Magnetic pickups are sensors which detect the speed of a moving part. This motion is picked up by the magnetic field, which induces a measurable AC voltage. These sensors are often used as components of speedometers or tachometers, which are integral parts of engines and industrial equipment.

    A Linear Variable Differential Transformer (LVDT)

    Often used to accurately measure linear displacement. There are many types of these motion controllers, and they have different armatures, temperature range, built in electronics and stroke lengths and have been specifically designed to measure multiple targets. It can be used in a range of applications within industry or research as it can easily be modified to fulfil different sensing tasks.

    Incremental Encoder

    Incremental encoders produce a specific number of pulses per revolution and measure the amount of linear or angular distance moved. Each time the encoder is powered on it starts from zero, irrespective of where the shaft is, so it measures the shaft to a specific reference point.

    Absolute Encoder

    Absolute encoders provide an absolute numerical value for every angular position for every revolution which makes them handy for exact measurement of mechanical angular displacement. Even when the system is without power, they can give precise position values when the encoder is powered back up.

    Applications of Motion Control Sensors

    Motion control sensors and the subsequent types of sensor are incredibly useful in industrial settings in which the rotation of shafts or motion of moving parts need to be accurately set and measured to ensure the smooth operation of factory processes.

    • Aerospace industry
    • Measurement & Testing
    • Robotics
    • Automation & Control
    • Assembly Lines

    Rotary encoders and motion control sensors are popular due to their high durability, incredible accuracy, and long life.

    How to Order Motion Control Sensors From RS?

    RS is a trusted supplier and distributor of high-quality motion control sensors, offering an extensive range from leading brands such as RS PRO, BALLUFF, Baumer, Omron, and Sick. Our motion control sensors are designed for accurate and reliable performance, crafted to meet stringent standards for efficiency and seamless integration into diverse systems.

    Business account customers who purchase motion control sensors online from RS will get to enjoy free delivery on all orders over $40 (excluding GST). A delivery fee of $10 is charged for orders under this amount. For private accounts and guest customers, delivery is complimentary for orders over $80 (excluding GST), with a $12.95 fee applicable to smaller orders.

    Delivery Information for Australia

    To ensure timely delivery of your motion control sensors, please place your orders by 5 pm AEST from Monday to Friday. We offer next working day delivery for items stocked locally, though some regional areas may experience extended delivery times. For a comprehensive overview of all our delivery services, including options like same-day delivery and consolidated shipments, please visit our delivery information page.

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