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Renishaw and Tesat-Spacecom have released a space-qualified encoder designed to ensure high radiation hardness, high accuracy and qualification for a 15-year lifetime in a GEO space environment.

The encoder has been developed using Renishaw’s advanced encoder technology, combined with Tesat-Spacecom’s experience of developing ruggedised electronic systems for space applications.

The readhead is designed to survive harsh environments, with 150g vibration resistance and a wide operating temperature range, combined with a robust optical detection principle. The readhead has a mass of only 300g and power consumption is typically less than 1W.

Key features and benefits

  • The scale comprises a stainless steel ring with graduations marked directly onto the periphery, thus eliminating shock- and vibration-induced breakages associated with traditional glass discs.
  • Graduations include In-Trac reference marks that are directly embedded into the incremental channel, arranged in a distance-coded pattern so that the distance between any two adjacent reference marks is unique. This means that only a small rotation is required before absolute position is determined by the on-board field-programmable gate array.
  • The ring format enables easy integration into rotary axes, with a large through-hole to ensure the straightforward routing of supplies.
  • The ring is mounted directly to the rotor, with the head mounted to the stator. There is no contact between the two parts, so there is no need for separate bearings or flexible couplings. This arrangement improves reliability and eliminates backlash, shaft wind-up (torsion) and other irregular metrology effects that plague traditional enclosed encoders.
  • High accuracy has been achieved, with short-range error of less than 0.5µrad RMS and long-range error of less than 5µrad (without mechanical errors).

Renishaw

A world leader in engineering technologies, Renishaw’s core skills in measurement and precision machining serve sectors as diverse as dimensional metrology, spectroscopy, machine calibration, motion control, dentistry and surgical robotics.

A world leader in engineering technologies, Renishaw’s core skills in measurement and precision machining serve sectors as diverse as dimensional metrology, spectroscopy, machine calibration, motion control, dentistry and surgical robotics.

Sensors for co-ordinate measuring machines (CMMs) are an industry standard, from basic touch-trigger probes through to automated stylus and probe changers, motorised indexing probe heads, and revolutionary five-axis measurement systems.

Machine probes for CNC machine tools allow automated tool setting, workpiece set-up, in-cycle gauging and part inspection. Products include laser tool setters, contact tool setters, tool breakage detectors, touch probes and high accuracy inspection probes.

For motion control, Renishaw supplies laser encoders, optical linear encoders, optical angle encoders, optical rotary encoders, magnetic rotary encoders, magnetic chip encoders and magnetic linear encoders.

To analyse the static and dynamic performance of position-critical motion systems, Renishaw’s laser interferometer and environmental compensation system offers a linear measurement accuracy of 0.5 ppm, readings of up to 50 kHz and a linear measurement speed of up to 4 m/s, with a linear resolution of 1nm.

Renishaw’s Raman spectroscopy products exploit the Raman effect to identify and characterise the chemistry and structure of materials. A diverse range of analytical applications include pharmaceutical, forensic science, nanotechnology, biomedical and semiconductors.

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