Optical encoders

From printers to robotic arms, optical encoders tell devices when, how, and where to move when performing a function. Encoders are generally used when a motor or force actuator has a moving part that provides feedback to the part’s position. Magnetic and optical encoder wheels sense the position by light sources or by magnetic poles on the disks outside edge. GMN understands the importance of high-quality components and has focused on producing custom optical encoder media to achieve superior incremental movement accuracy and component durability for leading global brands including HP, Epson, and Avago Technologies.

Types of optical encoders

Disk encoders
Optical disc encoders

An angular position sensor used to measure rotary or linear mechanical motion or rotations, optical disk encoders are critical to the functionality of devices that use them. GMN ensures the precision needed to manufacture a quality disk encoder.  

Strip encoders
Strip encoders

These linear encoders measure linear motion or speed used in printers, scanners, plotters, and textile machinery. GMN’s engineering team can help develop the right construction for the life of your linear encoders.  

Long encoder strips
Long encoder strips

Long encoder strips are required in large devices such as large format printers. GMN has extensive experience working through the complex manufacturing required to produce long encoders.  

GMN optical encoder advantages

  • Use of polyester film for added durability and lower cost
  • Long strip encoders to enable large format printing
  • Available stainless steel bands to provide stability and reinforcement for the length of the encoders
  • Technical imaging to create highly exact images on optical wheels or strip encoders
  • Mechanical stiffeners to prevent warping during acceleration
  • Unassembled motor, sensor, and encoder components for custom application motion controls

Optical encoder specifications

Encoder specifications define the encoder, mechanism, and the control system relationship. GMN produces optical encoders in a variety of materials and formats to meet our clients’ exacting standards. We meet ISO 9001:2015 quality standards to manufacture encoding components for a wide variety of industries.

Optical encoder options

GMN is an industry leading provider of long, disk, and strip encoders. Beyond the standard solutions below, GMN can also work with you to develop unique custom optical encoders.

Specifications Disk encoder Strip encoder Long encoder
Materials used Agfa, Fuji Agfa, Fuji Agfa
Adhesive family/MFR 3M 3M 3M
Minimum length (mm) N/A 20 500
Maximum length N/A 525 2900
Minimum width (mm) N/A 4 10
Maximum width N/A 400 600
Minimum outside diameter (mm) 0.8 N/A N/A
Maximum outside diameter 400 N/A N/A
Minimum inside diameter (mm) 0.5 N/A N/A
Maximum inside diameter 25.4 N/A N/A
Glass master pitch tolerance(mm) +/- 0.002 +/- 0.002 N/A
Lines/mm 31.496 31.496 N/A
Film master pitch tolerance (mm) +/- 0.005 +/- 0.005 N/A
Lines/mm 15.748 19.685 N/A
Direct plot pitch tolerance(mm) +/- 0.003 +/- 0.003 +/- 0.003
Lines/mm 31.496 31.496 11.811 max
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