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.

Disk encoders with plastic and aluminum hub accessories
Disk encoders with plastic and aluminum hub accessories

Types of optical encoders

Disk encoders

Optical disk 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.  

Depending on the application, strip encoders can be used

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 encoders which require clean room protocols and stringent quality standards

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 9001:2003 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.

SpecificationsDisk encoderStrip encoderLong encoder
Materials usedAgfa, FujiAgfa, FujiAgfa
Adhesive family/MFR3M3M3M
Minimum length (mm)n/a20500
Maximum lengthn/a5252900
Minimum width (mm)n/a410
Maximum widthn/a400600
Minimum outside diameter (mm)0.8n/an/a
Maximum outside diameter400n/an/a
Minimum inside diameter (mm)0.5n/an/a
Maximum inside diameter25.4n/an/a
Glass master pitch tolerance(mm)+/- 0.002+/- 0.002n/a
Lines/mm31.49631.496n/a
Film master pitch tolerance (mm)+/- 0.005+/- 0.005n/a
Lines/mm15.74819.685n/a
Direct plot pitch tolerance(mm)+/- 0.003+/- 0.003+/- 0.003
Lines/mm31.49631.49611.811 Max
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