ATOM: a new miniature incremental optical encoder from Renishaw

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ATOM: a new miniature incremental optical encoder from RenishawRenishaw's ATOM non-contact optical linear and rotary incremental encoder system combines miniaturisation with dirt immunity, signal stability and reliability. The innovative new encoder achieves excellent performance thanks to a design that avoids the many compromises traditionally associated with miniaturised encoders.

ATOM, which is available in sizes as small as 6.7 x 12.7 x 20.5mm, is described as the world's first miniature encoder to use filtering optics with Auto Gain Control (AGC) and Auto Offset Control (AOC). This advanced technology is found in Renishaw's proven TONiC incremental encoder range and provides excellent signal stability and exceptional dirt immunity.

The ATOM readhead is available in a range of formats and is claimed to deliver unrivalled metrology performance: class-leading accuracy with low Sub-Divisional Error (SDE), low jitter, high signal stability and long-term reliability. ATOM offers speeds to 20m/s (29,000rpm on a 17mm disc) and resolutions to 1nm (0.004 arc second on a 108mm disc) with a range of linear and rotary (angle) scales available in stainless steel and glass. The readhead also includes a set-up LED for quick and easy installation and an auto-calibration routine to enable faster optimisation.

Renishaw's ultra-compact ATOM incremental encoder is supplied in hi-flex cable and Flexible-Printed Circuit (FPC) variants with both 20um and 40um scale options. The side-exit FPC version reduces the overall package size and enables integration with PCBs. Customers can also choose from a range of high-accuracy linear glass spars to 130mm in length, stainless steel tape to 20m and rotary glass disc scales from 17mm to 108mm in diameter.

Optional Ti and DSi interfaces support interpolation factors to 20,000 for outstanding metrology and excellent dynamic performance. Designers can also use the sinusoidal signal output from the readhead for direct connection to analogue drives and controllers. Advanced highly automated manufacturing processes minimise process variability to assure high quality, short lead times and competitive costing.

Applications for ATOM's ultra-compact readhead include laser scanning, co-ordinate measurement systems, semiconductor and flat-panel display production, motor drive systems, microscopy and scientific research. The FPC 40um format measures just 6.7 x 12.7 x 20.5mm and is suited to a variety of space-critical motion control, inspection and metrology applications. ATOM has CE approval and is manufactured in-house by Renishaw under strict quality controls that are certified to ISO 9001:2008 and, like all Renishaw encoders, is backed by a global sales and support network.

For more information about ATOM miniature non-contact optical linear and rotary incremental encoders, go to

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