High resolution, programmable range of optical encoders

Paul Boughton
Sick (UK), the international sensor and sensing system manufacturer, has extended its high resolution, programmable range of optical encoders with the launch of the AFS/AFM60 series, designed to meet the demands of harsh application conditions. 

The AFS/AFM60 series includes a full range of solid shaft and hollow shaft absolute encoders. The inclusion of programmable variants means that the encoders offer maximum flexibility for the system design engineer, and lower spares stocks for the end-user.

The 18-bit resolution AFS60 single-turn encoder is ideal for applications such as crank positioning of power presses, turntable and carousel positioning, telescope azimuth and altitude positioning. The 30-bit resolution AFM60 multi-turn encoder, which positions over 4,096 turns, is suitable for use in winch hoisting, crane positioning, pitch adjustment on wind turbines, wave machines and tidal generators.

Darren Pratt, UK encoder product specialist, Sick (UK), commented: “The AFM/AFS60 series of absolute encoders boast a range of clever design features which enhance its durability, reliability and ease-of-use.

The range is also incredibly scalable and flexible and with a wide range of potential uses it is a great addition to the existing range of programmable incremental encoders.”

The AFM60 and AFS60 encoders feature a nickel code disk and optimized shaft bearing arrangement, ensuring greater robustness and temperature resistance than encoders using glass and plastic code disks.  As a result the range can be applied in ambient temperatures of -20°C to +100°C.

In addition, the two bearing races of the AFS/AFM are positioned more than 30mm apart, resulting in reduced run-out and smoother operation. The wide bearing separation also enables higher radial load capabilities and longer bearing life.

With three different variants; Eco, Standard and Advanced, Sick has developed a model to meet every application and price point. Eco types support resolutions up to 4,096 steps/turns, the Standard variant up to 32,768 steps/turn and the Advanced model up to an incredible 262,144 steps/turn.

The range is exceptionally versatile, each unit in the AFM/AFS60 series, encased in industry proven 60mm housings, is available as a servo-flange, face-mounted flange, blind hollow shaft or through hollow shaft. Each model is mechanically identical to the equivalent Sick DFS60 incremental encoder, including the AFM variants which feature integral gear driven multiturn stages for detecting multiple revolutions.

Both the AFM60 and the AFS60 communicate positional information to a PLC, or motion controller, using the now industry standard Synchronous Serial Interface (SSI) developed by Sick subsidiary, Sick|Stegmann.  It is easily programmed using the same low cost USB programming tool used with the DFS60.

For more information, visit www.sick.co.uk


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