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Inside the E4T Miniature Optical Kit Encoder, shown above, is a very small disk. During production, operators had great difficulty transferring the disks by hand.

When US Digital released the E4T Miniature Optical Kit Encoder it needed to update manufacturing procedures to better handle the miniaturized encoder disks. The company decided to use automation and built the delta robot system above. It speeds up manufacturing and frees staff to spend time on higher-level tasks. New Miniature Encoder Disks Caused Production Difficulties for...   Read More »

Disk Resolutions

With some optical encoders you can literally see the resolution right on the encoder disk. Look at the disks above and notice how closely the lines are spaced. Encoder resolution is defined as the smallest distance that can be measured or observed. However, it can be used in three different ways within the same motion control system—this can lead to confusion. In this post,...   Read More »

Figure 1

So far in this blog we've written about encoders that are moved by something else. They're attached to a motor shaft, or a linear actuator, or conveyor belt. Their job is to report their position as they're moved by an external force; other than that, they're just along for the ride. Well, sometimes - the encoder is the ride! Sometimes the encoder moves first, and everything else reacts to...   Read More »

DWG 001: Analog Voltage Output

In an earlier post to this blog, we introduced Absolute Encoders. We illustrated the differences between absolute and incremental encoders, and showed that an absolute encoder can give a unique report for each different position on the encoder disk. But we didn't talk about what that report looks like. Looking back to incremental encoders for a moment, each part of their output waveform looks...   Read More »

DWG 001: Degree – Arcmin – Arcsec

In the motion control industry, accuracy is the difference between target position and actual position. For rotary encoders, we measure accuracy in degrees, arcminutes or arcseconds. 1 degree = 1/360th of a circle - used with low accuracy encoders arcminute = 1/60th of a degree - used with medium accuracy encoders arcsecond = 1/60th of an arcminute - used with high accuracy...   Read More »

Drawing 001: Two Outputs - Quadrature

In earlier posts to this blog, we introduced incremental encoders in Encoders 009 and continued that discussion in Encoders 011, where we talked about Quadrature and Index. In today's post, we'll introduce another major category of encoders: Absolute Encoders. Where Are We? In our posts on incremental encoders, we developed a simplified picture showing essential components: In...   Read More »

AOA and AOS sensors

The surge in popularity of drones in recent years has been remarkable. Although sometimes we hear about them when they cause trouble—like flying too close to commercial aircraft—more frequently we hear about drones because of the interesting new ways they're being put to use. Drones are used in agriculture, to monitor crop growth and field conditions. Home inspectors for insurance...   Read More »

Incremental Output

This post continues our discussion of the various classifications of encoders identified previously Form of Output One of the most common classifications used for encoders is whether their architecture is incremental or absolute in design. This refers to the type of output the encoder emits, or what information is being provided by the encoder. This post will begin our discussion of...   Read More »

What do these have in common?

What do an organ, a black widow spider, and a scale have in common? It has always been intriguing how companies came into existence. US Digital's founding is an exclamation to the saying - "necessity is the mother of invention". David Madore, the founder of US Digital, worked at the time as a design engineer for a medical ultrasound imaging company. The equipment had many knobs on the...   Read More »

US Digital Product Family

We will continue in this post going through the various classification of encoders which were identified in our earlier post. Mechanical Configurations Mechanical configurations include differences based on whether the encoder comes with a shaft or will be installed onto an existing shaft. There are also different configurations based on the size of the motor, the required IP rating,...   Read More »

NASA robot

NASA doesn't just make spaceships! Who Made the First Optical Encoder? We have been researching the answer to that question for some time and although we have been able to gather some great information both from encoder manufacturers and my own research, at this point we do not have a definitive answer. When we initially tried searching for an answer, someone had answered the...   Read More »

Mars Lander

Encoders Have Been Used in Space Exploration for Almost 70 Years In our March 12th post, we identified different ways by which encoders can be categorized. In that post we focused on the first category - type of movement which encoders are able to monitor. Today we will discuss the second category: sensing technology used in most encoders. Note: The descriptions and drawings in this post are...   Read More »

Latte Printing,

Edible Printing Has Arrived! In our last post we focused on encoders based on the type of movement which is being measured. In this post we will see those encoders being used in real world situations. Check out the video links throughout this post! Industries highlighted are Medical, Printing, Laser Engraving and Concentrated Solar Power. Rotary encoders are indispensable in the...   Read More »

Interior of solar power system.

Interior of a Concentrated Solar Power System Encoders are critical elements in a motion system because they provide position and/or velocity feedback to the motion controller, enabling the controller to close the positional control loop. The number of applications which require encoders is extensive and the types and sizes of encoders that serve these applications are just as...   Read More »

Wire Measuring from 1910-1920

Wire Measuring Machine from 1910-1920 In the previous blog, we offered many definitions of encoders and based on the definition chosen, the above wire measuring machine qualifies as an encoder. For now, ignore that picture and we will chat about it later in this blog. Today's post will discuss current uses of encoders which are happening all around us. Unless otherwise specified,...   Read More »

E4T and S4T Miniature Encoders

We've got some great news about our smallest encoders. The E4T and S4T miniature optical encoders are now available at even higher resolutions than before! With two new CPRs of 512 and 1000, we've successfully doubled the resolution while keeping the housing unchanged. Utilizing state-of-the-art transmissive optical sensing technology, these newly announced resolutions now support applications...   Read More »

SPS 2017 logo

US Digital will be exhibiting at SPS IPC Drives 2018 from November 27th - 29th at the Nürnberg Exhibition Centre, in Nürnberg, Germany. Please contact us with any questions regarding SPS IPC Drives or to set up an appointment with a motion control specialist. Thank you for your continued business and we look forward to seeing you there! Exhibition Centre NurembergMesseplatz 190471...   Read More »

MD3 Microstepping Motor Driver

Vancouver, Washington, USA, August 6, 2018 - US Digital, a U.S. manufacturer of motion control products since 1980, announces the release of the MD3 Programmable Microstepping Motor Driver. It is capable of driving motors from NEMA size 14 to 42. The MD3 accepts 9-50VDC power inputs and rated for currents up to 7A continuous duty. In addition to digital input controls, the MD3 can be configured...   Read More »

Nodus PayLink

Introducing PayLink from Nodus Technologies, Inc.. PayLink is a fast, secure, and convenient way for US Digital customers to make credit card payments 24 hours a day, seven days a week from anywhere!With a one-click link to review invoice details and make payments, the PayLink process is fast and easy. There's no need to log into a website, a payment portal, or retype financial information with...   Read More »

ATX West 2018 logo

US Digital will be exhibiting at ATX West - Booth 4128, from February 6th - 8th at the Anaheim Convention Center, in Anaheim, California. Please contact us with any questions regarding ATX West or to set up an appointment with a motion control specialist. Thank you for your continued business and we look forward to seeing you there! Anaheim Convention Center 800 W Katella Ave....   Read More »

Anaheim, California - February 8, 2017 - US Digital, a US manufacturer of quality motion control since 1980, today announced the introduction of the E8T miniature optical encoder. Combining small form factor and resolutions up to 720 CPR, the E8T is ideally suited for medical and other space sensitive applications that require reliable position and velocity feedback. The E8T's small package...   Read More »

ISO 9001:2015 logo

US Digital announces its ISO 9001 standards certification renewal from ISO 9001:2008 to ISO 9001:2015. As part of the ISO certification process, US Digital engaged in a rigorous audit of its business and manufacturing processes, as well as product quality requirements. These standards are followed throughout the company including areas such as customer service, design, manufacturing, assembly...   Read More »

Vancouver, Washington, USA, March 18, 2015 - US Digital is pleased to announce our full new line of E4T's and S4T's available up to 360 CPR are available for purchase. These products are designed to replace the E4P and S4 products and deliver a marked performance increase over similar encoder models. The E4T and S4T utilize state of the art transmissive optical sensing technology, and...   Read More »

US Digital Earns Microsoft Dynamics® Dynamic Business: Small and Medium Business Award Vancouver, Washington, USA, February 12, 2014 - US Digital Corporation was recognized by Microsoft® with the 2014 Dynamic Business: Small and Medium Business Award as part of the Microsoft Dynamics Customer Excellence Awards program. They will be honored by Microsoft executives at an awards luncheon on...   Read More »

Vancouver, Washington, USA, November 26, 2013 - US Digital has raised the performance bar of their popular encoder module series by releasing a next generation high resolution encoder module - the EM2 - capable of resolutions of up to 5000 CPR in a 1-inch diameter disk. Previously, a maximum resolution of 1250 CPR was available in a 1-inch diameter disk format utilizing the very popular EM1...   Read More »


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