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Incremental Sensor

An incremental encoder is a linear or rotary electromechanical device that has two output signals

Incremental Sensor


An incremental encoder is a linear or rotary electromechanical device that has two output signals



An incremental encoder is a linear or rotary electromechanical device that has two output signals, A and B, which issue pulses when the device is moved. Many incremental encoders have an additional output signal, typically designated which indicates the encoder is located at a particular reference position. Also, some encoders provide a status output (typically designated "alarm" that indicates internal fault conditions such as a bearing failure or sensor malfunction. An incremental encoder does not indicate absolute position; it only reports incremental changes in position. Consequently, to determine absolute position at any particular moment, it is necessary to send the encoder signals to an incremental encoder interface, which in turn will "track" and report the encoder's absolute position.

Incremental encoders are position feedback devices that provide incremental counts. Thus, an incremental encoder provides relative position, where the feedback signal is always referenced to a start or home position. For incremental encoders, each mechanical position is uniquely defined. The current position sensed is only incremental when compared to the last position sensed.

The most basic type of incremental encoder is a tachometer which has just one output and is most often used in unidirectional applications that track only position or speed information. As incremental encoders increase in complexity through bi-directional to quadrature, more types of motion control information can be provided. In a typical application, one or more encoders provide digital feedback to a controller in a motion control system. In addition to these applications, rotary optical encoders can also provide electronic commutation in brushless servo systems.


Precise position and speed feedback in many fields of application

Asynchronous motors in drive technology General mechanical and plant engineering Special machine engineering
Lift and elevators Packaging systems Labeling solutions
Textile and printing machinery Wind turbine


Application Examples

Motor Speed / RPM Web Speed / Tension Control is Linear Measurement / Cut-to-Length Multi- axis
Position Measurement / Backstop Gauging Position Measurement / Conveying Position Measurement / Spooling