Absolute Position Sensors: What You Need to Know

Absolute vs. Incremental Sensors

Absolute position sensors are very different from incremental sensors. Many engineers claim that they have been using absolute position sensors when all the while what they have been using are incremental sensors. When you say an incremental position sensor, it implies a change in position. It needs a reference point in order to start measuring.

On the other hand, an absolute position sensor gives information on its position within a given scale or range without the need for a reference point. In other words, it has a static reference point. Absolute encoders, whether optical or magnetic are ideal in situations where speed and position accuracy and fail tolerance are absolute musts.

With the use of an absolute rotary position sensor, the absolute position is determined by power-up. It doesn’t require a reference mark. In fact, many believe that absolute rotary position sensors offer better performance, better precision, and lower overall costs.

Netzer Precision uses the high-performance Electric Encoder technology in its product portfolio, which includes both absolute and incremental sensors. It could have either analog or digital outputs. The technology behind this patented non-contact and absolute position Electric Encoder is dependent on the interaction between an internally shielded, space/time modulated, electric field, and the measured displacement. This is originally designed to withstand tough environments but now is applicable in various industries: aerospace, homeland security, military, defense, and harsh environment, industrial automation, automotive, and robotics.

Do you want to know which absolute rotary encoder best suits your application? Contact our engineers for further information.