Micronor wins patent for fiber optic rotary encoder | Automation.com

Micronor wins patent for fiber optic rotary encoder

Micronor wins patent for fiber optic rotary encoder
Newbury Park, California, August 8, 2007 - Micronor has secured U.S. patent 7,196,320 for its ZapFREE Fiber Optic Rotary Encoder System. The patent recognizes Micronor's innovative wavelength division multiplexing approach which produces a totally passive encoder utilizing no electronics within the sensor - and therefore deployable in harsh environments, hazardous locations, electrical, electromagnetic and radiation fields, otherwise not possible with conventional electronic-based encoders. Being entirely passive, the MR3XX fiber optic sensors uniquely meet ATEX requirements as "simple apparatus" and are certified for use in any type of combustible atmosphere group or hazardous location.

The technology was commercially introduced in 2004 as the MR3XX ZapFREE Fiber Optic Encoder series - the world's first commercialized, totally passive, single fiber, rotary sensor system. Mainstream industrial applications now range from aerial cable cars to electric trains; from mines to steel mills to oil rigs. For the aerospace market, Micronor has prototyped a fiber optic wheel speed sensor and fiber optic commutation sensor which are undergoing evaluation. An "MRI-transparent" prototype has been recently developed for the medical industry.

The system utilizes a multi-wavelength light source and one optical fiber leading to an encoder housing which has a shutter wheel, a light filter assembly and reflective mirror. The rotational movement of the shutter produces a sequential series of light pulses sequenced proportional to the movement of the shutter - i.e. representative of conventional A/B quadrature signals. The light filter assembly utilizes a minimum of two different filters each of which passes or rejects light within a certain space and wavelength range.

Today, the commercial product line has expanded to include three sensor models (MR312/MR314/MR316) "powered" by a common optoelectronics/remote encoder interface (REI) module (MR310). The sensors are available in resolutions from 100 to 1024 ppr (pulses per revolution) as well as industry-standard shaft or hollow shaft configurations - intermountable with conventional rotary encoders. The versatile MR310 module is the optoelectronic "smarts" of the encoder system. In addition to offering conventional A/B quadrature outputs (in both line driver and pull-up signal formats), the module also provides a rich set of auxiliary functions (Multiplier, Divider, Position Counter), fully configurable analog outputs (both 4-20mA and ±10V) and RS422/RS485 (optional RS232) serial interface. This broad array of standard interfaces ensures intermateability with all major motor drive, motion control and PLC systems.

About Micronor
Micronor is a leading supplier of reliable and rugged components for industrial automation and process control industries as well as military, aerospace and other harsh/hazardous environment applications. Motion control products include encoders, resolvers, cam timers, programmable limit switches, motorized potentiometers, pulse generators and ergonomic pendant stations. Micronor was founded in 1968 and has regional headquarters in both the United States and Europe.

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