Bullet Sensors & Transducers e-Digest, Vol. 82, Issue 8, August 2007: Product News

    (ISSN 1726- 5479)


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Fiber Optic Rotary Encoder System Awarded U.S. Patent



Newbury Park, California, August 6, 2007 – Micronor Inc. 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 stressful environments not suited for conventional electronic-based encoders. The Micronor encoders meet ATEX requirements as “simple apparatus” and are certified for use in hazardous environments. An MRI-transparent encoder has been recently developed for the medical industry.


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.

Fiber Optic Rotary Encoder System


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Dennis Horwitz

Micronor Inc.

3483 Old Conejo Rd, Ste 203

Newbury Park, CA 91320

Tel: 805-499-0114, fax: 805-499-6585

E-mail: dennis.horwitz@micronor.com



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