This is the last of our series with CUI focusing on rotary encoders and the technical challenges and solutions facing design engineers when implementing them. In our first post, we looked at the pro’s and cons of the various types of encoders and introduced the digital encoder as a way of overcoming many of the technical challenges in deployment. In the second post, we examined digital in more detail, looking not only at the technical challenges, but the accuracy and maintenance benefits of using new capacitive encoder technology. In this final post, we are looking at mobile applications that use encoders and how digital encoders fit into this mix.
It is only very recently that we have begun to truly see the commercial benefits of drone and robotic technology. Before now, this was very much in the realm of government applications, but as these technologies become more commercially available, we are beginning to discover the potential that they offer us. Drones, for instance, can be used in surveying and other aerial inspection tasks. While robots are starting to make their way into warehouse automation and agricultural applications.
Of course, as the nature of the applications goes increasingly mobile we face new challenges in design. Firstly, it must be able to run on battery power. Additionally, as emerging mobile and aerial platforms often contain large numbers of motors, more sensors are often required, making power efficiency a significant concern.
Capacitive encoders offer a significant gain for the power conscious. Enabling more advanced designs, with smaller batteries, with the focus on reserving power for work tasks. Additionally, capacitive encoders can often reduce maintenance, accelerate time to market and lower the development costs of new technologies.