Linear Encoders for Length Measurement

Whether you’re after straight-line measurement to a known standard—accuracy—reproducing an outcome in unchanged conditions—repeatability—precision to the smallest increments at speed—resolution—or all three, no one can match the performance of HEIDENHAIN linear encoders.

Several varieties are available, all boasting legendary HEIDENHAIN quality:

  • Absolute versions that provide unique position at all times, including when powered on and off, and incremental versions that generate an output signal each time a marker/gradient is crossed. The markings, or signal periods, on incremental encoder scales are spaced evenly apart, while absolute encoders use more complex patterns to sign specific location
  • Sealed or enclosed linear encoder designs allow for design flexibility based on the environment. Where contaminant levels are high, sealed encoders with the highest IP ratings protect the delicate components of the encoder to ensure lasting performance. Where contamination is less of a factor, exposed encoders are an option.
  • Proper mounting of encoders is also crucial to performance. The mounting tolerances of exposed linear encoders from HEIDENHAIN have only a slight influence on the output signals. In particular, the specified distance tolerance between the scale and scanning head (scanning gap) causes only a negligible change in the signal amplitude. This variety makes HEIDENHAIN the source for nearly any application—including machine tools, semiconductor machines and medical machines—combating the biggest issues that erode precision and production.

Why HEIDENHAIN linear encoders?

  • Thermal expansion, deformation of drive mechanics or screw pitch issues are common, especially in machine tools. HEIDENHAIN encoders can help compensate for these kinds of physical changes that affect tool position and result in bad parts.
  • High long-term speed stability.
  • Vibration can cause any number of problems, depending on the application, from unnecessary heat in always-on applications to imprecise outputs in metalworking. HEIDENHAIN linear encoders have rigidity built in, with high resistance to vibration.
  • The signal periods HEIDENHAIN offer are the finest in the world, offering highest interpolation accuracy available.
  • In many cases, complex systems do not have a lot of space to spare. HEIDENHAIN offers compact, lightweight linear encoders with easy-install options that still maintain extreme rigidity.
  • Backed by more than a century of innovation—tried and true the world over—HEIDENHAIN linear encoders are durable and dependable, even after many years of operation.

Need help finding the right encoder? Try our Encoder Selector now.

Linear Encoders for Length Measurement


What’s the difference between linear encoder and linear scale?

Both terms classifies a linear sensor, transducer or reader head that encodes position from a scale.

How accurate are HEIDENHAIN linear encoders?

We make scales with accuracies starting 10um per meter down to .5um per meter.

What’s the longest available measuring lengths for a sealed linear scale?

Measuring lengths up to 72M (LB 382) are available.

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