Conveyors are widely used throughout almost all industries. Since they require varying degrees of control, conveyors are a common application for rotary encoders. Often, the encoder is applied to a motor and provides speed and direction feedback to the drive. In other instances, the encoder is applied to another shaft, such as the head-roll, either directly or via a belt. Frequently, the encoder is combined with a measuring wheel that rides on the conveyor belt; however, some segmented conveyor systems may not be suitable for measuring wheels.
Mechanically, both shaft and thru-bore encoders are good candidates for conveying applications. The encoder can be applied to the drive motor used to advance material, to a head-roll shaft, to a pinch-roller or to a lead screw. Additionally, an encoder and measuring wheel assembly can obtain feedback directly from the material itself or from a conveyor surface. An integrated solution, such as EPC's Model TR1 TruTrac™, simplifies encoder installation and adjustment for conveyor applications.
Electrically, variables such as resolution, output type, channels, voltage, etc., can all be specified to meet the individual application requirements. If the conveyor regularly stops, indexes, or changes direction in the course of operation, specify quadrature output.
Environmental considerations are important when specifying your encoder. Take into account the encoder's exposure to liquids, fine particulates, extreme temperatures, and washdown requirements. An IP66 or IP67 seal protects against moisture ingress, while a stainless steel or polymer composite housing to mitigate the effects of harsh cleaning chemicals and solvents.
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