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How to Prolong the Life of an Encoder on a DC Motor

How to Prolong the Life of an Encoder on a DC Motor

Prolonging the life of an encoder on a direct current (DC) motor is important, as it will ultimately extend the lifespan of the motor itself. Encoders are small parts within a motor that need to be mounted properly in order to perform their duties and to ensure the motor lasts as long as possible. If you want to learn more about how to extend the life of encoders for your motor's optimal performance, the experts at Kurz Industrial will gladly explain.

What is a DC Motor Encoder?

DC motor encoders are small sensors that are used to optimize performance and speed in a motion-controlled system. They use internal computers to provide feedback on the drive shaft. The feedback, however, is only accurate and reliable if the data is of a high quality. Data quality can be impacted by a variety of factors, including environmental, spatial, and mechanical. 

There are numerous kinds of motor encoders available for DC motors. The options include absolute, incremental, magnetic, shafted, hub, and optical. The ideal type of encoder for a motor depends on the motor type, feedback loop, and mounting configurations. 

How Long Will Encoders Last?

Encoders that are properly installed on DC motors have an average lifespan of 10 years. However, in order to last that long they must have the right conditions, which includes proper installation, correct alignment, and optimal operating environment that doesn't cause wear and tear on the components. Therefore, in order to extend an encoder's lifespan you will need to consider all the factors that can impact its longevity. 

Proper Installation

The proper installation for an encoder is key to expanding its lifespan. Installation ultimately depends on the application, the encoder type, and the machine's design. The detector code wheel or code disc must be attached to the shaft that the sensor is tracking, and the source detection sensor must be mounted to the motor's frame. Generally, there are three different types of mounting that you can have for encoders. That includes coupling, ring mounting, and direct mounting. The type of encoder used in the motor determines the proper mounting option. 

Mounting Options

There are several mounting options available. Shafted motor encoders connect the shaft of the encoders and the motor shafts. They provide electrical and mechanical isolation. Hub or hollow shaft encoders can be mounted directly to the motor's shaft using a spring-loaded tether. This installation method is simple and doesn't require shaft alignment. Ring mounted motor encoders include a sensor assembly in a ring shape. They are mounted to the motor's face. Ring mounted solutions are most common in heavy duty applications including steel, paper products, and cranes. 

Consider Motor Age

The age of the motor also influences how encoders should be mounted in order to maximize their lifespan. Typically, a bearingless encoder is an optimal choice for motors with high reliability ratings and that are expected to have a longer lifespan. Bearingless encoders are used when there is no connection between the sensor and the wheel, which eliminates potential areas of failure. 

Operating Environment

Having a proper operating environment is also critical for encoders. Encoders are generally subject to contamination from moisture and debris, which can reduce their longevity and cause contamination. Liquid contamination can occur when encoders are exposed to coolants, cleaning agents, and lubricants, along with hot water. Ambient temperatures can also impact encoder longevity and failure rates. Keeping encoders away from excess moisture and extreme temperatures can improve their longevity. Sealing encoders is also important to protect them against damage caused by environmental debris such as sand, dirt, and dust particles. 

To learn more about extending the lifespan of your DC motor's encoders, contact Kurz Industrial today.