Surgical Robotics Technology

POSITAL upgrades PROFINET interface for absolute rotary encoders


POSITAL has upgraded the performance of the PROFINET communications interface for their IXARC series of absolute encoders. The speed of the interface has been increased, reducing cycle time by a factor of eight (new:125 μs). In addition, new capabilities have been added, including acceleration monitoring and over-temperature warnings. Output from the encoders can be scaled (amplified or reduced) to meet the requirement of the controller. Fractional scaling is now possible, meaning virtually any scaling factor can be applied.

PROFINET, a development of the widely used PROFIBUS fieldbus system, is based on industrial Ethernet technology and is ideal for large-scale installations. PROFINET includes special communications protocols that eliminate latency delays for real-time operations. The new encoder interface also supports MRP (Media Redundancy Protocol) and MRPD (Media Redundancy for Planned Duplication). These improve the availability of Ethernet networks by enabling redundant communications paths so that data traffic can continue, even with a broken transmission link.

POSITAL’s IXARC magnetic encoders provide up to 0.005° resolution, (16 bit), accuracy of up to 0.02° (14 bit) and dynamic response that rivals the best optical encoders. Using magnetic measurement technology, these rugged devices are engineered to operate reliably in wet and dirty conditions with shock loadings of up to 300g. Multi-turn models have a range of up to 65,536 revolutions, provided by a unique self-powered revolution counting system that keeps track of absolute positions under all conditions. IXARC encoders are available with multiple options for housing size and materials, flange configuration, shaft type and diameter, connection/wiring type and level of environmental protection. The upgraded PROFINET interface is also available for the widely used optical encoders group OCD. POSITAL’s online product finder tool – available at – helps users to quickly and efficiently identify products that will meet their specific requirements.

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