Length and position sensors

Be it XYZ gantries in 3D printers, high-precision wafer stages in the semiconductor industry, autonomous vehicles, products on a conveyor belt, and robot arm controls: determining lengths, positions or simply presence is important in all kinds of industrial situations. For this reason, a broad range of sensors are available.

What range needs to be measured?

The first question to ask yourself is the range within which you want to measure. Does it have to be accurate down to the millimeter or even micrometer, or will an accuracy in centimeters or even meters suffice? For each range, there is an appropriate type of sensor. If you need highly accurate measurements, for example, it is best to look at linear encoders, proximity sensors and high-accuracy distance sensors. Almost all types of sensors are suitable for measuring distances and lengths of up to around a meter. The most common methods are optical, inductive, magnetic and capacitive. For longer distances, time-of-flight methods such as ultrasonics, lidar and radar are more suitable.

Environmental influences

An important second factor is the environment in which the sensor will be used. For example, if the environment is dirty, an optical sensor is unlikely to be your first choice. A magnetic sensor will not work properly near a permanent magnet, and in this case an inductive sensor would be the better choice.

Linear encoders

Measuring displacements or movements

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Long distance sensors

Measuring large distances (more than 1 meter)

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Proximity sensors

Measuring presence or distance

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High-precision distance sensors

Measuring distances in nanometers and micrometers

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Fiber optics

Presence detection

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Distance sensors

Measuring distances up to 1 meter

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Draw-wire encoder

Measuring long lengths

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Need some help?

Our brand-independent sensor database only lists a selection of the sensors available. There are so many different technologies and manufacturers that our online sensor database can never be 100% complete. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, or you have a question, send an e-mail to our sensor experts. We’ll gladly help you with your search.

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Our expert:

Jurre van Son

e-mail Jurre

or call +31 73 2200 507


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