SCHNEEBERGER has released the new MINISCALE PLUS optical incremental distance measuring system for designers who have to fit high-precision linear technology with integral distance measurement in small spaces.

Based on the MINIRAIL linear guide way system, the measuring system combines guidance and functionality in a highly integrated design. The extremely compact miniature package significantly simplifies installation.

Measuring 9.2mm x 17mm x 16.1mm, nearly twelve of the smallest members of the MINISCALE PLUS family can fit in a single matchbox.

The small size is a result from integration of the measuring sensor in the carriage, eliminating the need for additional installation space and cost of a separate distance measuring system.

MINISCALE PLUS has the measuring scale laser-marked on the guide rail and an optical sensor integrated into the carriage. A flexible circuit board connects the sensor to the interface module that handles signal processing.

With the development of the MINISCALE PLUS, Schneeberger meets customer requirements for even higher resolution and the ability to be able to choose between analogue and digital interface modules.

The high precision measuring scale is part of the surface of the hardened rail, with a scale increment of 100µm.

The sensor illuminates the measuring scale and captures optical signals, which are conditioned by analogue or digital electronics in the interface module for subsequent processing.

Measurement take place directly on the guide way, reducing the risk of alignment errors. SCHNEEBERGER guarantees consistent accuracy, due to vibration and shock immunity of MINISCALE PLUS.

Locating the measuring scale directly on the rail reduces the need for analysis of thermal expansion and complex compensation routines in the related controller.

Similar to MINIRAIL miniature guide way, MINISCALE PLUS works reliably over an extended service life. Maximum acceleration of the tiny speedster is 300m/s² at a maximum speed of 5 m/s.

The rail, carriage and balls are made from through-hardened, corrosion-resistant steel, and ball re-circulators are made from POM.

Miniature guide ways can be used at temperatures from -40 to 80°C, and have a cleanroom class rating of ISO 7 or ISO 6.

The maximum linearity deviation over a length of 1m is ±10µm, with ±5 µm also available on request. Repeatability is ±0.1µm unidirectional and ±0.2µm bidirectional.

Installation is easy, since the MINISCALE PLUS is delivered ready to install. There is no need for additional components or machining for installation, which is required for glass scales.

Separate calibration of distance measurement is also unnecessary. The signals are available to the user on a 9-pin Sub-D connector, enabling them to choose their own cable type for connection to the machine controller.

The miniature measuring system is suitable for use in constrained spaces. For demanding applications requiring a defined preload or displacement force on the guide way, SCHNEEBERGER offers matched sets of carriage and rail.

Other custom adaptations such as specific carriage heights or special lubricants, and various accessories are also available. The MINISCALE PLUS option is available for the entire MINIRAIL range.