Magnetic Encoders for High Reliability

Exactly why do magnetic encoders have higher inherent reliability, and what do the reliability numbers really look like?  Let me explain why they are reliable, and it’s not just because they can handle dirt and debris in the air gap.

There are some other inherent factors:

  • Magnetic encoders are a system on a chip. The one sensor chip takes in the magnetic field and does all processing right to the output signals. Other technologies often require multiple chips (optical) and/or extra wires (resolvers) or even separate sensor and processing chips. One chip means less component and interconnects to cause problems.
  • One tough magnet. The magnet is robust compared with a delicate optical disk. Timken sensor magnets are being used in the harshest environments, where an optical disk would never perform.
  • Works in high temperatures. Both the chip and the magnet are inherently shock and vibration resistant and easily handle temperatures up to 125 C or more. Designed for high temperatures, which means lower temperature operation is no challenge at all.
  • Allows larger tolerances without failure. Reliability is determined not just when things go right, but when things go wrong as they often do in the field. This means when tolerances aren’t met:  axial, radial or other. Timken sensor-to-magnet tolerances are much larger than those of both other magnetic technologies and optical sensors. The sensor-to-magnet tolerances are forgiving and handle the job much better when things go wrong. This means higher reliability for the entire system.
  • Outstanding track record. There are over 12 million Timken sensor chips in the field, most of which are automotive. Timken’s MPS160 sensor has undergone the rigorous automotive AECQ100 qualification. The qualification is severe and thorough, pushing components beyond their specified limits. The actual accepted die failure rates are in the low single-digit PPM range, an impressive track record.



So what are some of the applications that really test the reliability?  Here is a sample of some of the harsh applications it is being used in:

  • Mining trucks
  • Tractors
  • Farm equipment
  • Off-road transmissions
  • Robots – civilian and military
  • Box-making machines


When you look at all the factors that make Timken’s magnetic sensor technology reliable, why take a chance?  Go with Timken magnetic encoder technology.

Questions?  Call me at 603.358.4737 or send me at email at encoders@timken.com.  Please join our LinkedIn Group to continue the discussion.

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