White Paper: Motion Control

RESOLUTE™ Encoders Make RF Antenna Positioning Accuracy and Resolution 100 Times Better

SPONSORED BY:

Pacific Antenna Systems (PAS) designs, fabricates, and manufactures antenna systems that use radio frequency (RF) ranging from 1 to 110 GHz. Applications include high-resolution radar, high-rate data communications for line-of-sight and satellite (SATCOM) communications, and high-power microwave systems for drone (UAS) countermeasures. Rotary position encoders are installed on each motion axis (gimbal) to provide the required precision and accuracy.

Previous PAS antenna systems suffered from encoder performance issues such as lower accuracy, poor RF interference immunity (RFI) and vibration rejection. Renishaw encoder products have enabled PAS to improve the positioning accuracy and resolution of its servo control loops by more than two orders of magnitude.

PAS airborne communication systems are vital for the high-data-rate communications of aircraft such as NASA’s WB57 research plane. The encoder on each gimbal must function at altitudes of over 40,000 feet and at temperatures below -40 °F. High rotational speeds and accelerations are also essential to allow fast beam pointing and scanning operations.

Encoders are critical components in communications and radar applications and need to be highly reliable, as a failure could potentially endanger lives. PAS uses different gimbal designs for its monostatic radar and comms systems but they all use the RESOLUTE absolute optical encoder with BiSS-C serial protocol and 26-bit or 32-bit resolution options.

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