HEIDENHAIN solutions |
rotary encoders for robotics

Rotary encoders for robotics: The key to success

Enhance the design, assembly and reliable operation of your robots
with the KCI 120 Dplus dual encoders and the KCI 1319, KBI 1335, KCI 120 and KBI 136 encoders from HEIDENHAIN.

Download the new e-book

Whatever your axis design, HEIDENHAIN has the optimal rotary encoder. If the gear shaft passes through the motor shaft, then your best choice is a dual encoder featuring a scanning unit and two rotor units. For more conventional axes, you can achieve high accuracy with a primary encoder on the motor and a secondary encoder on the output end of the axis. In both of these scenarios, HEIDENHAIN offers robust inductive rotary encoder solutions.

Highly integrated dual-encoder

Advantages over a motor encoder + secondary encoder

  • More compact
  • Single plug and fewer cables
  • Less installation work
  • Automatable installation of disk/hub assembly
  • Lower cost
Discover our dual encoders

Modular secondary encoder

Advantages over a single motor encoder

  • Compensation of gearing inaccuracy
  • High TCP accuracy
  • Detection of gearing wear and failure (predictive maintenance)
  • No multiturn encoder needed at motor
  • Active vibration damping: wider bandwidth and higher rigidity
Discover our hollow-shaft encoders

E-book: 12 ways to optimize your robot design using rotary encoders

The new e-book “12 ways to optimize your robot design using rotary encoders” provides valuable information to help you efficiently design and produce robots. Find out how to make your designs more compact and robust, regardless of your production scale.

Download now
E-book encoders in robotics

How rotary encoders meet design and assembly challenges

Robots need to be increasingly fast, precise, compact and cost-effective for a growing range of applications. Rotary encoders play a critical role in robot design and production. They must be matched to the given space, cabling, sensors, precision and tolerances. Installation should be efficient. Find out what to consider.

Fast and easy assembly

Compact, bearingless design

Robust inductive
360° scanning

Better dynamics due to less mass

EnDat protocol, mechanical fault exclusion

Dust resistance: low probability of failure

Other attractive encoders for robotics

Rotary encoders with two-wire motor feedback technology


  • Reduced cabling thanks to two-wire communication
  • Easy installation
  • Suitability for safety-related applications with up to SIL 3


  • Measuring steps per revolution: 19 bits
  • Revolutions: 12 bits
  • Internal temperature sensor
  • Connectivity for an external temperature sensor


Find out more: ECI 1119/ EQI 1131
Find out more: ECI 1319/ EQI 1331

Secondary encoder with inductive scanning


  • Large hollow-shaft diameter
  • Low mass moment of inertia
  • Available with functional safety


  • Graduation accuracy: down to ±3 µm/m (circular scale)
  • Graduation period: 1000 µm
  • Diameter: 81 mm to 10 000 mm
  • Protection rating: IP67


Find out more: AMO WMKA

Secondary encoder with optical scanning


  • On-board signal stabilization
  • Signal quality indicator on the scanning head
  • Continuous scanning-signal monitoring
  • High signal quality


  • System accuracy: ±10”
  • Hollow shaft diameter: 60 mm to 350 mm
  • Maximum shaft speed: 5000 rpm


Find out more: RSF MBR

Read more about rotary encoders

HEIDENHAIN dual vs secondary encoder

Rotary encoders for robotics: dual encoders vs. secondary encoders

You can tell the quality of a robot based largely on the precision of its tool center point, which should be repeatably accurate despite age, temperature and operating loads.

benefits inductive rotary encoders

Robotics: Must-know benefits of inductive rotary encoders

By measuring joint rotation, rotary encoders ensure that a robot’s arm and tool center point are where they need to be. These measuring devices come in an assortment of sizes and scanning technologies.


Get it done: functionally safe robotics with HEIDENHAIN rotary encoders

All robots share at least one design requirement: safety. Timely and reliable error detection protects not only nearby people from harm but also the robot, its tooling and the part being worked on.

Whitepaper Download HEIDENHAIN

Inductive rotary encoders for efficient robot production

An estimated 70 percent of production costs are due to design decisions. Therefore, production considerations play a key role. Find out how to improve your production in our whitepaper.

Make an appointment with us for the virtual
HEIDENHAIN show for robotics and electronics

DR. JOHANNES HEIDENHAIN GmbH develops and produces linear encoders, angle encoders, rotary encoders and CNC controls for demanding positioning tasks. Rounding out its product portfolio are touch probes, camera systems, length gauges, digital readouts, signal converters, testing devices and inspection devices. What’s more, its practical software solutions for the Digital Shop Floor empower end users to fully digitalize their manufacturing ecosystem.

Visit our website