Encoders for medical technology

Medical technology systems must ensure safety and patient comfort but also meet documentation and cost requirements during production.

To meet these demands, you can rely on rotary encoders, angle encoders, linear encoders, and slip rings from HEIDENHAIN, AMO, LTN, NUMERIK JENA, RENCO, and RSF. These products deliver highly accurate, reliable, and long-lasting measurement capability to your specialised solutions for diagnostics, treatment, lab work, and medical rooms.

Imaging diagnostics

Medical diagnostics commonly rely on imaging procedures for a non-invasive look inside the body, including X-ray imaging, Computer Tomography (CT), and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). The emitter, detector, and patient must all be precisely positioned in order to obtain a detailed image and to keep the patient's radiation exposure at a minimum.


  • Absolute linear encoders such as the LIC 2000 enable highly dynamic linear axis control. Position values are immediately available at all times with no reference runs required.
  • Available in a large selection and suitable for safety-related applications, HEIDENHAIN rotary encoders such as the ROQ 400 are dependable solutions for diagnostic equipment.
  • Inductive encoders from AMO with a scanning head and scale tape ring are the ideal solutions for position measurement on the large rotating axes of CT machines.
  • Scale tape solutions such as the MSR 45 from RSF are ideal for CBCT scanners in ENT treatment or X‑ray devices in dental diagnostics.

Measurement technology for medical treatment

Medical treatment technology varies widely, employing technologies as diverse as oncological radiation therapy, ophthalmic laser treatment, dialysis, artificial respiration, physical therapy, and orthopaedic rehab. In some cases, exact positioning is called for. In others, smooth motion control is paramount. Encoders from HEIDENHAIN, AMO, NUMERIK JENA, and RENCO provide compact solutions for these applications.


  • HEIDENHAIN rotary encoders such as the ECN 400 are the ideal solution for radiation emitter positioning in radiotherapy applications. Inductive encoders from AMO with a scanning head and scale tape ring are the ideal solutions for position measurement on the large rotating axes of CT machines.
  • Ultra-compact and versatile linear encoders such as the LIKgo from NUMERIK JENA are perfect for limited installation space in many types of medical technology equipment.
  • Robust inductive modular angle encoders from AMO are highly versatile. Their wear-free design also gives them a long service life.
  • RENCO encoders are ideal for stepper motors and BLDC motors used in dialysis machines and ventilators. Their monitoring functions are unique among incremental rotary encoders.
  • When exceptionally high positioning accuracy is called for, linear encoders such as the LIC series from HEIDENHAIN are up to the challenge.

Medical Room Equipment

Medical rooms are becoming increasingly mechanized and automated, including hospital operating rooms and examination rooms in private practices. Motor-driven operating tables and examination tables, for example, boost patient comfort while reducing physical strain on staff. They also require dependable encoders for position measurement. In addition, swivel arms for surgery lights, swivel-mounted instrument holders, and similar devices require a reliable power supply increasingly combined with data transmission from cameras or integrated computers, all made possible by slip rings.


  • Patient comfort and safety are essential features of motorized examination tables. HEIDENHAIN rotary encoders such as the ROQ 400 series are the go-to choice.
  • Thanks to their built-in mounting aid, RENCO rotary encoders are quick to set up. The R35iL also features one of the flattest profiles on the market.
  • Endoscopes and medical lighting devices rotate in all directions for optimal viewing. Slip rings ensure constant powering and high-resolution data transmission on freely rotatable joints.

Lab work and analysis

Advanced health care systems employ high-efficiency lab technology and analytics. This includes everything from automated sample handling and analysis for millions of blood tests per day to complex genetic sequencing. Automated pipetting machines, blood analyzers, and similar equipment, as well as high-content screening for gene analysis, all require very high accuracy. To meet growing analysis demand, liquid handling technology requires increasingly smaller sample sizes delivered to ever tinier spaces without waste. This conserves sample material and reagent while avoiding contamination and false results.

  • HEIDENHAIN exposed linear encoders such as the absolute LIC and the incremental LIDA with reference marks ensure accurate positioning in blood analysers, DNA sequencing, and general liquid handling.
  • Flow behaviour is another important factor in medical lab analysis. Accurate angular measurement in rheometers can be attained with the ERO series of modular angle encoders from HEIDENHAIN.
  • The LIKselect linear encoders are highly configurable and extremely compact. They're the ideal solution in devices for point-of-care diagnostics in private practices and hospitals.
  • In highly dynamic lab automation applications, incremental linear encoders from RSF ensure the optimal combination of accuracy, traversing speed, and longevity.
  • Microstructures in and on glass are the specialty of IMT, including optical coatings and gratings for various spectroscopy processes along with biochips for microfluidics.

Medical robotics applications

Robotics applications are becoming more prevalent in surgery, orthopedics, and neurology. Surgical applications in these fields benefit from high process accuracy and reproducibility. Robots can reach difficult-to-access areas and replace conventional procedures with minimally invasive techniques, even over long distances. Medical robots are also being used in rehab applications, including robot-aided physical therapy and exoskeletons for helping patients regain mobility.


  • The Kit LA absolute linear encoders from NUMERIK JENA are extremely small and adaptable, thus allowing them to meet specialized requirements for linear axes on surgical robots.
  • With an installation height of just 8.6 mm, the R35iL from RENCO is an ideal solution for motor feedback in stepper motors and BLDC motors, including in medical technology robotics.
  • Motion control in exoskeletons can be achieved through the highly versatile segment-design modular angle encoders from RSF.
  • We designed the KCI 120 Dplus and KCI/KBI 1300 compact motor encoders specifically for limited installation space in robotics applications.
  • Small 35 mm rotary encoders such as the HEIDENHAIN EQI 1131 are ideal for motion control on rotary axes with very limited installation space, as is the case with exoskeletons.
  • Absolute modular angle encoders from AMO with a WMFA measuring flange and WMKA scanning head enable customized solutions on large rotary axes.