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Name the shape of this encoder and win an iPod

18 June 2010

Zettlex is about to launch a new range of precision angle encoders but the company cannot agree how best to describe the unusual shape of the product. Zettlex is inviting readers to suggest a suitable, snappy description for the product.

The winner will receive an Apple iPod touch for their troubles. IncOder is a  range of precision angle encoders, the unusual shape of which is intended to cope with tight spaces or a restricted design envelope. For example, drive shafts, bearings or cables may need to be passed through the space where traditional rotary encoders might sit.

The only problem is – how do you best describe such a shape? Mark Howard, General Manager at Zettlex comments: “A technically correct description might be ‘annular with small radial and axial thicknesses’, which is not exactly a snappy description. Some engineers have suggested that we use the word ‘pancake’ – but pancakes don’t have big holes in their centre; ‘polo’ is another idea, but this does not translate easily into other languages such as French or German; ‘through-shaft’ is an option – but this phrase may confuse engineers who might think of traditional, small through-shaft encoders rather than the 3 to 12 inch units that we offer.” IncOder is aimed at applications such as rotary joints, gimbals, test equipment, radar systems, weapon mounts, robots and camera systems, where precision measurement in harsh environments is an absolute must. Zettlex has chosen this year’s Farnborough Aerospace & Defence exhibition at the end of July to launch the new product.

 “All the testing and production readiness is pretty much complete,” adds Howard. “Our unique, inductive technology means the performance of these units is remarkably good, but we now need to close out all the product brochures with a neat, snappy description of IncOder’s unusual shape. ‘Annular encoder’ just sounds wrong in all sorts of ways.  ‘Flat with a big hole’ is the best so far. In an effort to resolve how best to describe the IncOder’s shape, Zettlex is offering an Apple iPod touch to the most suitable suggestion that it receives from readers. Entries must be received no later than midday on 2nd August 2010. To enter, simply send your suggestion by email to info@zettlex.com and mark your entry ‘IncOder shape’.


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