Absolute encoders are used to measure lengths or angles and as distance gauges for machine tools, handling and automation technology and testing units.
Absolute encoders are capable of outputting positional information in the form of a numerical value (code). This numerical value is unique across the entire resolution range of absolute encoders. For this reason, no initial reference run is required, as is the case with incremental encoders. With rotary encoders, a distinction is made between single-turn encoders, which provide a resolution on just a single rotation and then revert to 0, and multi-turn encoders that provide a resolution over several rotations. A further distinction is made between optical and magnetic encoders.