At Photo Solutions, we offer a variety of custom reflective disk types for your latest project. These high-quality disks come in various material and size options, perfect for any of your engineering needs. While a typical transmissive encoder disk adequately supports many projects, simplified sensor chips and improvements in laser technology have reduced the cost of using reflective technology, which has expanded their use over the past few years. 


Why Use a Reflective Disk?

Typical transmissive encoders pass light through a disc that’s transparent/non-transparent. This method requires a light source placed on one side of the disk and a sensor placed on the other. This method produces consistent results. However, the nature of the design creates limits around compact sizing and wider margins of mechanical tolerances. This is because results depend on precision installation and alignment of the disks and sensors. 

Reflective disk technology operates by creating a disk that’s partially covered in reflective material and mounting the light source and the sensor on the same side. This is so it can measure if light is reflecting off the exposed area of the disk. This technology offers high levels of accuracy and resolution while cutting down on encoder size. In addition, by keeping the sensor and light on the same plane, as opposed to separate planes sandwiching the encoder disk, the overall size is dramatically decreased.

For reflective technology, the margin of mechanical tolerance relies more on the accuracy of the disk lithography since installation and alignment are easier to maneuver. And with laser technology improving every year, reflective encoder disks are more precise than ever before, encouraging wider adoption across various industries.


Applications of Reflective Encoder Disks

Encoder disks are used in practically every technological field

At Photo Solutions, we supply encoder disks across industries including the: 

  • Medical field
  • Automation industry
  • Robotics industry
  • Meteorology, and 
  • Aerospace 

The types of encoders used in each industry vary, but there are a few custom reflective encoder options available for them to choose from.  


The Different Reflective Encoder Disk Types Available at Photo Solutions

At Photo Solutions, we have three different custom reflective encoder disk options: glass, mylar, and aluminum. 


  • Reflective glass encoder disks are a great option for your critical designs. These components have the best resolution of all our disk options and typically perform the best. The soda-lime glass encoder disks has a highly reflective chrome (HRC) coating at >60% reflectivity. Gold coating is also available for high-performance applications.


  • Reflective mylar encoder disks are an excellent choice for low-cost applications that require quick and easy installation. We can provide precision PET (Mylar) code disks that offer great cost savings in both production and prototype quantities through our automated process. These peel-and-stick disks can come with protective liners and laser-cut registration features. Available options also include bonding to acrylic substrates to increase thickness and stiffness.


  • Reflective aluminum encoder disks are perfect for projects with extreme environmental conditions. These components have a wider temperature resistance range, decreased thermal shock and increased moisture resistance, so they can withstand even the most intense jobs. These disks also meet a variety of military, lab, and other industry specifications. 


(Product specifications for the different options can be found here)

You can discover which custom encoder disk is suitable for your mission-critical design by connecting with the team of experts at Photo Solutions.