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Milestones in HEIDENHAIN’s History and Product Development

The company began as a metal etching factory that was founded in Berlin by Wilhelm Heidenhain in 1889. This factory manufactured templates, signs, graduations and scales. After the company was destroyed in World War II, the DR. JOHANNES HEIDENHAIN Company was founded in Traunreut by Wilhelm Heidenhain’s son. The first products were again graduations and price scales for the retail trade. Optical position measuring systems for machine tools were soon added to the program. At the beginning of the Sixties came the transition to linear and angle encoders with photoelectric scanning. These developments made it possible for the first time to automate many machines and systems in the manufacturing industry.

Since the mid-Seventies HEIDENHAIN has become an increasingly important manufacturer of numerical controls and drive technology for machine tools.

From the very beginning, the company had taken a highly technical direction. In order to secure the continuity of the company as well as its technical direction, Dr. Johannes Heidenhain placed his shares of the company in a foundation in 1970. This enables HEIDENHAIN today to invest extensively in research and development.

Milestones in History

1889

Founding of the metal-etching company W. HEIDENHAIN in Berlin

1923

Dr. Johannes Heidenhain joins his father’s company

1948

The company DR. JOHANNES HEIDENHAIN starts over in Traunreut

1950

The DIADUR process is invented: Production of resistant precision graduations onto glass by copying a master graduation

1970

Founding of the non-profit DR. JOHANNES HEIDENHAIN-STIFTUNG GmbH

1980

Death of Dr. Johannes Heidenhain

2014

HEIDENHAIN is represented in all industrialized countries

Metrological projects

1961

Photoelectric measuring microscope

1966

Interferential comparator for the German national metrology institute (PTB)

1971

Angle measuring table and circular-scale testing device for the PTB

1977

Precision goniometer for the PTB

1989

Angle encoders for the New Technology Telescope (NTT)

1999

Angle encoders for the Very Large Telescope (VLT)

1999

Linear scales for the international NANO-3 length measuring comparison between numerous national metrology institutes

2001

Nanometer interferential comparator for the PTB

2003

Angle measurement comparison between HEIDENHAIN, the PTB and AIST (Japanese national research institute)

2004

Length measurement comparison between HEIDENHAIN, PTB and MITUTOYO

2004

Angle encoders for the GRANTECAN Telescope (Gran Telescopio CANARIAS)

2005

Angle measurement comparison between HEIDENHAIN and PTB

2007

Angle encoders for the 25 European ALMA antennas (Atacama Large Telescope Array)

2013

Angle encoders for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (DKIST, previously Advanced Technology Solar Telescope, ATST)

Milestones of graduations

1936

Photomechanically copied glass scale with ± 0.015 mm accuracy

1943

Copied circular scale with ± 3 seconds accuracy

1952

Weight scales become main source of revenue

1967

Self-supporting gratings, microstructures

1985

Distance-coded reference marks for incremental linear scales

1986

Phase-grating scales

1995

Area grids for two-coordinate encoders

2002

Planar phase-grating structures for interferential linear encoders

2005

Contamination-tolerant amplitude gratings, manufactured by laser ablation

2009

Large-area lattice grid (400 mm x 400 mm) for measuring systems in the semiconductor industry

Milestones of Encoders: Exposed Linear Encoders

1952

Optical linear encoders for machine tools

1961

LID 1 incremental linear encoder, grating period 8 µm / measuring step 2 µm

1963

LIC absolute linear encoder with 18 tracks, pure binary code / measuring step 5 µm

1965

Laser interferometers for machine tool calibration

1987

LIP 101 exposed interferential linear encoder, measuring step 0.02 µm

1989

LIP 301 exposed interferential linear encoder, measuring step 1 nm

1992

PP 109R two-dimensional interferential linear encoder

2008

LIP 200 interferential linear encoder with signal period 0.512 µm, for traversing speeds up to 3 m/s

2010

LIC 4000 absolute exposed linear encoder with 2 tracks, pseudo random code, EnDat 2.2 for measuring lengths up to 27 m and resolution of 1 nm

2012

LIC 2100 absolute single-track linear encoder 

2015

LIP 6000 interferential linear encoder with very compact design

Milestones of Encoders: Sealed Linear Encoders

1952

Optical linear encoders for machine tools

1966

LIDA 55.6 sealed incremental linear encoder with steel scale

1975

LS 500 incremental linear encoder with glass scale, measuring lengths up to 3 m, measuring step 10 µm 

1977

LIDA 300 incremental linear encoder, measuring lengths up to 30 m 

1994

LC 181 sealed absolute linear encoder with 7 tracks, EnDat interface, measuring length 3 m, measuring step 0.1 µm

1996

LC 481 absolute linear encoder with 2 tracks, PRC, EnDat, measuring lengths up to 2 m

2011

LC 200 absolute linear encoder, measuring lengths up to 28 m, PRC, measuring step 10 nm

2014

LC xx5 absolute linear encoder, measuring lengths up to 4 m, measuring step 1 nm

2015

LP 100 incremental linear encoder, measuring lengths up to 3 m, measuring step 32.5 pm

Milestones of Encoders: Angle Encoders

1952

Optical angle encoders

1957/1961

ROD 1 photoelectrical angle encoder with 40,000 signal periods per rev, 10,000 lines

1962

ROD 1 with 72,000 signal periods per rev

1964

ROC 15 absolute angle encoder / resolution 17 bits

1975

ROD 800 incremental angle encoder, accuracy ± 1 second

1986

RON 905 incremental angle encoder, accuracy ± 0.2 second

1997

RCN 723, absolute angle encoder with integral stator coupling in hollow shaft version, 23-bit singleturn, EnDat interface, accuracy ± 2 seconds

2000

ERP 880 interferential angle encoder with 180,000 signal periods per rev, accuracy ± 0.2 second

2004

RCN 727 absolute angle encoder with hollow shaft diameter up to 100 mm

2009

ROP 8080 interferential angle encoder for wafer probers, combination load bearing and angle encoder, 360,000 signal periods per rev

2011

ERP 1080 miniaturized interferential angle encoder in single-chip encoder design

Milestones of Encoders: Rotary Encoders

1957/1961

ROD 1 incremental photoelectric rotary encoder with 10,000 lines

1964

ROD 2 / ROD 4 series incremental standard rotary encoder

1981

ROD 426 incremental rotary encoder: the industrial standard

1987

ROC 221 S absolute multiturn encoder, 12-bit singleturn, 9-bit multiturn

1992

ERN 1300 incremental rotary encoder for servo drives, operating temperature up to 120 °C

1993

ECN 1300 and EQN 1300 absolute singleturn and multiturn rotary encoders

2000

EQN 1100 miniaturized absolute multiturn rotary encoder with chip-on-board technology

2000

ECN 100 absolute singleturn rotary encoder for hollow shaft diameter up to 50 mm

2004

ECI 1100 and EQI 1100 miniaturized absolute singleturn and multiturn rotary encoders (with inductive scanning)

2007

Absolute rotary encoders with “Functional Safety” for applications up to SIL2/PL d and EnDat 2.2 interface SIL2/PL d and EnDat 2.2 interface

2012

ERN 1387 Incremental scanning with improved accuracy due to
innovative scanning asic

2014

Absolute rotary encoders for applications up to SIL3/PL e, EnDat 2.2 interface and failure exclosure

Milestones of NC Controls and Electronics

1968

VRZ 59.4 bidirectional counter for one axis

1974

HEIDENHAIN 5041 numerical position display unit

1976

TNC 110 and TNC 120 numeric positioning controls for 3 axes

1979

TNC 131 / TNC 135 numerical straight cut controls

1981

TNC 145 numeric contouring control for 3 axes

1984

TNC 155 numerical contouring control for 4 axes with graphic simulation of workpiece machining

1995

EnDat synchronous serial interface for absolute position encoders

1996

TNC 426 contouring control with digital drive control for 5 axes

1996

TNC 410 MA HEIDENHAIN complete package with inverters and motors

2004

iTNC 530 contouring control with alternative operating mode smarT.NC

2007

TNC 620 contouring control with HSCI, the serial controller interface

2011

TNC 640 contouring control for combined milling and turning operations