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RESOLUTE™ absolute encoder system with RSLA linear scale


  • Protocols available: BiSS®, FANUC, Mitsubishi, Panasonic, DRIVE-CLiQ, Yaskawa 
  • Readhead size: 36 x 16.5 x 17.2 mm
  • Resolutions to 1 nm at 100 m/s
  • ±4 µm over 5 m accuracy at 20 °C
  • Scale thermal coefficient of expansion at 20 °C: 10.1 ±0.2 µm/m/°C
  • Vacuum compatible and side cable outlet versions available


  • High accuracy spar scale
  • Excellent motion control performance
  • Exceptionally high dirt immunity
  • Wide set-up tolerances
  • Less than 10 nm RMS jitter for improved positional stability
  • ±40 nm Sub-Divisional Error for smooth velocity control

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RESOLUTE is a true absolute, fine pitch optical encoder system that has excellent dirt immunity, and an impressive specification that breaks new ground in position feedback. It is the world's first absolute encoder capable of 1 nm resolution up to 100 m/s. Ultra low SDE and jitter result in a linear encoder system that outperforms any other encoder in its class.

The Queen's Award for Enterprise: Innovation 2015


Winner of a Queen's Award for Enterprise 2015 in the Innovation category

What is RSLA scale?

RSLA is a stainless steel spar scale featuring our 30 µm pitch absolute scale code.
It is comparable to fine pitch glass scales and offers a total accuracy (including slope and linearity) better than ±4 µm over a 5 m length. It can also be coiled for simple storage and handling yet once uncoiled behaves as a spar scale.
System designers can choose between specially formulated adhesive tape or mechanical clips to suit mounting requirements. Both mounting methods allow for independent thermal expansion to that of the substrate.

Why choose this encoder system?

High dirt immunity

There are many factors that contribute to the high dirt immunity of the RESOLUTE encoder system when compared to other optical encoder technologies. RESOLUTE uses a state-of-the-art DSP (Digital Signal Processor) to analyse the data captured by a custom image sensor which has been specifically designed for this application. Within the DSP complex algorithms are at work to overcome the light scattering effects of oily or greasy smears that may cause other encoders to fail. The custom point source LED changes its flash duration in order to provide the best signal integrity for all possible traversing speeds. Finally a large amount of redundancy is built into the absolute code pattern, which means that RESOLUTE can still function over parts of the scale that are partially obscured by particulate contamination.

Excellent motion control performance

RESOLUTE's industry-leading performance is the result of a sophisticated, reliable and innovative method of operation. Crucially, the system uses a single track non-repeating “bar code” scale format with a nominal pitch of 30 µm. With its sophisticated optical design the RESOLUTE readhead captures a near-instantaneous image of this scale which, when analysed, allows a unique position to be identified at speeds of up to 100 m/s. The system allows position to be determined with resolution as small as 1 nanometre (1 billionth of a metre) and with low noise (jitter below 10 nm RMS) and SDE (Sub-Divisional Error, the error within a scale period) of just ±40 nm. This provides encoder feedback of superior fidelity, to ensure smoother velocity control and rock-solid positional stability.

Wide set-up tolerances

RESOLUTE does not follow the conventional technique of using dual tracks side-by-side (one incremental, one absolute) which inherently suffers de-phasing problems when small amounts of angular misalignment are introduced. Instead, this absolute encoder features a single track, optical absolute scale, combining both the absolute position and embedded phase information into one single code. This technology provides RESOLUTE with far wider set-up tolerances (yaw tolerance ±0.5°) for quick and easy installation and superior long-term reliability, even if the motion axes settle or move over time. To further aid installation and diagnostics, there is an integral set-up LED on the readhead.

Interface option 

DRIVE-CLiQ interface

  • required for DRIVE-CLiQ protocolDRIVE-CLiQ interface for use with the RESOLUTE true-absolute optical encoder
  • also available in dual head input for high accuracy rotary systems
  • displays communication alarms
  • duplicates readhead LED


No interface is required for the other available protocols.

ProtocolDescriptionData sheetCompatible products

Renishaw supports BiSS C (unidirectional) open protocol for absolute encoders. BiSS is a high-speed serial protocol, perfect for dynamic axes that require high acceleration, silky-smooth velocity control, excellent bi-directional repeatability and rock-solid positional stability.
RESOLUTE with BiSS is available in both linear and rotary (angle) encoder versions, compatible with a wide range of industry-standard controllers, drives, DROs and PC counter cards.


BiSS compatible product page


RESOLUTE with Siemens DRIVE-CLiQ serial interface is available for linear and rotary applications. DRIVE-CLiQ is the innovative, powerful communications interface to connect encoder and direct measurement systems with SINUMERIK and SINAMICS drive components.




RESOLUTE with FANUC serial interface is available for rotary and linear applications.
RESOLUTE brings many advantages to high-performance machine tools that use FANUC controllers. Higher speed, rugged and reliable pure serial communications, superior contouring performance and greater servo stiffness. Furthermore, the non-contact format eliminates backlash, shaft wind-up (torsion) and other hysteresis errors that plague traditional enclosed encoders.




RESOLUTE with Mitsubishi serial communications interface is available in rotary and linear forms. RESOLUTE is compatible with the J4 series of servo drives, and the MDS-D2/DH2/DM2/DJ drives for machine tool applications.

RESOLUTE Mitsubishi


YaskawaRESOLUTE with Yaskawa serial communications interface is available in rotary and linear forms, and is compatible with Sigma-5 and Sigma-7 SERVOPACKs.RESOLUTE YaskawaN/A


RESOLUTE with Panasonic serial communications interface is available in linear forms. Compatible with the A5 series of drives, it provides high resolution repeatable feedback for better servo and speed control.

RESOLUTE Panasonic


Technical specifications

Measuring standard

RSLA: absolute coded high accuracy stainless steel spar scale

Readhead size (LxWxH)           

36 mm x 16.5 mm x 14.8 mm

Scale pitch

Nominal 30 μm

Thermal expansion coefficient at 20 °C

10.1 ±0.2 μm/m/°C

Accuracy grade at 20 °C

±1.5 μm up to 1 m, ±2.25 μm up to 2 m, ±3 μm up to 3 m, ±4 μm up to 5 m, (includes slope and linearity), calibration traceable to International Standards

Scale length

Some BiSS C protocol variants have limited maximum length

(See data sheet for details)

80 mm to 5 m

Maximum speed

(See data sheet for details)

Up to 100 m/s


BiSS C                          Mitsubishi

DRIVE-CLiQ†              Panasonic

FANUC                         Yaskawa


BiSS C: 50 nm, 5 nm and 1 nm resolutions

DRIVE-CLiQ, FANUC and Mitsubishi: 50 nm and 1 nm resolutions

Panasonic: 100 nm, 50 nm and 1 nm resolutions

Yaskawa: 50 nm and 1 nm resolutions

Sub-Divisional Error (SDE)

±40 nm

Electrical connection

Up to 20 m cable lengths with D-type connectors (9 pin or 15 pin), flying lead, FANUC compatible connector, LEMO, and M12

Power supply

5 V ±10%, max 250 mA @ 5 V (terminated)

Vibration (operating)

300 m/s2 max @ 55 Hz to 2 000

Shock (non-operating)

1 000 m/s2, 6 ms, ½ sine

Operating temperature

0 °C to +80 °C



Refer to data sheets for full details.

*Other protocols are continually being added.

For DRIVE-CLiQ specifications, refer to data sheet.


Data sheets

White papers

Technical drawings

How it works

RESOLUTE communicates bi-directionally in purely serial format, using a variety of industry-standard protocols, of both proprietary and open standard. 

RESOLUTE™ encoder optical scheme with annotations

The process begins...

The controller initiates operation by sending a demand message to the readhead, instructing it to capture the absolute position on the linear or rotary scale at that instant. The head responds by flashing a high-power LED source to illuminate the scale. The flash duration is as brief as 100 ns to minimise image blur on moving axes. Crucially its timing is controlled within a few nanoseconds to preserve the relationship between demanded and reported position, one of the essential features that makes RESOLUTE ideally suited to very high specification motion systems. 



Single track scale

The scale is essentially a single track of full-width contrasting lines, based on a nominal period of 30 µm. The absence of multiple parallel tracks gives important immunity from yaw errors and much more lateral tolerance in head position.

Image acquisition

The scale is imaged, via an aspheric lens which minimises distortion, onto a custom detector array designed specifically for RESOLUTE. The optical arrangement, with a folded illumination path but direct imaging, is highly compact yet stable thus assuring the fidelity essential for excellent metrology.

Data decoding and analysis

Once captured by the detector, the image is transferred via an analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) to a powerful Digital Signal Processor (DSP). Specially developed algorithms then obtain a true absolute, but relatively coarse position from the code embedded in the scale. This process is checked, and corrections are made by further algorithms in the DSP which exploit redundancy and intentional restrictions in the scale code. Meanwhile other routines calculate a very high resolution fine position, which is then combined with the coarse position to provide a truly absolute and very high resolution location.

Final checks and data output

After final error checking procedures this information is uploaded in the appropriate protocol to the controller as a pure serial word representing position to within 1 nm. Protection against electrical noise disturbance is provided by addition of a Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC). The entire process can take as little as a few micro seconds and be repeated up to 25 000 times per second. By a variety of techniques, including adjusting the light flash duration to the axis speed, this performance is achieved at up to 100 m/s while, crucially, preserving exceptionally low positional jitter at lower operating speeds.

And the result is...

An encoder with generous installation tolerances: RESOLUTE allows ±0.5° in yaw, pitch and roll and an impressive ±150 µm in rideheight. Meanwhile the generous optical footprint and advanced error correcting procedures confer excellent immunity to optical contamination, both particulate and greasy smears. All this while maintaining 1 nm resolution at 100 m/s: RESOLUTE is the answer to the toughest absolute challenge.