Technical Blog

Types of Position Sensor available from Variohm

As a sensor distributor and manufacturer, position sensors are just one of our product categories.

We have lots of different types of position sensors; we are a UK distributor of cable extension transducers, encoders, inclinometers, and membrane position sensors. We also have linear position sensors, rotary potentiometer and non-contacting rotary Hall-Effect sensors which are available worldwide.

What are position sensors?

Position sensors are sensors used for measuring the distance that a given object has travelled from its initial reference position. The output is often given as feedback to the control system which then takes the appropriate action. The motion measured can be linear or rotary hence, position sensors are called linear position sensors or rotary position sensors.

Types of Position Sensor that Variohm can offer

Here is a bit more information on each of the different types of position sensor we can offer.

Linear Position Sensors

Linear position sensors can be contacting or non-contacting. They are used in applications across many industries to measure movement in a linear motion. We are supplying linear position sensors for a wide range of arduous applications. Our range of linear position Sensors is a compilation of products from our network of leading suppliers and products of our own; this means that we have a broad range to solve any application.

Cable Extension Transducers

Cable extension transducers are also known as “string pots” or “draw wire sensors”. Like linear position sensors, they measure movement in a linear motion but use a cable to do so rather than a rod. These tend to be used where space is restricted and are a popular choice for aerospace applications. Some of the cable extension transducers which we provide have been used on the Bridge at the New London City Island at Canning Town, the sensor is used to position the bridge as it moves up and down to let boats through. We have also supplied cable extension transducers which have been used at Dover Harbour to position the ramp so that cars can board the ferry.

Our cable extension transducers come from our supplier TE Connectivity Sensor Solutions.

Rotary Position Sensors

Like linear position sensors, rotary position sensors can also be contacting or non-contacting. We are often approached for non-contacting rotary position sensors in the Motorsport industry. Many of our sensors are small in size making them suitable for space-restricted applications. You may have come into contact with some of the rotary sensors we have supplied if you ever travel to London by train. The ticket barriers on the London Underground system use rotary position sensors to determine the position of the gates when they are open or closed.

As well as a selection of rotary position sensors from our trusted suppliers, we also supply our own range; the Euro-X. There are different variations; the standard Euro-XP range, the Euro-XPD D-shaft range and the Euro-XPK Puck range.

Membrane Potentiometers

Membrane potentiometers give linear position sensing in an element which is just 0.5mm in height. They can be straight or round and various sizes and lengths. Membrane potentiometers create a form factor to allow OEM’s to insert feedback position sense right next to the device as it moves. This allows for absolute position sensing at the movement location.


Inclinometers can be single axis or dual axis and are often available with compact designs which make them great for space-restricted installations. They are often either analogue or digital output.

As you can see, we have a full range of position sensors available, each type is unique and has its own use and targeted field. The thing that all of these sensors have in common is that they measure the position of a given object – hence the name position sensors.

If you have any questions about the different types of position sensors, we’d love to hear from you – please contact us on 01327 351004 or we look forward to hearing from you.

Article published on: 22/05/2017