The absolute benchmark.

Proven system with maximum precision – even in extreme weather, dirt, and harsh environments.

WCS absolute positioning system


Precise Absolute Position Detection

The Pepperl+Fuchs WCS position encoding system has been on the market since 1989 and has been continuously developed and optimized through countless projects. It enables reliable position detection even with curved tracks, inclines, declines, interruptions, or switches.

Flexible Integration

The position value can be transmitted directly from the read head to the controller via a number of integrated interfaces, such as RS-485, SSI, CANopen, PROFINET, EtherCAT, or EthernetIP. A wide range of interface modules are available for connection to other fieldbus interfaces.

Rugged Design

Due to its U-shaped design, the WCS is resistant to ambient light and can even read dirty code rails with its powerful LEDs. Non-contact photoelectric scanning protects the WCS from wear and tear, and the Outdoor option offers protection up to IP69.

Simple Setup

The WCS Outdoor version features a translucent housing that offers good visibility of the indicator LED and display. This allows position information or error messages to be read quickly and easily.

Precise Absolute Position Detection

Due to its modular design, the path coding system can be adapted to any application or environmental situation. It always consists of a read head, a code rail and the appropriate mounting system. The read head is available with various options, such as the WCS Outdoor option for harsh environments or the WCS Extended option for particularly long distances, which can also be combined with one another. If the read head and code rail are selected, three different mounting systems are available.


Precise Absolute Position Detection

Robustness and Precision in All Conditions

Option Outdoor
The WCS option “O” for Outdoor is available for applications with extreme environmental conditions. A rugged housing with IP69 protection makes the read head resistant to dust, moisture, and shock. This means it can also be used in environments with high-pressure cleaners or where the WCS comes into contact with substances such as saltwater, acids, and alkalis. In case of malfunction, easy maintenance of the WCS read head is possible because the indicator LEDs and the display are easy to read through the translucent housing.
Option Display
A six-digit (seven-segment) display is built into the read head and can be adapted to the mounting position. This allows the display to be easily rotated 180°, which ensures faster and easier commissioning—no matter whether the installation is hanging or standing. The display can show the current position value and diagnostic functions, and can draw attention to dirty or damaged code rail segments.
Option Extended
If an application requires an especially long distance, the special WCS Extended version makes it possible to cover a distance of up to 629 m. Assembly and integration of the two standard code rail segments are flexible. The extended read head can read the extended distance without additional programming.
Option Heating
By adding the “H” option, the WCS can be used in environments with temperatures as low as -40 °C. The heating is supplied via the read head and can be combined with the outdoor version. This enables commissioning in ice and snow and protects against condensation.

Code Rails and ID Pads for Harsh Environments

WCS Codie Rail



Laminate code rails:

Laminate code rails from Pepperl+Fuchs are made of a tear-resistant polyester laminate that is not affected by oils, greases, and solvents. Because of its resistance to chemicals, acids, alkalis, and aggressive gases, the code rail can also be used in electroplating applications.

Stainless steel code rails:

Stainless steel code rails from Pepperl+Fuchs are corrosion-resistant and can be used in temperatures ranging from -40 °C to 80 °C. They are resistant to flying sparks in welding shops and heavy contamination. In combination with the WCS Outdoor, safe and reliable positioning is guaranteed.

Detection with ID Pad:

Mounted on moving objects, the ID pad allows a read head to identify a chassis as it passes by. This enables fine positioning and is rugged for extreme environments.

Mounting Systems

Exact Positioning in All Weather Conditions

WCS usage in harbors

Exact position detection is ensured, even with temperature fluctuations. With the combination of Outdoor and Extended options, long distances are no longer a problem in modern harbor operations. This makes it possible for container cranes to move containers from one location to another over a distance of a maximum of 629 metres, ensuring that the crane is positioned with millimetre precision. As can be seen from the illustration, the position of the trolley during container loading can also be determined precisely by using a WCS. Both are based on durable stainless steel code rails using a WCS read head.

Application of the WCS at a harbor

The WCS Outdoor with a special protective housing was developed for extreme outdoor applications—salt water, salty air, or any other type of humidity. With protection up to IP69, it offers the highest degree of sealing. In addition, the impact-resistant read head is immune to hail and provides protection against mechanical influences.

The WCS can be used also in galvanic applications

Due to the protective housing of the read head, the Outdoor Version of the WCS is resistant to aggressive substances—this also applies to the available plastic code strips with special coating. Even complex routes, curves, gradients, and inclines are no problem for the WCS.

Resistant to Acids and Alkalis

The WCS can also be used in galvanic applications

High temperatures can occur in galvanic plants, and the air is often saturated with vapors from the solutions. In this harsh environment, workpieces are normally attached to a metal frame and automatically transported to the immersion baths with extremely aggressive solutions.

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