Nikon Press Releases

Nikon + Robotics System: Nikon Releases Multi-Turn Absolute Encoders Which Obtain Position Info & Provide Safety Motion Monitoring for On-Board Robots


The following video presents Mark Roberts Motion Control in partnership with Nikon – Polycam in use at Wimbledon 2013:

Mark Roberts Motion Control (MRMC), takes a giant leap forward in photographic development, with the introduction of a revolutionary new robotics solution that allows professional photographers to achieve shots that were never before possible.

Bob Martin, legendary sports photographer, made history at Wimbledon 2013 as the first photographer to trial a new fast action robotics system; the product of a collaboration between Nikon and MRMC, the leading designer and manufacturer of quality motion control products.

Using Nikon’s award-winning D4 digital SLR cameras mounted on MRMC’s SFH-30 robotic heads located at the venue, Bob was able to quickly move and rotate any of the cameras and take shots from positions that would not normally be physically possible, allowing photographers to shoot difficult angles and in impossible locations.

Bob also made history during the first week of the oldest major tennis championship, shooting with a new MRMC Polycam configuration, with three separate robotic heads being used in synchronisation. As the master head was controlled by Bob, two other robotic heads overlooking Centre Court moved at the same time to track the same subject, allowing Bob to capture the action from three separate angles, using a remote, with every release of the shutter. Polycam allows any number of robotic heads to be working together intelligently to automatically all track the same point of interest but from multiple perspectives, allowing one photographer or cameraman to effectively and easily control multiple remotes.

Also, Nikon’s Adaptive Robot Control (ARC) introduces absolute robot positioning accuracy.

The following silent video presents Nikon Metrology K-Series Adaptive Robot Control:

  • Robot using Nikon Metrology‘s Adaptive Robot Control (ARC) to ensure exact positioning.

Nikon just released two multi-turn absolute encoders which will be used in combination with a robot motion safety monitoring unit in order to obtain the position info from two independent sources and provide safety motion monitoring for on-board robots.


IEC 61508 Functional Safety Standard SIL3 compliant

MAR-M40AS and MAR-MK42AS multi-turn absolute encoders released

December 1, 2015

Nikon Corporation (Kazuo Ushida, President, Minato-ku, Tokyo) is pleased to announce the release of two multi-turn absolute encoders*1, the MAR-M40AS and the MAR-MK42AS, that are compliant with the IEC 61508 SIL3 functional safety standard*2. The encoders obtain position information from two independent sources and provide safety motion monitoring for on-board robots.

The encoders will be displayed at the upcoming 2015 International Robotics Exhibition at Tokyo Big Sight from 2 to 5 December.

*1 International standard on functional safety of electrical/electronic programmable electronic safety-related systems published by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission), where SIL (Safety Integrity Level) indicates the system-level safety performance on a scale of SIL1 (lowest) to SIL4 (highest). The MAR-M40AS and MAR-MK42AS deliver safety performance at SIL3, the maximum safety ranking for general industrial products.

*2 A multi-turn absolute encoder is an encoder that is capable of detecting the absolute position of the current rotation position as well as the angle within each rotation. Origin return is not required at system startup and the accurate absolute position information for the encoder is readily available.

Product Information

Product Name : MAR-M40AS and MAR-MK42AS absolute encoders compliant with functional safety standards
Price : Open price
Available from : December 1, 2015

Left : M scale of internal structure; Right : Exterior view

Left : M scale of internal structure; Right : Exterior view


  1. Superior safety performance
    Used in combination with a robot motion safety monitoring unit, the safety performance of the overall system including the encoder is IEC61508 SIL3 and ISO13849-1
    *3 PLe/Cat. 4 (safety category 4) level. The encoder in isolation provides safety performance at IEC61508 SIL2 and ISO13849-1 PLd/Cat.2 (safety category 2) level.
    Note: Safety performance independently evaluated by third-party accreditation agency.

    *3  3The ISO13849-1 standard sets out general design rules for safety-related parts of machinery control systems. Performance levels (PL) for safety control systems are rated from PLa (lowest) through to PLe (highest), while safety control system architecture and safety performance in the event of failure are rated on a five-point scale from Cat. B (lowest) through to Cat. 4 (highest).
  2. Duplex position information (position information Pos1 and Po2)
    The encoder obtains position information from two independent internal systems (single turn and multi-turn) and forwards the position information to the higher-order controller in the Nikon A-Safety duplexed format. This approach allows safety motion monitoring without the need for two separate encoders. Duplex position information also enables detection of multi-turn errors in robot system stopped status (encoder backup operation status) which was not possible previously.
    [See internal system diagram of encoder below.]
  3. Backward compatibility to support upgrading
    Mechanical parts are inherited from the MAR-M40 series and MK32 series. This ensures compatibility with motors for easy upgrading and replacement.
  4. Maximum transmission speed of 16 Mbps
    The M40AS and MK42AS boast transmission speeds of up to 16 Mbps, a significant improvement over the 4 Mbps maximum baud rate of previous models. (optional)
Internal system diagram

Internal system diagram

Main specifications


The following video presents MRMC – London Live TV Studiobot and AFC-100 Robotics:

Short video showing the installation of Studiobot 9-axis robotic camera and 5 x AFC-100 Pan Tilt heads at London Live TV station. The installation was over 1 year ago and the 24/7 television has been running successful since. A low production cost solution with high quality broadcast using Nikon DSLRs.