Have you considered using a stepper motor (controlled by the Arduino) and leadscrew to define the distance compressed, rather than trying to measure it?
Riva: That motor would be perfect - I thought it was, actually, until I was informed that some of our spring configurations would require such high force. Thank you for the suggestion.
Did you do the calculation to take into effect the 30:1 gearbox or just the 3.1Nm motor
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via Egeo 16