Slip Ring Technology Guide

by | Jul 23, 2021

Slip ring technology is one of the smartest technologies that are broadly used in the industrial environment, agriculture sector, medical or pharmaceutical sector, aerospace, and many others.

This technology is playing an integral role in electromechanical systems to enhance electrical as well as mechanical performance.

The main function of slip ring technology is to provide continuous, unlimited, and intermittent rotations in a rotating system while transmitting electric power (in the form of signals or data) from the source.

Let’s dive from the basics of the slip ring.

What is Slip Ring?

Separated slip ring

A slip ring is an electromechanical device. The electromagnetic device that transmits the electrical power and electrical signal across the moving interface (i.e. stationary to the rotating form) is called as a “Slip Ring”.

As per its working mechanism, sometimes, it is known as “Rotatory Electrical Joint” or “Electric Swivel” or “Rotary Electrical Interfaces” or “Rotating Electrical Connectors”.

Under the construction, this electromechanical device consists of a number of circular conductive rings and brushes. It is basically constructed to carry an electric source in the form of alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC).

It provides transmission power and all kinds of precision signals to systems that can improve mechanical performance (i.e. system operations). 

It is generally used in electric machines (like as alternator, motor, generator).

Pros and Cons of Slip Ring

Pros (or advantages) of slip ring:

  • A slip ring can easily install and handle the rotational pressure in an electrical system (especially in electric machines).
  • It allows faster scan times and minimal infers and delays.
  • It has high-speed transmission and rotation capacity (in the range of mW to MW) for continuous acquisition protocols.
  • Slip ring finds in different sizes (chiefly in a compact size). So, it is very easy for transportation.
  • It requires low maintenance due to the presence of precious metal components. And it has very few chances to become corrosion.
  • It produces less electrical noise in the running or working conditions.

Cons (or disadvantages) of slip ring:

  • The construction of a slip ring is very complicated due to the presence of connected conductive rings, insulations, brushes and other internal parts.
  • In some hazardous scenarios, sparkling may occur in conductive rings. So, we require a proper setup for connecting and arranging the conductive rings.
  • Using a slip ring for a small project can become economically expensive.

These are some advantages and disadvantages of slip ring. These differentiations vary based on the slip ring types and their construction.

Where does Slip Ring Technology Use?

Now a day, Slip Ring technology is widely used in different technical sectors like as industrial, commercial, medical, research and development sectors.

Here we are listing some electrical appliances and devices where slip ring technology is widely used.

  • CT Scan
  • AC Generator
  • Wind Turbine
  • Robotics
  • Drone
There are different types of slip rings used as per their working principle, constructions, and different specifications in different devices or systems. Let’s dive into each one of these devices one by one.

1.  CT Scan

ct scan

CT scan stands for “Computed Tomography Scanner”. In medical and pharmaceutical nomenclature, it is also known as “Computerized Axial Tomography (CAT) Scan” or ”Sequential Scanner”.

We all know CT scan is one of the best advanced diagnostic image scanning techniques. This technique is primarily used in a medical environment for the detection of the internal structure of human beings (i.e. abnormal condition of patients).

The slip ring technology in CT scans is very beneficial. It provides power and control signals from the stationary parts of the scanner system to the rotating frame with the help of a slip ring.

Due to the slip ring technology, several X-ray tubes continuously rotate.  From these x-ray tubes, a CT scan gathers information to generate the internal body structure of patients.

2. AC generator

The AC generator is also called an “Alternator” or a “Synchronous Generator.

The AC generator work as an alternating current generating system that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy in the form of AC.

In this AC generating system, stationary (also called a stator) and rotating magnetic fields (also called a rotor) are the prominent part of the generator. For the rotating magnetic fields, the slip ring device is connected to the armature for transmitting electrical power and control the circuit.

Thus, slip ring technology has a major role in a generator that makes an electrical connection and allows electrical energy in between rotating parts through a rotating assembly.

3. Wind turbine

The wind turbine is the technology that requires high reliability, long-term life, and unrestrained connection of power. These challenges are achievable to a good extend by using Slip Ring technology.

If you understand the working of a wind turbine, the basic function of the slip ring is to transfer electricity or data signal from the nacelle to the control system of the wind turbine.

Slip Ring is a compact device that performs various tasks on wind turbines such as detecting the failure condition, switching operations of the turbine, protecting from hazardous and abnormal conditions, etc.

If the slip ring gets damaged, there will be difficulty communicating data or signals to controlling devices of the turbine. Due to this cause, the wind turbine will not work properly or may go in shut down mode. Thus, slip ring technology plays an important role in operating wind turbines.

4. Robotics

slip-ring-robots-robots-arm-application

Over time, industrial automation is evolving rapidly worldwide. In the development and enhancing manufacturing process of automation technology, robotic is one of the evolving technologies.

For robotics technology integration, slip rings play a major role. Slip ring provides fast performance, good flexibility to complete a specific task. And it also has a high capability to transmit data at 360-degree rotation.

It has more beneficial in different robotics applications like surgical robotics, oil and gas robotics, mining robotics, laparoscopic robotics, hoover, and many other commercial applications.

As per physical and working requirements from different applications, a variety of slip rings are used and manufactured in different shapes, sizes, and qualities.

5. Drone

The drone is one of the advanced technology that helps to audit, record, and gather specific information (especially from aerial view).

In scientific nomenclature, the drone is called an “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)” or “Uncrewed Aerial Vehicle”.

In the drone system, generally, fiber optical Slip Rings are used. These types of slip rings allow transmitting a large amount of data or signals across rotating interfaces.

Slip Ring provides more benefits. It is easy to install and transport due to its compact size structure. It transmits the huge amount of data, record data with high speed, gather the information over a long distance. Also, it provides no electromagnetic interference.  

Summary

In this guide, we have learned about slip ring technology, basic concepts, and how it is evolving over time. We also learned about the pros and cons of this technology.

This technology is used in many sectors as industrial, commercial, medical, research and development. Some of the major technical equipment includes CT scan, AC generator, wind turbine, robotics, and drone where Slip Ring technology plays an integral role.