Choosing the Right Slip Ring

With the various sizes, materials, and configurations, it can be overwhelming to find the right slip ring for your application. In this blog post, we will take a look at the things you need to consider in choosing a slip ring, to help make the selection process a little easier. We hope that you find this information useful and urge you to contact us if you need any additional help. 

What is a slip ring?

Slip rings are important electromechanical components for commercial and industrial machines in various fields of application. They are found across industries, from crane technology to filling systems, packaging machines and medical technology. Within machinery, rotating components often prevent the transmission of electrical power, data, or signals via cables. Slip rings allow wireless power and signal transmission between stationary and rotating components. This is a reliable, maintenance-free, and low-wear way of transmitting power, signals, and data. In addition, the transmission of compressed air and gases can also be transmitted along the electrical lines. Slip rings play a critical role 

Things to consider when selecting a slip ring

The type of slip ring

There are a number of different slip rings available, including ones designed for heavy-duty applications, or separate slip rings for use within motors and machinery. As slip rings have become more commonplace, more have been invented including hollow shaft versions, miniature slip rings, and separate slip rings designed without housing for integration in customer machines. Identifying the application where you require a slip ring, will help you determine what kind of slip ring you need. You may find that multiple slip rings will fit your specifications, and it will be worthwhile to consult an expert to ensure that you are using the most durable solution. 

Application specifications

Slip rings are application-specific, which means the device is designed to suit a particular application and might not work well outside of this use. Since each user is different, slip rings usually have specifications about the size and operating environment. For example, a slip ring used for outdoor operations, will need to be water resistant. Or if a slip ring is used in an extreme environment, it may need to have specific features, including ATEX and IECEx certifications.

Mechanical parameters

As mentioned above, there are a lot of different transmissions possible with slip rings, including that of power and data. This impacts a few factors, including: the number of channels, operating speed or RPM, wire length, contact and housing material, torque, humidity and temperature, and protection levels. 

How do slip rings vary?

While all slip rings provide the same solution, namely transmitting power or data from one component to another, you now know that there are a number of things to consider during the selection process. Here, we will highlight some of the most common types of slip rings to showcare a few potential solutions. 

Aluminum slip rings

Aluminum slip rings are made from spun aluminum and are used in more heavy-duty applications, including capsulated slip rings and our various offerings of hybrid slip rings. Due to their material, these are the most durable solutions. Our automation slip rings, for example, can be used for more complex tasks in industrial power and signal transmission. Depending on our customer’s needs, we offer both a standard and industrial quality to ensure additional durability. The automation slip rings are completely encapsulated in an aluminum housing, making it a highly robust solution. 

Plastic housed slip rings

We offer a number of reliable slip rings with a plastic housing for applications that do not require as robust of a housing as aluminum. This is perfect for use within machinery or motors, or in applications that are not subject to harsh environments. For this, we recommend our capsulated slip ring, which comes in a range of sizes, including miniature. The capsulation ensures that the slip ring is protected against disturbances, including penetrating dust and moisture, electrical interference, and vibrations, shocks, or blows.  

ATEX slip ring

In addition to our aluminum slip ring solutions, we also offer an ATEX certified slip ring solution. With an aluminum housing, this slip ring is designed to be explosion-proof for hazardous environments. 

Separate slip ringSlip rings without a housing

Both the pancake and separate slip rings don’t have a housing, making them a great solution for use in machinery. Our pancake slip rings can be used both with or without a housing for maximum flexibility. They are installed in applications where space is limited in the height, but not in the width. This means that they are flat and wide, which is why it is called a pancake slip ring. 

Electrical Data

In addition to mechanical parameters, it is important to consider the electrical requirements for the slip ring. This slip contact of a slip ring body allows the wireless power and signal transmission between the stationary and rotating components, or between two components rotating differently against each other. 

Some of the important electrical components to consider include: 

  • The number of rings required in the slip ring
  • The electrical power needed
  • The electrical current

Information about data transmission

The fast and reliable data transmission by slip ring bodies, such as data and video signals via additional optical channels, is becoming increasingly important. With the rise of Industry 4.0, more requirements are placed on the slip rings as they no longer just transmit power, but also a range of data. In addition to electrical power, slip rings also have the ability to transmit optical fibers, signals, and field buses, including 100 BaseT ethernet. 

Wiring informationpancake slip ring

The final thing to consider when choosing a slip ring, is the wiring. How long does the cable need to be and which type of cable is needed? Many of our slip rings can be completely customized to ensure the right cable length. In addition, the cable cross section can also be customized depending on our clients needs, with different connectors available. This is important to ensure a seamless installation. 

Choosing the right slip ring can be complicated, as there are a range of options available. This blog post offers a helpful guide for the considerations you need to make before selecting a slip ring for your project. At rotarX, we are slip ring experts and offer helpful assistance during the decision-making process. We provide high-quality and reliable solutions for our customers around the globe.