Slip Rings for Medical Use

On our blog, we have featured a number of industries that are experiencing a technological revolution. More and more processes are becoming automated, and this is happening in the medical industry as well. The global healthcare industry was worth $8.45 trillion in 2018, and is expected to be worth more than $10 trillion by 2022. As the industry grows, we can expect to see increased automation and advancements in technology. In this blog post, we will have a look at the use of slip rings in the medical industry, and present some slip ring solutions from rotarX that we would recommend for this application.

Slip Rings in Medical Applications

Within hospitals and medical research there’s a lot of highly advanced technology. One application for slip rings is within the computer tomography (CT) scanners. Here, the scanners must be able to transmit data between the stationary data processing computer and the rotating x-ray scanner. As the scanners have advanced, there is an increased need to transmit image data rapidly between the two components.

In addition to CT scanners, slip rings are also used in shadowless lamps, commonly found in operating rooms and dentist offices. These are designed to prevent any light obstruction when working on patients, to ensure that doctors have the best view possible. As these lamps tend to hang on flexible rigs over the operating table, there is a need to transmit electricity from the rig to the lamp. 

When choosing a slip ring for use in the medical industry, it’s important to consider the application environment and the desired lifetime of use. Usually, slip rings have a service life of 5-10 years, when choosing the right slip ring for the application. However, if the application is within a hot, humid, high pressure, or corrosive environment, the working life is reduced. This highlights the importance of finding the right solution for you application, to ensure a prolonged lifetime. 

Slip rings from rotarX

At rotarX, we are slip ring experts and would be happy to find the right slip ring for your usage. Some of the most common slip rings used in the medical field include: 

Miniature slip rings

For applications in shadowless lamps, miniature slip rings are commonly used. Capsulated miniature slip rings consist of contact slip rings are attached to the rotor, which are insulated from each other. To the inside, the contact slip rings are connected with an insulated cable which is led out of the slip ring to the front. Incoming and outgoing cables always have identical colors, so that confusion-free assignment during installation is guaranteed. The encapsulation protects the inner life of the slip rings against disturbances. These include penetrating dust, moisture, electrical interference, vibrations, shocks or blows. The capsulation is designed so robustly that it is largely insensitive to mechanical stress. 

Hollow shaft slip rings

Hollow shaft, or through-bore, slip rings are great for applications where space is limited. This slip ring consists of two sleeves that are rotatably inserted into each other. Due to their design, the open interior are suitable as empty conduits for installation on an axle or for cable feed-through. A hollow shaft slip ring is fitted onto the hollow shaft, where one of more screws fix the slip ring onto the shaft. For light loads the clamping force is sufficient to fix the slip ring permanently on the shaft. If the wall thickness of the shaft is sufficient, the connection is improved by a screwed-in threaded hole. This solution is available in a variety of sizes to fit a variety of applications.

Separate slip rings

Separate slip rings consist of two parts: rotor and brush holder. As the separate slip ring unit offers maximumflexibility regarding mounting positions inside a machine, and is commonly used in space-critical applications. Due to the separate components, the customer is free to choose the position of the slip ring. However, as the slip does not have a housing, it is important to take care of protecting the components against dust and water.

At rotarX, we are experts in slip ring solutions, and would be happy to help you find the right solution for your application. Please feel free to reach out to our product experts for a consultation.