The trend of having a fast pace data connection, especially within the automation industry necessitates the need for producing slip rings that can improve power transmission and improve data connection. Both the normally common industry environment and high-level application of automation requires the use of electrical slip rings that can accommodate higher transmission rates of data which requires very high bandwidth. There are needs to select one that can promote fast data protocols with no power interruptions.
You have to check several factors before selecting a slip ring for industrial or domestic purposes. When choosing one, the first question to ask is, “what is the major need of the device?”, and “will it help me to achieve my aim of using the device?” Your choice of electric slip rings depends on the output you want to get from using such devices. However, several other factors can aid your selection of a proper electrical slip ring, and we shall highlight them in our discussions. But first of all, what do you understand by electric slip rings?
Electrical slip rings are devices that provide a stable electrical connection that permits the flow of current (power), data, or signal from stationary devices to rotating equipment. It provides a good contact for the transfer of data and cogent electrical signals. It is made up of 5 components that work together to provide a seamless and fast connection for electric and rotating devices. The parts of an electrical slip ring include a stationary or fixed brush, a conductor ring, rotor, casing, or housing, and ball bearings.
The fixed or stationary brushes are designed to make sliding contact with the conductor ring, which is mounted on a rotor to create a rotary electrical connection. Lead wires provide a fixed connection between the stationary brush and the connection ring. They are as well important for providing a stable electrical connection to both sides of the slip rings. They are used in the field of robotics, construction of high-powered automated machines, design of directional drill bits and other wide range of industrial applications.
Requirements for choosing an electrical slip ring
Having looked at the important materials of an electrical slip ring, let us now highlight some of those requirements that should aid your selection of the slip ring.
- Size of the conducting ring
The size of the conducting ring plays a crucial role in determining the durability of an electrical slip ring. The conducting ring is in direct contact with the stationary brush; hence it may be prone to friction, which can cause the contact surface to wear off. A smaller conducting ring is said to reduce the probable risk of wearing since it has a smaller surface area that comes in sliding contact with the stationary brush. Hence, the average life-span of an electrical slip ring is increased when a smaller sized slip ring is used.
However, you may want to use a larger conducting ring because it allows for the flow of fluids or other media through the center tubing
- Type of stationary brush or sliding
Several design parameters can necessitate your choice of a sliding contact or stationary brush. Your signal or power requirements like rotating speed, voltage, resistance temperature, bandwidth, operating temperature, voltage, impedance, and current most are being considered. Stationary brushes come in three different types. They include poly filament, composite graphite, and mono-filament brushes.
The material used in making a composite brush is carbon graphite, which is often mixed with other high conductive metals to promote current density. Composite brushes are used primarily for applications that require high power and speed in motors. Mono-filament type of brush, which is made with precious metals such as gold, is used in applications where a lower power or speed is needed. Mono-filament brushes are also good for use in areas where lower contact resistance and high signal strength is necessary.
If you need a brush that will provide you with several contacts on a single channel and also makes sure very low brush noise and contact resistance, then you may want to think about getting an electrical slip ring made with a poly filament material. When choosing an electric slip ring, your choice of stationary brush would ordinarily depend on your targets, data rates, type of signal display, and of course, the application in which it is used.
- Power requirements
The power that is needed by a system to operate optimally should as well be considered when choosing an electrical slip ring. In fact, Power is also one of the most important factors to consider when choosing the ring. The voltage drop and current flow across the ring should be considered and given more preference than the power at the load. This is because the power dissipated in the system is affected by the voltage drop. An electrical slip ring with a poor voltage drop causes the power dissipated to be converted to heat and increases the operating temperature of your device.
Questions to ask when choosing an electrical slip ring
Before you make your choice of selecting a ring, there are several questions you should ask to assist you in making the right choice and get the most value, either for domestic or industrial application. The first question you may want to ask is, what type of application do I want to use it for. Depending on the type of power speed, bandwidth, or signal requirements for your application, you can select an electrical slip ring that meets that purpose. Some are designed to provide clearer signals with low power resistance. In contrast, others are designed to work at a much higher speed than others depending on the contacting brush and other essential components.
You should also attempt to find out how many channels does it provide? How does the electrical slip ring connect with the system? Find out what is the speed of rotation of the system. Also, ask about the type of material that serves the purpose of an enclosure for the electrical slip ring to ensure that it would perform optimally when used in a particular environment.