A slip ring is an electromechanical device which allows transmission of electrical signals, data or raw power from a stationary part to a rotating part which can be a rotating shaft. The slip ring thus eliminates the limitations and problems of dangling wires around the devices which requires rotation which were always prone to damage. In doing this, the slip rings enable functions to be smooth and reliable, it overtakes the difficulties of rotating devices.
Despite being so important in today's industry, the slip ring though has a very basic and simple design. The working mechanism is also so simple that slip rings allow itself to be molded by addition and subtraction of its components to fit the different purpose. This has given us a whole lineup of slip rings made up of wholly different materials and components, yet retaining its purpose, which is transferring power or signals in between stationary and rotating part.
We will, therefore, proceed to know about different types of slip rings and their functions in brief.
Types of Slip rings and their functions
mercury slip rings(or mercury wetted slip rings)
The main difference between a conventional slip ring and a mercury slip ring is that the sliding contact carbon brushes of the former are replaced by a pool of mercury metal. Mercury being liquid at room temperature has its own advantages over its traditional counterpart.
1.Being a liquid at room temperature, mercury produces no noise while operation.
2.With no friction, the mercury wetted slip rings also require zero maintenance.
Through Bore(or through hole) slip rings
This special type of slip ring has a hole in the middle with an overall disc structure which allows the rotating shaft to pass through it. The advantages are as follows:
1.It can provide mechanical support to the rotating shaft.
2.The carbon brushes are replaced by a metal rings of copper or any good conductor which has more wear and tear resistance compared to the carbon brushes.
This is again a special type of slip ring and relies on almost different technology compared to any other of its type. As the name suggests, the wireless slip rings do not rely on typical friction based carbon brush for transfer of signals and power. Instead, it performs this without any contact by transferring signals or power wirelessly via a magnetic field, which is transmitted via coils placed in rotating receiver and stationary transmitter. It also comes with some exceptional advantages.
1.No contact means no noise, which makes it available for use in sensitive and harsh operational environments.
2.The absence of any contact also means absence of friction, because of which the overall maintenance and upkeep are considerably less.
These three are some of the major types of slip ring used in modern day industry, which ranges from automobiles to optical fibers. We can also decipher from the fact that it is its basic design only that has gifted us with these different types of slip rings that can be used at places which have almost zero common operational features.
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