What is the function of a slip ring?

May 11, 2021 8:45 pm Published by

If you’re wondering what slip rings are and when or why you might use them, Kurz Wind has the details. Slip rings, which are also called collector rings, electric swivels, or rotary electrical joints, are devices found in some alternating current (AC) motors. Their design and function varies based on their intended use. However, they have the same two basic components, which are stationary brushes and a rotating ring. Some may also have bearings, end caps, and other components.


Applications in Alternating Current (AC) Motors

When used in AC induction motors, a slip ring is designed to create resistance in the motor’s windings. Most wound rotor AC motors have three rings that are made from copper alloy or copper. The brushes attached to the rings are made from graphite and attached to a rheostat or another resistive device. The collector rings turn consistently with the motor’s rotor, which allows their brushes to transfer resistance from the rings to the windings in the rotor. The brushes do not break contact with the rotor until the motor reaches the desired operating speed.


Types of Slip Rings

A slip ring comes in three basic forms, which are:

  • Mercury-wetted
  • Pancake
  • Wireless

Mercury-wetted rings have a stable connection and low levels of resistance. They are used in many manufacturing processes, including food processing and manufacturing and pharmaceutical equipment. Pancake rings have a flat disc design, which allows them to support greater amounts of volume and weight. Wireless rings use magnetic fields to transmit data and power. They do not have a classic brush and metal design, which makes them lighter in weight and easier to maintain than other types of collector rings.


Where are Slip Rings Used?

A slip ring can be used in numerous applications. The rings are found in motors ranging in size from small devices to larger motors that power industrial machinery and heavy-duty equipment. Collector rings are used in applications that have a platform or a rotating base. They are used in winders, index tables, automated welders, and even some roller coasters and other rides at amusement parks. Collector rings are also frequently used in wind turbines to help provide alternative energy production. They are also found in medical imaging equipment such as CT scanners and MRI machines. Some collector rings also have digital capabilities. They can record and transmit signals from smaller devices including strain gauges and temperature sensors. Slip rings can also collect and transmit information over the internet, and they can be configured to different networks.


Slip Ring vs. Commutator

Slip rings are similar to another part sometimes used in motors called a commutator. However, there are some differences between the two components in design and function. For starters, commutators are typically used in direct current (DC) motors rather than AC motors. Slip rings are continuous rings, while commutators have a segmented design. Commutators are used to reverse polarity in currents located in the motor’s armature windings.

Slip rings have a wide range of applications. If you want more information about collector rings and how they can help with your business and manufacturing operations, don’t hesitate to contact the knowledgeable staff at Kurz Wind today for more information.

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This post was written by Matt Passannante

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