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Designing Slip Rings with Ball Bearings

Ball bearings in slip rings are used when the RPM requirements are for higher speed applications or larger, heavier slip ring designs.

Ben Amfahr
Engineering Design Technician- Lead
February 18, 2020
slip ring with ball bearings

United Equipment Accessories (UEA) recently designed and manufactured a custom slip ring with ball bearings. Our recent slip ring design was for a 6.75” bore slip ring with 5-10 Amp., 250-volt circuits which included ball bearings integrated into the top and bottom outboards. It was a unique project because, in most applications, slip rings do not require ball bearings. This particular application required a max 150 RPM with a normal operating range of less than 100 RPM.

Ball bearings in slip rings are used when the RPM requirements are for higher speed applications or larger, heavier slip ring designs. Ball bearings provide a better surface for the rotating parts instead of standard nylatron parts rotating on brass or stainless-steel bearing rings. This particular project was for a cabling machine’s rotating take-up. The ball bearings allowed the slip ring to rotate at the higher RPM better.

You might ask, why aren’t ball bearing used in all slip ring designs if they provide a better rotating surface? It is because there is a considerable cost increase to include ball bearings in a slip ring design. However, it is the best option for higher speed applications. Ball bearings allow high RPM applications to attain higher rotation counts and longer life.

Other applications that have used ball bearings in their slip ring design include wind energy, packaging equipment, and polymer-processing equipment.

Interested in integrating a custom-designed slip ring into your next project? Contact UEA for a quote!

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