Power & Communication in One Slip Ring Assembly

As a slip ring design engineer, a common question that I receive is whether we can provide a slip ring that can handle both power and communications. The answer is yes.
Jesse Shearer
Slip Ring Engineering Supervisor

As a slip ring design engineer, a common question that I receive is whether we can provide a slip ring that can handle both power and communications. The answer is yes. However, there are a few precautions and design details that we consider when doing this. The ability to tailor the product to the customer’s needs sets United Equipment Accessories (UEA) apart from its competition.

When designing a slip ring with both power and communications, we try to design the slip ring with two separate cores. This isn’t always possible, but we can keep the communication (such as Ethernet) spaced away from the power or higher voltage circuits within the assembly by separating the cores. The pictures show two separate cores, but these cores are within the same slip ring assembly.

communications power slip ring

Another option to keep the cores and brushes separated is by using a divider or separator plate.  This is done differently depending on the size of the slip ring. The divider puts a non-conductive barrier between the power and communication sections to help isolate each area.

communication power slip ring

A third option is to separate the communication slip ring section inside a larger slip ring enclosure. In large bore and high-power assemblies, this allows the communications to run through a smaller bore slip ring and seal it off from the rest of the assembly.

separate slip ring sections

When providing communications such as Ethernet in a slip ring with power, we also recommend shielded cables. Attaching shielded cables at the core and brushes protects the signal and data quality because the communication cables tend to be routed next to the high-power wires. When able, we route the communication and power cables through separate paths. One example that can be implemented in some designs is to route the communication cables inside the mounting tube while the power remains on the outside. This is not always an option, but we do take advantage of it when it’s possible.

Being a custom slip ring manufacturer allows UEA to create designs like slip rings with both power and communication built to the customer’s specification. This is an advantage that UEA has over some of the larger manufacturers. Whether you need one slip ring or 100 slip rings, we can manufacture to your needs.

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