Slip Ring Maintenance

Slip Ring Maintenance

The maintenance requirements of slip rings are highly dependent upon application, especially the frequency of rotations and physical environment. For example, a crane only needs to turn occasionally, even when it’s in operation. The entire crane may therefore reach the end of its service life before slip rings require their much scheduled maintenance.

wind turbine slip ring maintenance

Slip rings used in cranes typically operate under high contact pressure, which allows them to be largely self-cleaning. The most common cause of failure for crane slip rings is prolonged inactivity, since a lengthy period of time when the slip ring isn’t rotating can allow the brass rings to corrode. These slip rings are simply repaired when a failure occurs, which usually requires the repair technician to just clean the slip ring with electrical cleaner and rotate it.

At the other extreme, slip rings in wind turbines turn almost continuously and may log 10 million rotations per year. These slip rings require regular preventative maintenance to keep them functioning, which usually occurs at least once per year. Cleaning these slip rings generally involves removing dust from their internal components, usually with a combination of compressed air, vacuum and a brush. This process can typically be completed in a matter of minutes minutes, but if not on a recommended schedule could cause operations to fail.

Slip rings used in applications requiring continuously rotations have a number of design features to increase their lifespan. For example, brushes that don’t require external lubrication because they’re made of graphite, which is self-lubricating. Or power and data rings separated by a metal plate to prevent the power rings from accumulating dust on the data rings.

Slip Ring Maintenance Schedule

Manufacturers typically recommend regular maintenance on slip rings, including tests and repairs about once per year. Regular maintenance is needed to maximize the time between complete replacements of the unit in most types of slip ring. This process is economical in the long-term due to the complete loss of revenue that occurs when a slip ring fails in some applications, especially energy and mining.

An exact maintenance schedule for slip rings will vary on the nature of the equipment and the demanding operating conditions in which they need to perform. With routine inspection and maintenance many slip rings can last five, eight years, even 15 years without needing to be replaced.

Slip Ring Configurations

New advancements in today’s slip rings, such as modular designs, allow technicians to easily replace a failed component much easier than they could in the past.  This fundamental improvement distinguishes modern slip rings with older models, which typically require the entire unit to be replaced when a single component fails.

Other  improvements include the use of ring alloys and brush materials with the optimum characteristics for a particular application greatly extending the life expectancy of slip rings, since technicians no longer need to replace the entire unit when a single component fails.

As accessibility of the slip ring and assembly is a very important installation consideration, today’s slip rings can also be smaller, providing more room in confined spaces. Designs that allow technicians to access power and signal contacts without disassembling the entire slip ring are also beneficial, since complete disassembly is a time-consuming task that would otherwise be performed each time the slip ring requires service.

Improve The Life Of Slip Rings

Getting the right slip ring for the job is critical to keeping your equipment up and running.  BGB Technology provides slip rings that can be manufactured to almost any standard for industries including crane and construction, wind, medical, amusement park rides, pallet wrappers and much more. 

Get in touch for more information about our products and capabilities. 

pneumatic slip ring

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