How Slip Rings Are Used in Wind Generators

How Slip Rings Are Used in Wind Generators

Rotating wind turbines utilize specially constructed electric generators.  When these generators are rotating they slip rings for wind turbinesstill need to transfer the power generated from the cabling down the tower and to our homes and businesses.

To accommodate this wind turbine manufacturers utilize generator slip rings to handle this power transfer task. Rotating in excess of 1800 RPM the generator slip ring must reliably handle the transfer while also being subjected to the harsh and varied temperatures, and severe vibration conditions the wind turbine is subjected to on a regular basis.  If the slip ring fails, the generator can’t work properly.

How Are Generator Slip Rings Constructed?

Today’s generator slip rings are constructed  of materials such as stainless steel, brass or bronze  – these sturdy materials that are slow to, or will not, be subject to corrosion and oxidation.  The rings are then mated with “brush contact” systems comprised of various types of carbon and /or metal graphite brushes. These brushes, being the sacrificial element of the system, are supported by a series of brush holders which are designed to present the proper amount of spring pressure to the brushes to maximize their wear properties.

How Are Generator Slip Ring Systems Maintained?

Given the simplicity of these systems they are easy to maintain.  The biggest tasks are:

  • To keep the system clear of the debris produced by the brushes to prevent arcing
  • Monitoring the wear produced on the brushes
  • Ensure they are replaced at intervals to maximize their performance.

In some generator systems there are air flow systems included to assist in both the cooling and debris management for the slip rings.

With proper maintenance and brush selection, these critical systems should operate reliably for long periods of time providing homes and businesses with the power from wind energy.

Read more about how BGB Technology plays a role in the wind industry.


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