Overlooked But An Important Piece of Engineering – The Slip Ring

July 20, 2022

Slip rings are tiny device that helps solve one crucial problem in devices, machines, and hardware and yet it is so tiny that it is often overlooked.

Even though it’s often overlooked, it is an important piece of modern engineering thanks to its versatility, great fit in so many industries, and a great solution to so many different needs.

And in this article, you’ll learn everything there is about slip rings, but also how they’re being used to transmit fluid and even how they’re used in real-life examples, so keep on reading!

What is a Slip Ring and What is its Function?

Slip ring is a tiny device that’s built with only a couple of components. Two most important components include a ring and brushes (or wipers) placed inside of it.

It serves as a connection between the rotary and stationary part of a device or a machine, making a secure connection while eliminating possible hazards of dangling wires.

At the same time, slip rings can transmit electrical signals, power, data, or other medium types, such as fluid, coolant, water, and others.

While initially slip rings were made to be a solution to wire winding problems in machines and devices that feature a rotary aspect.

Therefore, their function is to bridge the gap between these two parts of a device, transmit one type of medium, and provide error-free work time that fits the type of a device, industry, and the use of the device/machine.

With so many different slip rings made by companies such as Moflon, slip rings are used for medical imaging equipment, radio, aviation, wind turbines, radar equipment, and more. Moflon also produces a custom solutions for certain machines, devices, and situations where a slip ring is needed and yet a standard slip ring won’t be an ideal fit.

How Slip Ring Changes The Way We Engineer Devices and Machines

Without slip rings, anything from the simplest to the most complex devices that feature a rotary aspect to them would be left with dangling wires, hazards around the joints and a very potential problem that could cause serious downtime to the machines.

Therefore, with slip rings, a gap between the rotary and stationary part of a device is bridged, where all wires are sealed and the hazard is eliminated.

However, slip rings aren’t only used to bridge the gap or transmit the medium, yet they can also be used to control the speed of a certain device, such as wind turbine’s blades, or even add resistance to the generator for better control.

With such versatile use and ability to meet even the most complex demands, slip rings can be found in so many devices, machines, and hardware across different industries, fitting to solve all types of needs.

And even though not many people know what a slip ring is, it’s so easy to come across one even in hardware such as medical imaging equipment such as the MRI or CT scan.

Benefits of Slip Rings for Fluid Transmission

While slip rings are mostly known for transmitting electrical signal, power, and data, they can also transmit other types of medium, including various fluids, coolants, water, and more.

These types of slip rings, also known as hydraulic slip rings, also include the same main components which are a ring and brushes, but it also has a safe passage for fluid to transmit between the stationary and rotary part of a device.

The installation and the working principle is very simple, and yet there are only a couple of additional instructions in order to maintain an undisrupted flow of fluid.

The biggest benefit of hydraulic slip rings include safe passage of fluid around the joints, which would be impossible otherwise. At the top of such a reliable transfer of fluid, hydraulic slip rings can still transfer electricity through separate channels.

Therefore, one hydraulic slip ring can fulfill 3 purposes, and yet with such easy installation, low space requirement, and a few other requirements, slip rings are a very reliable solution that can fit so many different devices and machines that rely on fluid to operate.

Slip Ring Types and Real-Life Examples

Some of the most common slip ring types include:

  • Pancake ring
  • Through-hole ring
  • Fiber optic slip ring
  • Mini slip ring
  • Mercury contact ring
  • Ethernet slip ring

However, there are also so many different types and sub-types that fit certain machines, devices, industries, and purposes.

Therefore, you’ll be able to come across various variations of one slip ring type, which isn’t uncommon.

Each slip ring type provides a similar solution with a couple of changes, mostly design changes that can add more benefits to the slip ring or help it be a solution to a certain problem.

When it comes down to real-life uses, you can find slip rings in almost any type of a device, machine, or hardware that has a rotary part to it. Slip rings are the best when it comes to being a solution for rotary devices.

Therefore, some of the most common real-life examples that take advantage of slip rings include radar equipment, medical equipment, wind turbines, robots, monitoring devices, heavy machinery, and more.

You can also find slip rings in video systems, control systems, machine tools, automatic machines, capping machines, and even moving head projectors.

Since they’re becoming a standard in the industry for use in devices with rotary aspect, slip rings can be easily found in many more hardware and devices.


Engineering is all about designing, testing, and building efficient machines with the help of math and science. While these machines can do incredible things, often the smallest pieces of it are not very well known to everyone.

But if slip rings ever caught your attention, it’s safe to say that you’ll be able to learn everything you need to know about them in this article.

And with such wide use and ability to find so many needs, you’ll be able to find and come across slip rings way more often in modern engineering.

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