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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2002, MCB UP Limited
Military and offshore technologies provide slip ring solutions for industrial vision systems
Military and offshore technologies provide slip ring solutions for industrial vision systemsKeywords: Fibre optics, Vision
Until recently, slip rings for industrial applications were relatively simple devices to allow electrical connections to be made across rotating interfaces and carry simple analogue signals and moderate power requirements.
Whilst these applications still exist, the requirements for data transmission speed and signal integrity in more complex applications, like the vision systems used to guide robotic arms or other automated production machinery, mean that slip rings now have to deal with signal levels and protocols that would previously have been required only for the military market place (see Plate 3).
Slip rings have long been used in diverse applications such as film cameras, CCTV security cameras and heated rollers for packaging machines. But it is in sectors such as imaging systems, robotics, materials handling, video surveillance systems and communication links that recent advances mean the challenges to slip ring manufacturers are greatest.
These modern industrial applications can now require the transfer of data between rotating and stationary platforms at speeds of up to 1Gbit per second.
Plate 3 IDM's rotary transmission line system
The response, recently introduced to the European market by IDM, is the Velocity™ line of high-speed digital data links. Developed in the USA, the Velocity is based on controlled impedance transmission line technology.
This patent protected, rotary transmission line system can accommodate most high-speed digital data requirements by providing a passive, protocol independent rotary interface capable of continuous, bi-directional rotational speeds of up to 500rpm.
The new Velocity high speed data link complements the existing radio frequency (RF) data link solutions that have no sliding contacts and are capable of transmitting high speed digital data signals at up to 350Mbits per second.
New fibre optic product lines, originally developed in Canada for the offshore petroleum, oceanographic, seismic and maritime defence industries, are also now available to the European aerospace, medical, security and general industrial sectors from IDM.
Standard products allow up to nine independent fibres through one rotary joint. Products are available for single-mode and for multi-mode fibre applications. These are supplemented by a multiplexer product line that allows the combination of multiple electrical and/or fibre optic signals into a single fibre optic cable.
As new technologies come along, and existing applications continue to demand increased performance, increasing pressure will inevitably be placed on slip rings to keep pace. By constantly refining and developing existing slip ring design, and applying new techniques from other industries, IDM claims to ensure that the rotating interface will never become a barrier to progress.
For further information, please contact: Warren North, IDM Electronics Ltd, 30 Suttons Park Avenue, Sullons Business Park, Reading, Berkshire RG6 lAW, UK. Tel: 01189666044; Fax: 01189666524; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org