This section provides an overview for rotary connectors as well as their applications and principles. Also, please take a look at the list of 5 rotary connector manufacturers and their company rankings.
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A rotary connector is a connector that electrically connects a rotating body to a non-rotating body.
It can be used to supply electric power to a rotating body or to transmit electrical signals from a sensor on a rotating body to a control unit on a non-rotating body.
A typical rotary connector is filled with a liquid metal such as mercury or gallium alloy. Like rotary connectors, slip rings are electrically connected to a rotating element, and the point of electrical contact is made by a sliding brush.
Because rotary connectors are elements that constitute an electrical connection between rotating and non-rotating bodies, they are often used in equipment with electronic devices and sensors on rotating bodies.
Rotary connectors are especially used in machines that operate continuously or must rotate infinitely (i.e., continue to rotate in the same direction), where cable connections may break or short-circuit.
They have been used in wind power generators, various turntables, rotary indicators, machine tools, robots, and many other machines with rotating parts.
The most widely used rotary connectors today are mercury rotary connectors, which electrically connect rotating parts via mercury filled inside. The number of poles to be connected ranges from one to eight or more, and the outer diameter of the rotary connectors increases as the number of poles increases.
Unlike slip rings, the contact points do not slide, so the possibility of noise contamination is small, large currents can be applied, and no maintenance is required.
On the other hand, the use of mercury is being restricted worldwide as a metal with a large environmental impact, so its use has been limited when possible. For this reason, rotary connector manufacturers are making efforts to develop mercury-free rotary connectors, and several new types of rotary connectors have been invented.
One example of a mercury-free rotary connector is one that uses gallium alloy, a liquid metal with low environmental impact, and another that uses cylindrical contacts arranged on a circumference between a rotating and a non-rotating body that rotate like planetary gears.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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