Robotics / HRC

Space-saving, reliability and flexibility are particularly important in robotics and especially in human-robot collaboration (HRC). Slip rings often have to transmit several signal types and media in addition to the typical power or current transmission.

Our products for robots & HRC

The world of manufacturing and factory automation has developed rapidly in recent decades, there is no doubt about that. Big terms like Industry 4.0 have been on everyone’s lips for years. But in the end, great developments are always based on the smallest components and parts. A large part of automated processes are robots, in particular so-called “robots”. “Cobots” (collaborative robots) that work in close proximity to humans. This is also referred to as human-robot collaboration (MRK). And some of the smallest components of these robots are Slip rings and Enabling switch. In robotics, they have to fulfil very special requirements in terms of safety, robustness and flexibility. Our range of handling and control technology also includes other components such as Main switch and Gearbox limit switch.

Enabling Switches

Man and machine are moving ever closer together. Not only in the private sector, but also in industry. While robots and employees in production used to be separated from each other by protective devices such as safety light curtains and safety fences, robots and employees are now separated from each other by safety barriers. Collaborative robots have been on the rise for several years now. And not only in large corporations, but also increasingly in SMEs. In the classic protection areas in which the fully automated robots used to work, manual intervention was necessary.Operation only with the aid of a Enabling switch possible. And this was mainly used during maintenance or installation work when manual operation was temporarily necessary and a person occasionally had to enter the protected area. Things are different with collaborative robots. Employees and robots work here as part of the Human-robot collaboration (HRC) permanently in close proximity to each other, without being physically separated by protective devices. This offers many opportunities if the safety risks are reduced with appropriate technology for collision avoidance or force and power limitation. This is because HRC closes the so-called “automation gap”. It was created by the classic protective grids between manual processing and fully automated processing by robots. Robotic devices only become a real co-worker through HRC. cobots and human assistants, which makes their work easier and processes more efficient.


The 3-stage enabling switch from B-COMMAND are characterised by the following Advantages:

  • Exemplary ergonomics
  • Low weight
  • Light, stable pressure point
  • 2 working circuits (Redundancy)
  • Auxiliary contacts for monitor functions
  • Difficult to manipulate
  • Actuating force from position 2 (on) to position 3 (off – if pressed too hard) is identical for centric and eccentric pressure

Our Enable enabling switch also:

  • Working safely in hazardous areas
  • The monitoring of processes when guards (e.g. safety doors) are open or deactivated. This is important, for example, for process changes or new installations
  • The protection of the operator and persons working in the danger zone against overreactions during machine control
  • Convenient operation thanks to ergonomically shaped housing

When are enabling switches necessary?

The opinion that 3-stage enabling switch in the HRC are not absolutely necessary and legally prescribed is becoming more and more widespread. But that is not correct. There are also many legal details to consider here, so that in case of doubt it is generally safer to also use a consent button in robotics. And not only when a protected area must be entered by people for maintenance or installation work, but also when generally No separating protective device exists (Safety fence, door sensors for access to the protected area, etc.). It is not possible to give a general “yes” or “no” answer to the question of when an enabling switch is necessary. And the ISO does not currently provide a clear answer to this question. In in our guide to the topic, we therefore look at various non-collaborating and collaborating application examples for robots and the question of the necessity of the consent button in each example.

Slip Rings

For slip rings in HRC or for industrial robots, it is particularly important that they are flexible with regard to the media and signals to be fed through. In addition to the pure transmission of power and electricity Hybrid slip rings also responsible for this, Control signals, Video signals or Various fluids (hydraulics) or compressed air (pneumatics) between rotating and stationary components of a robot, or to enable this in combination with rotary feedthroughs. Whether KOAX, HD-SDI, USB, Fieldbus (e.g. 100 BaseT, Interbus, Profibus, Canbus and Powerlink) or Industrial Ethernet – Slip rings for combined signal transmission, data transmission and power transmission must be flexible. It is also important that they are space-saving, durable and low-maintenance so that ongoing operation has to be interrupted as rarely as possible. In our range you will find a wide variety of solutions that fulfil even the most individual requirements for dynamic factory automation. The improved connectivity can significantly reduce downtimes, as the combined power, data and signal transmission enables the Remote access to the machines and thus at the same time Constant monitoring (Operating temperature, position data, speed, oil or hydraulic fluid levels, error messages, etc.). In addition, remote access also allows many Control processes via the cloud, which is why the interference-free transmission of image signals (HD-SDI), sensor technology and other data over long distances is becoming increasingly important. Among other things, hybrid KOAX-Slip rings (also COAX) for use.

B-COMMAND Hohlwellen Schleifringe

Pancake slip rings

Disc slip rings, also Pancake-Slip rings are rotary transformers with particularly low structure. One advantage that they therefore offer, similar to hybrid slip rings with four or more pneumatic channels, is the ease with which the respective production system can be expanded at a later date. In contrast to hollow shaft slip rings, for example, the number of contacts on a single disc slip ring is very limited, but their low height allows many pancake slip rings to be connected in series. This makes it child’s play to use several slip rings to Hundreds of contacts on a single rotating shaft accommodate. You are Very space-saving along the longitudinal axis and therefore ideal for applications where the installation space is limited along the longitudinal axis but not critical transverse to the shaft. However, these are more for Low rotation speeds of up to max. 300 rpm while other slip rings can easily achieve 1000 revolutions and more per minute. They are therefore unsuitable for fast rotating shafts, which are used for assembly work such as air or pressure screws. They demonstrate their advantages in positioning and control technology. They are primarily installed on multiple switches. There they activate other slip ring contacts in different switching states. As the actuating pins of these switches are only very short (longitudinal axis), but there is usually plenty of space behind the housing, disc slip rings are perfect here. They are also suitable for slow-running servomotors that also need to rotate in reverse.

Disc slip rings for gripper systems

The compact design of just a few millimetres in the axial direction also makes them the perfect slip ring for Gripper systems at the end of a robot arm. Here they can transmit load, signals and data without restricting the continuous rotary movement of the electrically controlled gripper. This is exactly what would happen if you were to use cables instead of disc slip rings, as these do not have any Continuous 360° rotations and even the swivelling operation of cables leads to very high mechanical loads. Only with the help of pancake slip rings can robot arms perform their well-known flexible movement. Lightness and speed. The important dynamics of a robotic arm with a gripper are essentially determined by its movement capability, as well as its Low weightt and its Shortest possible overall length determined. Disc slip rings, which only have an installation height of a few millimetres in the direction of the longitudinal axis and have a very low dead weight, are the ideal choice for transferring loads, data and signals. This is because the shorter the robot arm, the faster it can move. Interference-free transmission is also important for high system availability. This is ensured by the numerous contacts (brushes) per transmission path, each of which has its own micro-springs. This redundancy ensures interference-free transmission of control signals, power and data in an electric gripper system. The many contact points also enable a very low contact pressure – necessary for interference-free transmission – which makes the pancake slip rings virtually maintenance-free and very durable. If disc slip rings are combined with a rotary encoder, the transmission of position data is also possible. Pancake slip rings are available from our subsidiary rotarX.


KOAX slip rings

KOAX-Slip rings are used for the continuous transmission of high-frequency and high-speed signals and can be equipped with up to 72 standard electrical cables. Due to the low electrical noise, they are ideal for transmitting high data rates in robotics. Because with a KOAX-Cables the current-carrying or signalling tracks lie within each other instead of in a bundled line. So you have a concentric cross-section, who also coaxial is called (Two cable axes are installed one inside the other). The outer axis consists of a stainless steel or copper braid, which makes the cable very flexible, while the inner centre conductor is a monolithic copper cable. In between lies a Dielectric as an insulating protective layert. The special design makes the KOAX cable the perfect solution for signal transmission, as it has good self-shielding properties. This insensitivity to interference signals enables the reliable transmission of data over long distances. It is not for nothing that most households have at least one KOAX cable in their own four walls, namely the connection cable between the satellite system and the television. The same properties make it indispensable in industry for automation and data transmission – mostly between interfaces of radio receivers and transmitters or between the sensor or actuator that is to be moved by wireless control signal. This often makes additional rotating unions necessary. And to ensure that these do not reduce the transmission capability of the KOAX cable, combined hybrid KOAX slip rings are used.

Hollow shaft slip rings

Slip rings with hollow shaft offer – thanks to their free inner diameter – the possibility of passing through cables or ropes that should not be affected by the rotation. Hollow shafts are used in hydraulics, pneumatics and for media feed-through, where gas or a liquid flows through them. Special couplings are used in the industry to ensure that these can be rotated so that the Continuous rotation around 360° becomes possible (e.g. for robot arms with gripper system), without the risk of leakage. Our hollow shaft slip rings complement this kinetic profile perfectly. They are also very robust and suitable for significantly higher Rotational speeds of up to 1,200 rpm suitable (unlike the Pancake or KOAX slip rings, for example). Typical applications for hollow shaft slip rings are as follows: Rotary switches, servomotors, control valves or wheel hub motors.

Typical robot applications for slip rings:

  • Pick and place robots for waver production
  • waterproof small robots for machine tools
  • Cleanroom robots for the food and pharmaceutical industries
  • Palletising robots for various handling tasks
  • Lightweight robots for human-machine cooperation
  • Industrial robots for automotive production, welding robots
  • medical robots for operating theatre technology
  • Inspection robots for pipelines and pipes

Advantages of B-COMMAND slip rings for robots:

  • Modular design and flexible adaptation to different robot types and manufacturing processes
  • Compact dimensions and low installation height
  • Hybrid slip rings for the combined transmission of power, signals and data, as well as for media
  • Service life of up to 100 million revolutions
  • High data rates in bus networks
  • Operating temperature from -40°C to 80°C
  • simple installation

Main Switch

Main switches are elementary Switching and protective devices for safe machine control and are also used for personal protection. For example, they can be used as Repair switch can be used to create large Switch off machines and systems quickly, so that you can safely Maintenance work. Or you can use the emergency stop function to protect equipment and operating personnel in hazardous situations and against overcurrent, faulty switching and electric shocks. At the same time, they are also autonomous, safe and gentle control of machines used, or just for simple manual Switching on and off.


B-COMMAND Product Overview

In the B-COMMAND product overview you will quickly and easily find a solution for your application area. From pendant switches to radio remote control, everything is shown in our product overview to give you a quick overview of our product range.


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