Hybrid crops such as corn and soybeans have been used for several decades to improve yields, quality, weather resistance, etc. Within the past decade, hybrid automobiles using various combinations of gasoline engines and electric motors have become very popular as a way to not only increase mileage, but to reduce harmful emissions. Hybrid stereo equipment, using a combination of transistors and vacuum tube technology, is claimed to improve upon the sound quality compared to each used individually. In all of these cases a hybridization of two or more varieties or technologies has been used to produce a new and improved end result.
Over the years United Equipment Accessories (UEA) has produced many different varieties of hybrid cable reels and slip ring assemblies combining different technologies in one package. Cable reels have been built with pneumatic lines included and with fiber optic swivels. Slip ring assemblies have been combined with potentiometers, encoders, pneumatic swivels, and most recently with hydraulic or other fluid swivels.
UEA electric shift controls have been used for many years for electrified transmissions including those on airport ground equipment such as tugs, luggage loaders, etc. Less than three years ago, a UEA sales representative contacted a manufacturer of airport ground support equipment to determine their possible need for cable or hose reels or possibly shift controls. This OEM was found to be using an industry standard, single-lever cable shifter but extensively modifying the control for usage on their all- electric tugs. Not only did they not require the cable for shifting a transmission but they needed to modify the mounting bracket to install additional switches for reverse alarms, etc. In this instance the customer was more than willing to look at, and test, a prototype 'hybrid' shift control from UEA but was reluctant to change the basic look, feel and mounting pattern of their original shifter. With a little design work the rotary switch, as used on many UEA electric shift controls, was adapted for use on the UEA cable shift control, which has the same overall general appearance, lever feel and mounting pattern as this customer's original units. This new design incorporates the same linkage to operate the rotary switch as used to operate a slide switch on the cable shifter control. Once prototyped and tested the customer was delighted with the operation of the control, the fact that they no longer had to buy extra switches or modify the unit to install the switches, and that appearance and mounting were so similar to what their customers were accustomed to using and for retro-fitting.
Custom products and solutions, including hybrids, are a way of life at UEA whether it is for slip rings, cable reels, or shift controls.
Senior Project Engineer