More Than Skin-Deep Beauty

Posted on Tuesday, January 5, 2016 in UEA Blog


There is an old, old saying concerning the supposition that 'beauty is only skin deep'.  While this may or may not be true when discussing a component such as an electrical slip ring, the UEA philosophy has always been to design and build slip rings from the inside out with the ideas that the functionality and need to meet or exceed customer expectations are the highest priority.

At first, introduction to a slip ring assembly can appear to be a rather complex and intimidating piece of electrical equipment, especially with an assembly of 30 or more circuits that are prewired with brush and center leads or harnesses.   When actually broken down to single circuits, it is a very simple design and concept with a pair of conductive brush contacts, at least on UEA assemblies, positioned to maintain position on a single conductive ring.  One of the elements, ring or brush contacts, rotates while the other is held stationary.  In most slow speed applications it is not important whether the ring or brush is the rotating portion.  Throughout the slip ring industry, a wide variety of brush styles have been tried and used successfully for different applications and some are more elaborate and intricate than others. But all have the same intent of providing a reliable contact between the static and dynamic portions of the equipment.

UEA slip ring assemblies were originally designed for the tough and dirty construction equipment market and, as such, have earned a reputation over the past fifty plus years as some of the most reliable components on many mobile cranes, utility trucks, etc. in the U.S. and other parts of the now international market.  The use of at least two contact points on every circuit, along with a high contact pressure, provides a very reliable contact in a wide range of rugged environments.  An unintended result of the original design, other than the very good cleaning action, is the very low contact resistance.   This low resistance, along with some improved materials for both brush contacts and ring materials, allows this same simple style of brushes to be used successfully with very low level communication and bus systems such as Ethernet, DeviceNet, and CANbus.

Sometimes the beauty of a design is in its simplicity.  If inner beauty is more important to you than a fancy package, then the proven long-term reliability of UEA slip ring assemblies is the logical choice for your next slip ring project.

Brent Jensen
Engineering Manager

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