Through my years at United Equipment Accessories (UEA), I have worn a variety of hats. I started as a product design engineer, covering research and development. I eventually added IT as UEA began to move more into the digital age, and I finally migrated towards manufacturing engineering and am now the senior plant engineer.
Throughout my variety of positions, I have always been involved in nearly every aspect of the operations here in Waverly, Iowa. This includes traveling to customer sites either to investigate ways to improve our product or provide support in the application of the products.
While I don’t visit customers often in my current position, I recently filled in for a coworker on a customer visit to check up on sample parts of a new design that were in-field testing.
When UEA makes changes to the product, it goes through extensive testing in our onsite lab. After the product has passed testing, the sample product is then sent to multiple customer sites for further field testing to ensure that it performs up to the full expectations while in the field. This particular customer visit included checking on several slip rings that were being field-tested in the wind turbines.
UEA produces slip ring assemblies that mount to the rear of the main turbine shaft to pass power and signals from the ground control computer to the nose cone of the rotor. The power allows three rotation gear motors to operate the pitch control of each blade. In this application, the slip ring assembly experiences extensive operation, possibly 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for extended periods and is critical for safe operation.
Checking on the UEA Slip Ring:
The wind speed was at the maximum allowed for climbing the tower. The tool bag is moving with the wind. That is how much the tower moves in high winds; it feels similar to being in a boat taking on large waves.
In summary, we identified that the samples were performing as expected and as expected by the customer.
United Equipment Accessories has always prided itself as a company that maintains a culture of close customer support relationships. This is why UEA continues to produce the best products available for the industry.