Recently, UEA had the opportunity to work with a company that designs some of the world’s largest flagpoles. The first thing that came to mind was, “Why do they need a slip ring on a flagpole?” At 400′ tall this was not your typical flagpole.
A UEA slip ring came into play as this company needed a way to supply power to electronics and aircraft warning lights at the top of the pole. The slip ring assembly is located in the rotating truck assembly at the top of the flagpole shown in the photos. The purpose of the rotation is to allow the flag to rotate with the wind direction without wrapping around the pole, and at the same time allow electricity to pass through this rotating joint.
There were a couple of challenges with this project as size was a consideration. First, they needed to maintain a large shaft to support the weight of the rotating truck assembly, which in turn necessitates the slip ring to grow in size. At the same time, the overall diameter of the slip ring had to fit within their already designed enclosure. They also needed something that was going to be virtually maintenance free, because at 400′ it would be difficult to find volunteers to work on the slip ring. Low RPM applications like this flagpole can be difficult because without constant turning, the rings will tend to oxidize and/or corrode. Without any added lubricant, UEA’s solid brush design and high spring pressures allow the brushes to clean the rings when it does rotate.
A flagpole slip ring was definitely a first for UEA. It seems like just when we thought we have seen every application for a slip ring, something new pops up. It is always interesting to work on these applications and I hope to get the chance to work on more unique applications in the future.