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Agriculture

Custom Slip Ring for Outdoor Environment

challenge

Bugs and condensation may be tiny, but they were causing big headaches for Reinke, a manufacturer of center pivot irrigation systems. The two pint-size problems were infiltrating the systems’ slip rings, causing damage to system. Reinke’s original slip ring design consisted of a steel cover that did not hold up well in wet environment.

Reinke’s slip ring mounts at the pivot point in the center of the irrigation system and facilitates the transfer of power to motors that drive the equipment. The irrigation system, in turn, rotates in a continuous 360-degree pattern. This maximizes the area that can be irrigated.

When condensation would enter the slip ring assembly, it would corrode the cover and allow bugs to get in. Together the pesky problems broke the electrical continuity. Reinke turned to UEA to design a custom slip ring that would stand up to the environmental conditions for this specific application.

Solution

Reinke turned to UEA to develop a custom solution for their irrigation systems. To solve issues with the slip ring cover, UEA engineers decided to switch the slip ring cover to aluminum instead of steel.  Aluminum has a higher corrosion resistance and won’t rust which gives it a longer life span.

The cover of the collector reel was also domed to direct any condensation to the sides and down instead of dripping onto the electric contacts.

Reinke also saw a benefit in the UEA brush design, which has higher brush pressure than other slip ring suppliers and cleans the rings of debris during rotation. UEA also utilizes dual brushes, which allows a more balanced flow of electricity through the contacted rings. In case a brush fails or has a bad spot, it has a backup.

UEA also added greaseable bearing on the bottom of the assembly, which allows for longer life expectancy from the rings.

Reinke has partnered with UEA since 1982.

"That relationship won’t be ending anytime soon. Some competitors’ stuff will rust out, and the lids of some competitors aren’t as robust as these are. Simply put, UEA makes a better collector reel."

Travis Miller

Dealer Development Manager

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