Irrigation Case Study

Posted on Tuesday, October 25, 2016 in Case Studies


By: Brent Jensen, Senior Project Engineer

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’ collector reels, which at the time were made of steel.

Center Pivot Irrigation System

A collector reel 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, is allowed to rotate  in a continuous 360-degree pattern.. This maximizes the area that can be irrigated.

According to Travis Miller, Dealer Development Manager at Reinke, condensation would corrode the collector reels and allow bugs to get in. Together the pesky problems broke the electrical continuity.

The solution was another metal. Reinke turned to UEA, a company that manufacturers slip rings, another industry name for collector reels.

UEA collector reels have an anodized, all-aluminum, enclosure.

“The aluminum won’t rust,” said Miller. “It has good corrosion resistance, which gives them a longer life span.”

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

Another benefit, he said, is UEA collector reels have higher brush pressure than competitors, which cleans the rings of debris during rotation.

In addition, they have 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 backs it up. Some competitive brands don’t have that option.

“They also have a greaseable bearing on the bottom side, which allows for longer life expectancy from the rings,” said Miller.

Reinke has partnered with UEA since 1982, according to Daniel Hanawalt, Business Development Manager at UEA.

Irrigation Slip Ring“We enjoy attending the Reinke dealer conventions and having the chance to speak with end users about our product,” said Hanawalt. “It’s always great to get feedback and listen to suggestions about how a product might be improved. More than once Reinke dealers have told us they replace other slip rings on non-Reinke systems with ours.”

That relationship won’t be ending anytime soon, according to Miller, whose focus is to give customers the best equipment, parts and service.

“Some competitors’ stuff will rust out,” said Miller, “and the lids of some competitors aren’t as robust as these are. Simply put, UEA makes a better collector reel.”