Are We There Yet? Version 2.0

September 29, 2016

My last entry on this topic had us awaiting the arrival of the new NT5400 series Mori-Seki to our newly expanded hydraulic swivel machine shop area.

The truck arrived on a cold snowy day, 120 feet long, sporting 12 axles and a pilot car.  Local police assisted in traffic control on State Highway 3 as the driver and riggers dismantled the truck as necessary while sitting in the middle turn lane. This was required to make it possible to turn onto the two lane street that leads to our North Plant.

nt5400 1

At the more manageable length of 90 feet the rest of the unloading could be done inside the building.

nt5400 2

And once unloaded and uncrated, the NT5400 was skated into its position on the line.

nt5400 3

nt5400 4

In just a few weeks the setup alignment, accuracy checks and operator training were completed and the NT5400 was fully tooled, online and in production.

With this accomplished, the push was on to get the NT6600 moved into its new home.

nt5400 5

After a few days of teardown and prep, the riggers started plating the floor.  The sheer mass of this machine on the steel rollers of the skates would not be supported by the bare concrete.

nt5400 6

It took most of the day to make the nearly 200 feet journey across the floor, with a full 180 degree swing by the end.

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The next 6 weeks were spent setting a rough level, settling, releveling, adjusting alignment, releveling and so on until it was back into complete original factory accuracy specification.

nt5400 9

Now with both NT series Mori-Seiki machines in place and in production, the new addition looks a lot more like the destination we had in mind.  We now have ample capacity to meet the hydraulic swivel demands of our customers for the time being.

But, this is just a waypoint, we still aren’t there yet. To learn about the custom hydraulic swivel process visit our blog.

Kent Davis
Senior Engineer

Quick Ship Slip Rings

September 27, 2016

At UEA we are often asked which slip rings we carry in stock on a normal basis. Because we specialize in building custom slip rings to meet specific customer requirements with multiple bore sizes, circuit counts, ratings, enclosures, harnesses, etc., it is not feasible to stock all of them

However, we have determined that when a three or four conductor slip ring is adequate for a customer application or to test a project, it makes sense to have that available in a short time. With that in mind, we have come up with a Quick Ship Slip Rings program that quite often can fill the bill.

We currently have two of the following combinations with either no cover or a spun aluminum cover in stock.

  • One inch bore slip ring with (4) conductors rated 20 or 30 amp.
  • One and a half inch bore with (4) conductors rated 20 or 45 amp.

All are rated for 600 VAC and can be used for anything requiring 600 VAC or lower voltages. If less than (4) conductors are needed you can simply not connect the extra wires.

To simplify ordering or quoting you can visit our website at www.uea-inc.com and click on the Quick Ship link. Once you make your selections, the price will automatically fill in and the drawing will show the overall dimensions along with the height and O.D. of the assembly per your choices. UEA offers same day shipping if ordered before 12:00 pm CST.

The next time you are in a rush on a project and need a simple, low-cost slip ring to get you through your testing, remember the UEA Quick Ship is available today!

Steve Dilger
Customer Service Manager


Now Introducing Fiber Optic Options

September 21, 2016

As you may already know, UEA specializes in the transfer of electricity, fluid, and data through a rotary connection.  We have a long history providing unique and customized engineering solutions for various environments using our slip ring and hydraulic swivel technologies.  It is exciting, therefore, to announce that UEA has added a new technology to the mix: fiber optics.

In the past, UEA has typically provided data transfer via electrical connections but recently begun working with Fiber Optic Rotary Joint (FORJ) suppliers to incorporate fiber optics into our designs.  This allows customers to make use of all the advantages fiber optics has over typical bundled copper systems such as:

  • Speed: In a slip ring assembly, due to resistance and EM interference issues, data transfer is usually limited to below 50 Mbps while a typical multimode optical fiber can be expected to transmit at up to 10 Gbps.
  • Space: Because optical fiber strands are thinner than copper cabling strands, more wires can be bundled together in the same area.
  • Bandwidth: Fiber optic cables can deliver higher bandwidth. Over 100M, a multi-mode fiber cable can relay 1000MHz whereas a typical Cat 6a cable, for example, can only relay 600MHz.
  • Interference: Fiber optic signals are not affected by crosstalk from nearby cables and circuits.
  • Wear: FORJ unit requires no maintenance, does not wear in any significant way, and can be easily replaced.
  • Safety: Fiber optic cables do not spark and have high electrical resistance for use near high voltage circuits.
  • Security: Optical fiber is extremely difficult to be tapped into without authorization.

If you think that your rotary application would be improved with the addition of fiber optics, our engineering team will be happy to work with you to incorporate a FORJ unit.

For more information on data transfer in slip rings, visit our blog for additional articles.

Andrew Mills
Application Design Engineer

Onsite Visits with OEM Engineers for Hydraulic Swivel Design

September 13, 2016

Recently I had a chance to accompany our engineering design team on a company visit. We were working with OEM engineers to come up with the best way to mount our electrical slip rings and hydraulic swivel combo unit on the mobile crane equipment. We offered our hydraulic swivel expertise and proposed the simplest and robust way to retain the combo unit on the equipment to avoid a potential application issue down the road. Onsite interactions with OEM engineers at their facilities have the advantage of having the concerns addressed in a short time, reach an agreement, and thus speed up the design and development process. Interactions between UEA and OEM engineers benefit both sides and end up with win-win scenarios. As a result, we are more confident the hydraulic swivel will meet the customer’s high performance needs.

UEA has been manufacturing hydraulic swivels for several years to meet the needs of OEM applications that require high performance components.

The process for hydraulic swivel development at UEA is as follows:

  • Evaluate design specifications from OEM customers
  • Design the hydraulic swivel
  • Provide a quote
  • Provide a prototype
  • Endurance testing (if necessary)
  • Final production


From the experiences gained in the past, we realized the communications between OEM engineers and hydraulic swivel design team members are important at the designing and quoting stages to ensure the design and development process can be more efficient and UEA can better serve our customers.

In general, once the hydraulic swivel specifications (working conditions, pressure rating, transmitting media, flow rate, port type and sizes, space constraints, etc.) are provided by customers, the design team first evaluates the specification, and then starts designing the hydraulic swivel to best suit the customer’s applications. To ensure UEA swivel products provide high performance, we also need to discuss the swivel mounting and rotating methods on the OEM equipment with the engineers. Size and weight can often be reduced by designing a solution optimized for the OEM applications, making the swivel more compact. To refine the design to best fit the OEM equipment, design iterations are inevitable. To optimize the design, more detail and specific information will be required from OEM engineers, and effective communications and interactions play a key role in this regard.

When there is a need for new hydraulic swivel products, cost reduction improvements, or for performance enhancements, the UEA swivel design team members will communicate with OEM engineers to better understand your requirements and exact concerns, and address those issues accordingly and promptly to provide the best in class product to meet the OEM needs for high performance hydraulic swivels.

On a situational basis, we will send our engineering design team to work directly with OEM engineers at their facility to ensure better communication and design for their needs.

Design Engineer

Ensuring Product Quality Through Incoming Inspections

August 23, 2016

This spring, United Equipment Accessories started completing an incoming inspection on all of our supplied parts. This inspection has helped reduce supplier quality issues on the production line. Reducing supplier quality issues allows the team members to focus directly on how they are building the product, and not worry if the parts they are using are to spec and if they are going to work.

Below shows a graph of the number of supplier non-conformances we are seeing on the line compared to incoming inspection. Some non-conformances are not able to be found until the parts are machined in house – an example would be porosity in a casting.

Non-conform pic

An Incoming inspection process may include one of the following:

  • Visual Check
  • Dimensional (with up-to-date calibrated tools)
  • Documentation Review
  • Checking the Certificate of Compliance

 No matter how controlled a UEA supplier is, all of our supplier’s parts go through our incoming inspection. Finding non-conforming issues when the parts arrive allows us time to get new material in before it’s needed for production. For more information on quality at UEA, check out our blog on PPM reduction here.

Justin Wissler
Quality Technician