At the end of 2013, the first media joint made by SPINNER was delivered. This milestone is a very important step for SPINNER regarding its development from supplier of high frequency (RF), optic and non-contacting signal transmitters to a system provider for rotary joints.

The list of available transmission technologies as

  • RF contacting and non-contacting
  • up to 20 optical channels in single mode and multi-mode design
  • non-contacting data channels (Ethernet and CAN bus)
  • non-contacting power transmission of up to 25W

will be completed by a further technology

  • media channels (dry air and/or cooling media)

The media joint was designed for a customer project, in which a phased array antenna is used. The media module became necessary, since the RF performance is to be generated directly on the antenna for this radar system. In order to cool the electronic components, it is necessary to supply the antenna with the corresponding coolant.

The elements for the different transmission channels such as the three modules of non-contacting Ethernet transmission, cooling water and air are clearly identifiable. In addition to this, there is a six-channel fibre-optic multi-mode rotary joint as well as a 14-bit encoder system inside the hybrid system.

The media module installed in this project consists of a channel for dry air and two channels for cooling water including two channels for the recirculation of the leakage. The essential technical data are summarised in the following table:

The technical data have been chosen in such a way that they meet the customer requirements for a large number of applications. The module was thoroughly tested in SPINNER’s test facility and all data stated could be proven in the tests.

When developing the media module, care was taken that it could also be used in a wide range of other joints. The mechanical flanges allow for virtually any integration into any hybrid joint. In addition to this module, a second module is currently being developed, that has an identical technical design, but allows a considerably higher flow rate for cooling water. With these two modules, SPINNER regards itself as well prepared to implement further projects with media feed-throughs.

It should also be noted that, despite the increased development effort for such a complex rotary joint (with many new components and the working out of the transmission technology for media joints), the development period remained within the specified time frame of less than six months and two prototypes could be delivered in a timely manner.