Roll-Rings were invented by Pete Jacobson as a substitute for slip-rings to solve friction-related, three-axis drift problems in Directional and Attitude gyroscopes. Existing slip rings produced relatively high drag torques and associated drift precession resulting in undesirable heading, pitch and roll errors of the aircraft. Fighter jets like the F-14 switched off navigation aids after take-off to reduce detection and thus relied on inertial navigation using gyro platforms to provide accurate direction and attitude information for navigation. Drift error from slip-rings could put a jet fighter considerably off course. Roll-Rings tested in conventional attitude gyros delivered a 99% reduction of drag torque as compared to existing slip-rings.
This success led to Pete's team developing Roll-Ring Power Transfer Modules for the International Space Station to provide electrical power and signal rotary transfer in the vacuum environment between the solar and radiator panels and the Command Module. NASA selected Roll-Rings over slip rings, Rotary Transformers and other technologies as a safe transfer means against the possibility of arcing and destructive plasmas at the rotary interfaces. The Roll-Ring rolling interfaces with relatively high contact pressures ensure that arcing would never be a problem. The Roll-Ring Transfer Modules remain as functioning components of the ISS today, ten years since activation.
In 2001, Diamond Antenna and Microwave acquired Diamond-Roltran to support the development and integration of Roll-Rings specifically into Air Traffic Control (ATC) microwave rotary joints. Today Nineteen countries around the globe rely on ATC Roll-Rings for uninterrupted operation. All units fielded to date are still in service and none have required any maintenance of any kind. As Roll-Rings continued to attract new opportunities, Diamond Antenna and Microwave spun off the Roll-Ring business in 2007 into a new company called Diamond-Roltran. Pete Jacobson continues to make valuable contributions to the business as a technology consultant.
Today Diamond Roll-Rings® are found in an ever-widening assortment of mission-critical performance applications including gun turrets, missile systems, satellite tracking systems, rotorcraft, and military radar systems. The company is currently working on high current transfer devices for the wind industry, 2,400 Amps at 1,800 rpm with 5-year maintenance intervals.
Roll-Ring technology development, product engineering, procurement, assembly, test and quality are all done under one roof in Littleton, Massachusetts. Roll-Rings benefit from 100% USA sourced parts and services with +90% coming from New England suppliers. This unique supplier base enables the design and production of custom Roll-Ring devices in as little as 6 weeks from order.
We look forward to working with you to deliver mission-critical performance for your rotary power, signal and data transfer applications.