What to expect at this year’s Leading Reliability Conference

What to expect at this year’s Leading Reliability Conference

Feb. 1, 2024
"Anybody that's attended would probably say that they do get that sense of community at our event."

The annual Leading Reliability Conference provides participants with the opportunity to learn more about maintenance and reliability by attending live presentations, workshops, and trainings. Held this year May 14-16 in Clearwater Beach, Florida, the intimate event offers participants the opportunity to build relationships with influential professionals from across the country. Plant Services editor in chief Thomas Wilk recently spoke with the four sponsoring organizations of the conference about what to expect at this year's event. The podcast guests include:

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Great Question: A Manufacturing Podcast

PS: Jeff, RDI has done things like brought Spot the Robot to the conference and had it had it patrolling the hallways to demonstrate the new mounted camera on the Boston Dynamics robot. You've also given presentations which have made waves far beyond the conference. The one on physics a couple of years ago was a showstopper. What are some of the things that you've got planned for us this year? 

JH: One of the things that I'm really excited about, we will be showcasing some new products at the conference. I can't say a whole lot about that now, but we'll be we'll be unveiling those pretty soon. We've got we've got a really interesting speaker, a customer that's going to be speaking on using the motion amplification technology with the Patriot missile defense system and how that's used on that system to keep it reliable and up & running, so I'm really looking forward to that.

We’ll have a few workshops for the conference too. Last year we did an advanced training course for motion amplification practitioners, and this year we will be doing advanced training Part 2, where it's a different class. Those that attended advanced training last year can also attend this one and have new content, so it's a completely new class. So even if you did attend that workshop last year, you’ll be able to go and get your second level of advanced training certification. 

We also have a sort of generalized workshop that we're going to be doing for folks. We're going to be covering the basics of how people use cameras in reliability and all the various ways that you can do that. We're really focused around motion amplification, but we've expanded that capability out to do things like modal analysis or continuous monitoring, and we really want people to get a hands on approach to be able to understand the different ways that you can leverage camera technology in the reliability space. 

Then our final workshop is going to cover all of the new capabilities of motion amplification. So we'll be going over things in depth, and that's going to be another hands on workshop, so users will be able to go into the workshop and expect to be able to get their hands on the equipment and really engage at a level that's a little bit more than just sort of a presentation, and actually get some get some experience in that way.

Then finally I'm going to speak a little, I'm going to have a talk again. I've updated the physics talk, so will probably bring that one back for the conference. It's a fun talk to do. I like to do it because it's a little bit different than being a practitioner. It’s something that I think people can go and enjoy and turn off work and just sit back and learn about physics, which is a topic that's dear to my heart.

PS: I love it. The one from a few years back really fired up of everyone's brains at the conference and I do really love seeing all the wide variety of applications of the technologies that are showcased this the show from RDI to UE Systems, you go out of your way to show people how these things can be applied and used.

JH: I think that's really important with any technology, and we're a new technology, it's really important for people to go get a level deeper. With any new technology it takes a little bit of time for that to become ubiquitous technology. It's not always something that you can just pick up off the shelf and have sort of this institutional knowledge, which is what we're what we're trying to really build at this point.

PS: Shifting over to John Waldron, this is our first time meeting, so good to meet you.

JW: Good to meet you, Tom. Thanks for having me.

PS: What are some of the things that we can look for from ACOEM at this year's LR conference.

JW: It’s my first time on the podcast, but it also will be my first time going to the Leading Reliability conference. I'm really looking forward to it, it’s something that I've looked at from afar for a few years, so it's about the time I get there. 

I will also be presenting at the conference, so I'm looking forward to doing that. My background is in vibration, I've been doing this for about 12 years, and one of the things that I'm hoping to talk about is the different types of technology that you can implement in a plant. So, the difference between a portable data collection system, wireless sensors (there are many out there), and continuous systems, and taking a look at it from a machinery standpoint as opposed to what equipment is available to me to deploy. We're going to look at the equipment and how that speaks to us, and tells us what equipment we should deploy. 

What I'm most excited for is my colleague Stan Riddle, who is a seasoned veteran in the alignment realm and he is a very good presenter. He's very charismatic, and he’ll be doing a full day workshop called the Foundation of Precision and Reliability of Machinery. The approach that he talks about is kind of like building a house, right. So you're starting from the foundation and working your way up, and without a good foundation it's hard to have a reliable machine. Most end users look at reliability as doing something like a precision alignment. But if the foundation itself isn't well established – you know, you have a flat base, a level base – then it'll be very difficult to get a precision alignment. You'll be stuck with things like bolt-bound or base-bound, or just an impossible alignment job. He goes through step by step, starting from the beginning, and does a really good job of that. We're also expecting to have a couple of our end users give some good successful case studies, but more on that to come.

PS: OK, excellent, and I like how you're talking about the precision side of the industry, which is going to complement both the more predictive focused side as well as what Shon's talking about with leadership and RCM implementation. 

Maureen, I've heard the Ultraprobe defined by a couple of people at your conference and beyond as their secret weapon when it comes to getting quick wins. What can we look for from UE Systems at Leading Reliability?

MG: We have a few things up our sleeves just like everybody else. We're also doing a pre-conference work. We're doing sort of an ultrasound boot camp style workshop that day, so a whole day on all things best practices and ultrasound. It'll be a great day for people who are already customers and using our equipment, because we can take your skills to the next level but also a great introduction as well for those who aren't maybe using ultrasound or who have been wanting to get into it. We're going to have lots of hands on as well. We’ll be able to do some leak detection, we're going to listen to some bearings, so all the things with getting to play with the fun toys, and we're doing that as a pre conference workshop. 

We've got some great customers coming to present as well. Not to pick favorites but I'm excited that we've turned one of our seasoned attendees into a presenter! Bob Kempe from the Utah Department of Corrections is coming, and he has lots of great things to share about how he's been able to get his PdM program up and running through all the bureaucracy of being in a government run facility. He’s going to have lots of tips and tricks to give people who are facing those same struggles, but he also has some really fun stories to tell at cocktail hour. He’s a great person to look forward to hearing from and we're excited to have him presenting as well. 

We're also going to have presentation talking about our new OnTrak wireless, our total bearing health system that we've just launched, our wireless sensor with our continuous precision lubrication system. We're excited about that and we're hoping to actually have some customers who have been using that as in our testing phase to come and present as well. 

So lots of good things to hear from UE Systems and of course all of us will be there exhibiting as well. So even we're not presenting about all the ways that we hope we can help people that are there, we're all available during the breaks and things like that to showcase our technologies or showcase our training and consulting and all the good things that all of us bring to the table. It should be a good week.

PS: I think that's one of my favorite parts of the conference is we are all in the same general comfortable space. So people listening to this, if you want to seek out John, Maureen, Shon or Jeff, they're going to be right there with you the whole couple of days. This isn't an overwhelming large conference space. This is a focused, targeted area for reliability professionals who want to learn the latest technologies. So, like it or not, you're going to get to meet Shon and Maureen, and Jeff and John and others too!

SI: Like it or not, Tom. Like it or not!

MG: They'll also get to meet you, Tom, like it or not!!

PS: I know, like it or not I'm going to be there in your face too! Also the setting is really important, you found a wonderful place, it's the Hilton Clearwater Beach, and the closing event is the beach BBQ. Access to the beach is there for people just to like steal away with a colleague or two, and just talk shop in a very relaxed setting where you don't have alarms blaring on the side of your head. You don't have the machine right in front of you. It's a place which really does reward that sort of contemplative, relaxed information exchange between people.

MG: For sure it is a gorgeous location and we've got a full agenda, but we also do build in some times where you get a little break to go get your feet in the sand, and do that post-conference thinking and then come back for the networking and all that good stuff. It is a great place to be, especially in May, and especially as we look at now at snow out the window.

PS: Right, I'm calling from Chicago today and it's an ice puddle out there, so the beaches are calling in May. Two more quick things I wanted to check with you on. First is the keynote this year, Admiral Robert Burke, who's also the senior VP for the Center for Human Capital Innovation. I've seen keynotes and maintenance and reliability before from people from the armed forces, especially Navy, and I'm excited about this because when it comes to reliability there's not much more you've got to put faith in than when you're in a submarine or a naval craft and you're out in the water, and the only thing you've got to rely on is the asset to protect you and your safety. This is an interesting change from previous years, when it was fun to talk to people from Disney about reliability on rides and in parks, but this has an added dimension of military safety to it and security.

MG: Yeah, and he's also going to be kind of focused too on the labor shortage and the aging workforce and all of those things. In our discussions, he said, “I'll put my abstract together, and these are kind of the things that I think we would want to talk about” but he also wants to keep himself open to – depending on what may happen even in the next couple of short months, you know – being able to pivot and talk about something that's might be relevant in May that might not be relevant today. He’s a seasoned professional obviously, and he's going to also have some great speaking skills to come to us and kick things off as our keynote. It's going to be great.

PS: Excellent. The last point I want direct to Shon .We were talking earlier this month, Shon, that this is Eruditio's 10th anniversary year, their 10th birthday, I believe it's right around the time of the conference.

SI: That's right, it is, it'll be right before the conference so we're super excited about that. It's 10 years of us being able to partner with our clients, and we're going to celebrate that in a couple different ways this year as we go. The very first thing we're going to do is at Marcon coming up here shortly, and Tom I'm assuming we'll see you there, then we also will continue it on through the rest of the year. We will be offering some very unique and special pricing on some of our IBL Blended Learning products and a few things in honor of that 10 years, so we'll be talking about those at the conference.

PS: I may bring some cupcakes and party hats too.

SI: Sounds great!

PS: Well, I can't wait for this again. This is the Leading Reliability conference. You can go to www.leadingreliability.com to get access to information about the agenda, and also to register and I'll put that link in the in the notes area of this podcast. 

Until May, then – Shon, Jeff, John. Maureen, it's been great talking with you about the conference.

MG: Thanks, Tom, and we'll see everybody in Clearwater.

About the Author

Thomas Wilk | editor in chief

Thomas Wilk joined Plant Services as editor in chief in 2014. Previously, Wilk was content strategist / mobile media manager at Panduit. Prior to Panduit, Tom was lead editor for Battelle Memorial Institute's Environmental Restoration team, and taught business and technical writing at Ohio State University for eight years. Tom holds a BA from the University of Illinois and an MA from Ohio State University

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