Sound strategies shared at UltraSound World V


By Joel Leonard, Contributing Editor

Feb 16, 2009

At a time when almost every country, state, city and company is looking for ways to trim costs, it was refreshing to learn about the real savings made by companies that sent attendees to the UltraSound World V Conference held Jan. 18-21 in Clearwater, Fla.

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For example, five minutes after taking their recent $14,000 ultrasound instrument investment out of the box, Dean Wolever, engineering technician at Herman Miller Inc., discovered and plugged an argon gas leak that will reduce costs more than $130,000 during the next year. The crowd chuckled when he described how the second-shift maintenance technician reported that something had to be wrong with the machine because they didn’t have to replace the argon gas tanks as often as in the past. They were so accustomed to the waste that the increased efficiency was perceived as a problem.

This event taught attendees more tactics and techniques to maximize the return on investment in ultrasound devices. For those unfamiliar with this proven technology, the detectors convert ultrasonic frequencies into an audible range, and a skilled technician can use the signal to pinpoint problems such as compressed air leaks, bearing deterioration and steam leaks. The technology has been available for years, but most companies still haven’t fully implemented this tool to reduce energy costs and improve equipment performance levels.

The conference featured three days of presentations with a strong emphasis on practitioners sharing their insights. Attendees noted that although many of the technicians on the program weren’t smooth public speakers, their wisdom and technical insights provided numerous valuable nuggets to help them optimize the performance of the technology. They also learned how to integrate ultrasonics into the arsenal of predictive technologies they use to fight waste and improve profit margins.

A session by Ricky Smith of Allied Reliability explained how to optimize reliability programs to show management the maximum financial return. Chuck Peterson revealed how to use ultrasound on electric motor bearings and determine the root causes of failures. John Gibson and Craig Kelly of Cargill shared how they performed compressed-air system surveys and managed their data.

The team from UE Systems made sure attendees had an informative and entertaining experience. These types of learning events definitely can stimulate economic performance, and we encourage more organizations to send representatives. For more details on Ultrasound World V and to receive announcements about Ultrasound World VI, visit