How Quality Counts? Personnel Who Build ABB Drives Visit Customer Site, and See How Their Work Helps Save Lives


(This, the second visit by assemblers to end users, includes seeing how Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee uses drives to control critical environments)

MILWAUKEE, WI, July 17, 2009 - If you have ever wanted to appreciate why quality and fast order fulfillment are crucial to end users, you would have enjoyed being part of the visit ABB personnel working in the New Berlin factory made to the Aurora St. Luke's Medical Center in Milwaukee on June 29th. Gene Brittain, Paul Jacob, Houxeng Xiong, Alan Pelishek, and Seng Yang volunteered for the visit to St. Luke's, to see how drives leaving the factory reach their final destinations.

The visit began at JMB & Associates, the local ABB Representative for HVAC products, serving the medical center. Jody Seidler, the service manager for JMB & Associates, explained to the group how "having ABB support us enables us to serve customers on a daily basis." He explained that the advantage of ABB drives is the fast warranty and "hot job" turnaround time on emergency orders.

"Competitor units have to go back to the factory and sit. ABB has the ability to replace a unit within hours. This can be a big advantage for future sales. A lot of the time, the way to win customers is with the hot, one-piece orders for emergencies."

In the case of St. Luke's, it's a good partnership, Seidler noted, and "most hospitals throughout the state utilize ABB products, due to their quality - and the service and performance that our business works day and night to deliver with these products."

Clean Air and Temperature Control Helps Save Lives Around the Clock

In many instances, the failure of a drive in the field can result in production downtime and significant financial loss; in the case of St. Luke's and other medical facilities like it, the failure of a drive can be much more catastrophic.

Cherian Varghese, HVAC Supervisor at St. Luke's, explained to the group that, in hospital environments, "HVAC systems are vital because, just as one example, for surgeons, any fluctuation in temperature can cause their glasses or computer screens to fog, and that impedes critical conditions, so it is crucial to keep air temperatures in control."

Along with temperature control, ABB drives also control the fans for the hospital's 3-filter system, which filters the "supply" air into the building and surgical rooms, keeping the air sterile and preventing infection. "Hospitals never close," noted Cherian, "so reliability is key -- and we are very pleased with how ABB Variable Frequency Drives helps us ensure these operating conditions that we need."

St. Luke's has nearly 100 ABB drives controlling cooling towers, chilled water pumps and supply and return fans throughout the facility, including in the new Patient Tower -- the 12 storey, 430,000-square-feet addition that houses eight new operating rooms, 78 intensive care units, and 192 private patient rooms.

A Circle of Care

When the ABB employees were asked about their experience on this customer visit, Gene Brittain, a regional application engineer, noted, "It's easy to see how every person has a hand in providing the highest product quality and support possible, so hospitals like St. Luke's feel confident to use our products."

This is the second of ongoing customer-site visits, initiated by Aaron Aleithe, VP and GM of Low Voltage Drives and Motors. "Our goal with these visits is to see both how products our factory teams produce are used - and also how they truly impact peoples' lives, across a host of operations," said George Lord, the managing director of operations for the ABB factory. Lord coordinated the visit with Todd Wimmer, the Northern Regional HVAC sales manager.

ABB, Automation Products, Low Voltage Drives, is the world's largest manufacturer of electric motors and drives. In the USA, an integrated channel of sales representatives, distributors, and system integrators allow ABB, New Berlin, Wisconsin, to supply a complete line of energy-efficient electric drives, motors and engineered drive systems to a wide range of industrial and commercial customers. Products manufactured include AC and DC variable speed drives for electric motors from 1/8th through 135,000 HP, and application-specific drive system solutions to meet diverse customer needs (http://www.abb.us/drives).

ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 120,000 people.

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