Improvements During a Helium Shortage

by | Sep 27, 2022

The Company:

One of nexAir’s customers located in East Tennessee has been working with Territory Manager, Ben Wilhite, for over three years. They manufacture drivetrain components and related systems and work primarily in torque converters and manual clutches.

The Problem:

Many of nexAir’s customers knew of or felt the impacts of the nationwide helium shortage that’s been going on since early February of this year. Tough decisions had to be made as fixed allocations of helium were implemented and limiting nexAir’s resources. At the same time, nexAir had a customer whose business was doing well, and they were looking to increase production. With increased production, they predicted they would need to increase their helium usage by 50%. Ben was stuck between wanting to make sure his customer was happy and successful, while being limited with the current resources.

The Solution:

Ben discussed the situation with his customer and the two parties agreed to bring in VTI, a producer of calibrated leaks, custom leak detection systems and fabrication solutions to evaluate the customer’s processes. The VTI team conducted leak testing on all lines, which allowed the team to identify and fix leaks in the customer’s pipelines. Just this initial step allowed them to reduce their gas volumes by 33%. Next, the team was advised to reduce the customer’s helium mixture by 10%. These changes would reduce helium usage while continuing to produce the same results. This resulted in huge savings for the customer in annual helium usage and allowed for enough monthly allocation to keep the plant running and leak testing.

Ben continues to work closely with his customer to help them reach their helium needs while navigating a national helium shortage. However, these important steps helped to address the dramatic disparity in helium usage expectations between the two organizations and helped to solidify the partnership between nexAir and our customer.