MINDEN, Nev. — Long before anyone heard of Silicon Valley, Don Bently was tinkering in his garage to come up with a way to warn technicians when a bearing on a rotating machine was failing.
Sixty years later, the company that still bears his name employs more than 1,500 people in nine countries, with 600 of those working in Minden.
On Oct. 9, Baker Hughes General Electric CEO Matthias Heilmann told those employees that Bently was a visionary.
“The flagship Minden site has 600-plus employees and this plant provides 90 percent of the Bently Nevada global manufacturing,” Heilmann said. “The Minden site has impressive vertical integration and the capacity to deliver parts and services to customers quickly and efficiently.”
Bently is a world leader in monitoring and protecting equipment, instruments and machinery for the energy industry, officials said.
From wind turbines to the oil and gas industry to the world’s largest energy plants, chances are Bently provides services for all of those entities in some way.
But Bently also provides products and services that protect the safety and enhances the productivity of critical equipment for more than a dozen industries.
Among Bently’s areas of expertise is prototype circuit boards. Bently can build them on average in seven days and in three days when requested as opposed to the 13 to 18 weeks it takes Bay Area companies.
Bently also announced new investments in research and development funding over the next three years. While the company wouldn’t say how much it’s investing, it’s a substantial amount.
“This is going to be here another 60 years and long after that,” said Bently Nevada President Terry Knight.
Company officials said they’re pioneering next generation technologies for the “Industrial Internet of Things.”
“Its reinvesting in technology developments to deliver the best products and software to its customers,” the company said. “The plant-wide mission is to combine hardware and software technologies to make industrial operations far more efficient, safe, and reliable.”
Bently first developed industry-transforming eddy current sensors in his garage, ultimately leading to the creation of Bently Nevada.
In the early 2000s, Bently was acquired by General Electric, and in 2017 Bently became part of Baker Hughes General Electric.
As part of Tuesday’s celebration, employees and their families toured the plant.
“There’s a lot of passion, there’s a lot of energy in this building,” Knight said.
For information about Bently Nevada, visit: www.bently.com.