EATON — Bullen Ultrasonics, a worldwide leader in ultrasonic machining, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The ultrasonics business that originated in Jim Bullen’s garage in 1971 is now an “ultrasonic machining powerhouse” and globally recognized leader in the production of high-quality components used in semiconductors, MEMS, transportation, defense & aerospace, medical & life sciences industries. Half a century later, Bullen Ultrasonics remains a privately held company owned by Jim’s son-in-law Steve Brown and daughter Vicki Brown and their family.
“I know that Jim would be proud to see the company doing what it’s doing today, staying true to our values and committed to excellence in every way,” Brown said. “Because we’ve remained committed to our family values, Bullen has been able to accomplish so much more than technical output over the last 50 years. The beauty of a family business means that we have the freedom to push the boundaries and innovate uniquely. We’ve built things no one else has built; we’ve reached markets others hadn’t touched and created value for our customers in unique and innovative ways.”
Fifty years ago, Bullen Ultrasonics began as a small group of engineers that repaired old ultrasonic machines and sold them globally to in-need countries like India. In the early 1990s, led at the time by Steve Brown and Mary Bullen, the business started working alongside IBM and Howmet Aerospace and took on a newfound trajectory.
Around that same time, Bullen’s engineers began working with Lam Research (LRCX) in California. What started as a small job with Lam quickly turned into a more significant project, and Bullen acquired even more customers through a network of semiconductor manufacturers looking for similar ultrasonic solutions.
This series of events propelled Bullen to dive deep into the silicon production world, which ultimately led to the company’s differentiation in the ultrasonics space. The Bullen team decided to alter its supply chain by growing its own silicon crystal in 1997. Despite its small size and humble roots, Bullen was the only crystal grower in the world growing wafer-quality silicon for non-wafers at the time. By 2006, they had 13 crystal growers. They eventually sold these silicon growing and processing assets to Lam Research, now known as Silfex. It continues to experience growth at its Eaton and Springfield, Ohio facilities.
Today, Tim Beatty serves as the company’s president, proudly preserving the DNA of the company. “While I embrace the opportunity to carry on the legacy of the Bullen family as the company’s president, I also recognize that everything that’s happened in these last 50 years can be traced back to our employees,” said Beatty. “We have incredibly talented people working for us. Everywhere I turn, our employees strive to make a difference for our customers, in their homes and within their communities. This positive culture, I believe, is created by people and fostered by leadership.”
Beatty and the rest of the Bullen Ultrasonics team believe that their work extends beyond just the technology and day-to-day production. Bullen has gained a reputation of service both locally and globally over its 50 years in business and was most recently awarded Dayton Business Journal’s 2020 Business of the Year. It contributes 10 percent of its profits to global charitable organizations in Cambodia, Mumbai and the Philippians. It continues to serve those in Preble County as a longstanding affiliate of the Preble County Development Partnership, and Home is the Foundation.
“We want our employees to know they are making a difference when they come to work every day. We give a portion of our profit back to our employees and people in need worldwide. This has been a part of our DNA ever since the beginning, and that’s something that will define us for years to come,” adds Beatty.
Bullen continues to seek opportunities to create value for its customers by improving operational excellence in everything from engineering to quality assurance. It has created a system built around supporting its employees to focus on delivering value and quality services to its customers. The company plans to diversify its technology to open new markets while allowing them to better serve existing customers in the semiconductors, aerospace and MEMS industries. Bullen continues its growth and is currently hiring for various positions, which can be viewed at bullentech.com/careers.
Bullen leadership is inviting any current and former team members, as well as their families, to a 50th-anniversary celebration which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 11 at the Bullen facility. Find out more about Bullen’s celebration and history at bullenultrasonics.com/anniversary.