Tag Archives: AGMA

The Beginning of Wisdom

Charles D. Schultz

President at Beyta Gear Service
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.

Latest posts by Charles D. Schultz (see all)

agmalogo

An old proverb posits that “The beginning of wisdom is calling things by their proper name.” In my previous posting I brought up the need to identify the meaning of the acronyms when you cite them. Our trade has many names for the same “thing,” and where you first learned something may affect what you call it.

AGMA has a nomenclature committee which develops definitions, symbols, and terms for use in the standards. They also coordinate with ISO to insure that our standards can be understood around the world. It is a testimony to the fine work these people do that we have a thriving international discussion of gear technology without more disagreement over what certain symbols “mean.”

It hasn’t always been this way. I have a 1972 copy of H.E. Merritt’s Gear Engineering that is tricky to use because of the different Greek letters used for key angles. I have to constantly convert formulas and keep a “cheat sheet” in the book to remind me.

I mention this topic in conjunction with earlier exhortations on teaching and mentoring. Make sure your pupils learn the common understanding of gear terms and can recognize non-standard usage when they see it. No matter what your “local dialect” is, they need to be able to converse with people outside your firm without having a translator present.

When AGMA first introduced software to rate gears according to ISO 6336, they held training sessions around the country. I was able to attend the class in Chicago and was embarrassed for some of my classmates. They knew “gears” in their local dialect but were unable to accurately fill in the input forms because of nomenclature differences.

This isn’t a new situation and it isn’t easy to resolve. AGMA and ISO are doing their part to make the standards consistent. No one is going to go back and revise all those cherished reference books. You can do your part by making sure our “newbies” learn to call things by their proper name.

Times Haven’t Changed That Much

Charles D. Schultz

President at Beyta Gear Service
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.

Latest posts by Charles D. Schultz (see all)

iron_age

I have been finding lots of interesting information on the Internet while researching my Fall Technical Meeting paper. Whoever decided to scan old engineering books and trade magazines for online reference did a great service to coming generations. As is often the case in research, you set out looking for information on one topic only to be distracted by a fascinating trail leading somewhere else entirely.

My interest in the adoption of standard tooth forms lead to trade magazine, The Iron Age, Volume #110, reports on AGMA meetings in 1921 and 1922. If you just saw the topic list you might think you were in a contemporary gathering of the association or on a TV business talk show. The 1922 meeting, for example, had a spirited discussion of tariffs and trade policy [page 995] and whether they were good for the gear trade.

Another hot topic was the shortage of skilled labor, rising wages, and the need to improve training methods (page 995). Apprenticeships were debated with the same concerns about retention and cost sharing that we hear today. Even the technical topics seem contemporary, ranging from the hot rolling of gear teeth (page 862) to the study of gear noise (page 994).

If there is interest amongst our readers we might be able to reprint some of these reports. Let me know via the comments.

Many Hands Make For Light Work

Charles D. Schultz

President at Beyta Gear Service
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.

Latest posts by Charles D. Schultz (see all)

As mentioned in my last posting, the AGMA Helical Gear Rating Committee ([HGRC)] was in Chicago this week for two days of work on the next edition of the basic gear rating standard and a discussion of our official American position on certain ISO methods. Eight gear engineers from around the country representing a variety of companies took time away from their busy schedules to participate. The HGRC meets in person three or four times a year and holds a like number of web-based meetings to keep the dialog going.

None of the industry participants gets paid for this effort. When they go back to their offices the work will have piled up; yet somehow they will find time to get their AGMA “homework” done too. Some of their employers will also be encouraging their participation in international standards work that requires overseas travel. There are many AGMA committees besides the HGRC where this scene is replayed with equal fervor. And amazingly enough, the AGMA has operated this way for 98 years.

I mention this because the AGMA has been a big influence on my development as a gear engineer. For those of you starting out in this trade I cannot emphasize enough how much value you will find in the standards that apply to your products. They are more current than any reference book and while they lack the cutting edge of technology found in our magazine’s articles, they represent the consensus “best practices” of our field’s experienced practitioners.

Committee membership is open to representatives from all member companies. The meeting calendar is kept current on the AGMA website and new members are always welcome. If you don’t have a travel budget, the web-exs are a great way to participate from your own workstation. In 1979 I was one of the new kids—now I am one of the old timers. The years really fly by when you are immersed in an activity you enjoy. If you are reading this blog you may be just the sort of person who will find AGMA committee work a great addition to your life in the gear trade.

PS: You also get to feel like an insider when you attend committee meetings. Today we got an early look at the list of papers for the Fall Technical Meeting. Somebody has some writing to do.

Practical Magic

Charles D. Schultz

President at Beyta Gear Service
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.

Latest posts by Charles D. Schultz (see all)

Today I have tagmalogohe pleasure of attending an AGMA Helical Gear Rating Committee meeting. On and off for the past 35 years I have been able to observe a great group of gear engineers debate the big issues and the minutia of helical and spur gear capacity. It isn’t always pretty, but it’s educational. Standards writing has been compared to sausage making; we all enjoy the results even if we don’t want to know the ingredients in great detail.

The same can be said for gear rating software. In a previous post I related my sudden promotion to “gear expert.” Part of the job description in 1979 was writing your own software; commercially available gear rating software didn’t exist. Large companies had custom software for use on mainframes via punch cards but for everyone else it was manual calculation according to the standards book or, if you were lucky and had a generous boss, a homemade program on one of the just emerging personal computers.

You learned a lot about standards when you wrote your own program. Like just how tough it was to calculate an accurate J factor for bending strength – especially if your geometry wasn’t completely “standard.” It was frustrating to labor for hours on your code and have the program fail for a single misplaced symbol. Eventually I got my programs to run and produce results I had confidence in.

As soon as commercial software became available, I stopped writing my own, but, mindful of the errors possible through programming defects, I validated the results against previous methods, both manual and computer. Each generation of software takes us further from those individually tested methods, however, and increases the risk of problems going undetected. All the sophisticated analysis routines in the world can’t make up for faulty reasoning or misapplied logic. Pretty output screens and lots of figures to the right of the decimal point do not absolve the engineer of his or her duty to verify the results against real-world experience.

The late Don McVittie was fond of saying “In God we trust; all others bring data.” Computer calculations are not “data” unless there are physical test results to back them up. Beware of software that promises to make testing unnecessary. Well-known aerospace projects have been publicly humiliated by glitches real-world testing would have caught.

Department of Corrections: An earlier posting incorrectly identified Al Swiglo as head of the AGMA metallurgy committee. While he admits to being a “senior” member in terms of years, Al is “only” the committee secretary. I apologize for the error.

LAST CALL for AGMA Fall Technical Meeting paper abstracts!

agmalogo

Charles D. Schultz

President at Beyta Gear Service
Charles D. Schultz is President of Beyta Gear Service and one of Gear Technology's technical editors.

Latest posts by Charles D. Schultz (see all)

There is a lot of talk these days about the importance of building your own “personal brand.” The gear trade in the United States is more open than elsewhere in the world; no doctorate is required to present a paper at the Fall Technical Meeting. I was terrified the first time I submitted an abstract but enjoyed the process of writing and presenting a paper so much I did it two more times. My abstract for 2014 was sent in months ago but you still have a few days to submit yours before the January 15, 2014 deadline. Papers need not be huge breakthroughs; mine were reviews of areas of interest to me which I thought others might fine worthwhile. The effort has paid me back many times over the years in conversation, professional recognition, and project opportunities.

If you have a unique insight to some aspect of gear engineering or a different method of dealing with a design issue, why not share it with your peers via the Fall Technical Meeting? Need examples of what a good paper looks like? Almost every issue of Gear Technology contains one or more papers from the annual gathering. It is a short walk from the spectator seats to the podium. You and your career will be forever grateful you took that walk.

AGMA Fall Technical Meeting