Tag Archives: standards

What Did They Know and When Did They Know It?

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)

No, I am not launching a criminal investigation. The title of this posting summarizes my ongoing study of the history of gear ratings. Most of you are aware that the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA) was formed in 1914 by a group of gear makers who were concerned that the outrageous claims of some of their competitors were endangering the good reputation they were working to have with their customers.

The gear trade has attracted some of the greatest engineering minds in history, but prior to AGMA there were no recognized standards for the things we take for granted today. Other “standards” groups pre-date AGMA because of their involvement with public safety. I will not go over the rash of boiler explosions, bridge collapses, and structure failures that prompted the need for better understanding of those fields of engineering.

A gear failure was unlikely to be life threatening in the early 20th century, but AGMA’s founders foresaw a day when it could greatly interfere with the conduct of their business. They didn’t start the association in a vacuum either.

Thanks to the Internet and modern technology it is possible to gain insight into the pre-AGMA days of the gear business. I just received a beautiful reprint of the American Machinist Gear Book, edited by Charles Hays Logue in May of 1910. Mr. Logue, formerly of R. D. Nuttall Company, set out “to make a book for ’the man behind the machine,’ who, when he desires information on a subject, wants it accurate and wants it quick, without dropping his work to make a general study of the subject.” His preface continues “Controversies and doubtful theories are avoided.”

As author and editor, Mr. Logue relies upon noted experts for help in sorting out the topics. Wilfred Lewis, George B. Grant, and Percy C. Day are among those quoted. Engineering books dating back several hundred years are referenced in the very readable text. Many of the diagrams, drawings, and charts were very familiar from more modern reference books.

So the preliminary answers to the questions posed in the title are:

More than we give them credit for.
And,
Certainly by 1910.

I look forward to making a detailed comparison of the 1910 rating methods and our 21st century procedures.

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.