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The popular perception today is that technological advancement is an engine running almost out of control. New products and processes are developing faster than we can keep up with them, as anyone who has had a new computer system crash into obsolescence practically before it's out of the box can tell you. But that's not the case everywhere. Transmission technology, for example.
It is said that “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Ok, but what about gear noise? We talked to three experts with considerable knowledge and experience in this area.
Chicago- Results of recent studies on residual stress in gear hobbing, hobbing without lubricants and heat treating were reported by representatives of INFAC (Instrumented Factory for Gears) at an industry briefing in March of this year.
In May of this year the U.S. International Trade Commission made public its Report to the President on the condition of the U.S. gear industry. This 200+ page document is the result of a two-year study by the commission, with the help of the AGMA staff and members. It is the most comprehensive and current analytical coverage of the industry conditions and tends presently available. Because of the importance of this report to the industry, GEAR TECHNOLOGY is devoting a good portion of this issue to reprinting the Executive Summary for our readers.
In 1993, M & M Precision Systems was awarded a three-year, partial grant from the Advanced Technology Program of the Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Working with Pennsylvania State University, M&M embarked on a technology development project to advance gear measurement capabilities to levels of accuracy never before achieved.
In March 1989, the U.S. Trade Representative requested the U.S. International Trade Commission to conduct an investigation and prepare a report on the competitive position of the U.S. gear industry in U.S. and global markets.
The essence of designing gears is often by necessity risk-averse, given that many of them are used in applications where loss of life is a distinct possibility. The Gear Research Institute (GRI) at The Pennsylvania State University conducts risk reduction testing with the same goal in mind - whether it be gears in fighter jets, Ferris wheels, tanks, or countless other gear-reliant vehicles and machinery.
When, in 1980, OSU professor Donald R. Houser created the Gear and Power Transmission Research Laboratory - then known as the Gear Dynamics and Gear and Power Transmission Laboratory (GearLab) - he did so with the seed money provided by just three companies. Thirty-three years out, the lab has continued to grow, impress and—most importantly - succeed; it now boasts a roster of some 50 sponsoring companies and government agencies.
Recent history has taught us that global competition has become tougher and is a major concern of American gear manufacturers from abroad have invaded American markets with products designed in an environment where management of technology has been practiced effectively. If American companies intend to compete in the changing world market, they must acquire the technologies that will allow them to do so.
Hoechst Technical Polymers has expanded its interests in plastic gears with the introduction of the new Plastic Gear Evaluation and Research machine P-Gear. The machine is the centerpiece of the company's continuing efforts to promote and develop the use of plastic gears in higher-powered applications.
Gear research seems to be thriving. Between September 10th and October 17th, 120 papers about gears were presented at three conferences in Milwaukee, Boston, and Washington, to a total audience of about 400. The authors were from nine countries. Slightly more than half of the papers were prepared by authors who live outside the US and Canada.
A look at several American organizations doing cutting edge gear-related research for aerospace applications.
Aerospace/Defense contracts offer unique challenges for gear manufacturers.
Two high-volume gear production cells grace the shop floor at Delta Research Corporation in Livonia, Michigan. Thanks to lean manufacturing, these cells have never shipped a defective part to a customer since they were developed over three years ago.
Aachen has long been the center of European gear research.
Results of Gear Technology research on trends in employment, outsourcing, machine tool investment and other gear industry business practices.
Delta Research bets big on the future of gear-making technology.
These are changing times for industry. Trauma and uncertainty are always a part of change, and change is not always for the better. Change is usually forced, most frequently by competition. Our competitive free enterprise system should be able to respond to competition because that's its basis. These are critical years. If we do not respond effectively to change and competition, it could be disasterous.