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State Schools Lack Funding. Who Loses? We all do.
Economic times are good right now in America and in the gear industry. We're in the seventh year of an up cycle. The tough shake-outs of the 1980s and early 90s are over. Orders are up. Backlogs are at comfortable levels. We're looking at what promises to be the biggest, most successful trade show in the industry's history coming up in Detroit in October. The most pressing question on the immediate horizon seems to be "How long can the good times go on?"
A fundamental characteristic of the gear industry is that it is capital intensive. In the last decade, the gear manufacturing industry has been undergoing an intense drive toward improving and modernizing its capital equipment base. The Department of Commerce reports that annual sales of gear cutting equipment have increased nearly 60% since 1990. While this effort has paid off in increased competitiveness for the American gear industry, it is important to remember that there is another capital crucial to manufacturing success - "human capital."
Long-time readers of these pages will know that I have always felt strongly about the subject of professional education. There's nothing more important for an individual's career development than keeping up with current technology. likewise, there's nothing more important that a company can do for itself and it employees than seeing to it they have the professional education they need. Giving people the educational tools they need to do their jobs is a necessary ingredient for success.
The passage last year of both NAFTA and GATT has gone a long way toward leveling the playing field for American manufacturers and other hoping to compete in the global economy. Add to this news the fact that the domestic economy keeps growing, and it seems as though good times are ahead for the gear industry.
Getting and keeping a work force capable of meeting the demands of the 21st century is one of the key challenges most U.S. manufacturers face today. That's not even news anymore. I - and others - have been talking about it in editorials and speeches for ten years now. It's also not news that the job is a tough one and that industry-wide response often has not been particularly effective.
Gearing is a self-training course for teaching the basic fundamentals of gears and gearing to those totally unfamiliar with the subject.
AGMA has an excellent Training School for Gear Manufacturing. It's a great product providing a great service to the gear industry. Thus far we've educated 117 employees from 71 companies; students range from new hires with no experience to company presidents. Essentially every class since December, 1992, has been sold out.
It wasn’t so very long ago that a high school-educated, able-bodied person with a will to work typically had little trouble finding a decent job in manufacturing. Whether at an area job shop, an OEM plant or auto plant—work was to be had. Work that paid well enough to marry, buy a home, feed, raise and educate a family—with even enough left over for a modest retirement pension.
This article presents an efficient and direct method for the synthesis of compound planetary differential gear trains for the generation of specified multiple speed ratios. It is a train-value method that utilizes the train values of the integrated train components of the systems to form design equations which are solved for the tooth numbers of the gears, the number of mating gear sets and the number of external contacts in the system. Application examples, including vehicle differential transmission units, rear-end differentials with unit and fractional speed ratios, multi-input functions generators and robot wrist joints are given.
What are the manufacturing methods used to make bevel gears used in automotive differentials?
The south-pointing chariot exhibited at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., (circa 2600 BC)is shown in Fig. 1. Although the mechanism is ancient, it is by no means either primitive or simplistic. The pin-tooth gears drive a complex system, wherein the monk on the top of the chariot continues to point in a preset direction, no matter what direction the vehicle in moved, without a slip of the wheels.(1)
Mechanical efficiency is an important index of gearing, especially for epicyclic gearing. Because of its compact size, light weight, the capability of a high speed ratio, and the ability to provide differential action, epicyclic gearing is very versatile, and its use is increasing. However, attention should be paid to efficiency not only to save energy, but sometimes also to make the transmission run smoothly or to avoid a self-locking condition.
"Gear Train" is a new Gear Technology section focusing on training and education in the gear industry. For the first installment, we've focused on AGMA's online and video training programs.
Like many Americans, I've been trained with the idea that those who see a problem should be the ones responsible for helping to solve it. If you see that something is broken, and you know how to fix it, don't wait for your dad, your boss or the government to tell you what to do. Just fix it.
"More than half our young people leave school without the knowledge or foundation required to find and hold a job." according to a 1991 report from the U.S. Dept. of Labor. A huge gap exists between the needs of employers (especially in manufacturing) and the training received by most high school students.
"Opportunity is the start of great enterprises." said the Greet statesman Demosthenes, and what was true 2300 years ago is no less true now. Plenty of opportunities which can grow into great - and successful - enterprises are waiting for us right now if we only have the foresight to take advantage of them.
The following article provides details on the specific programs and learning opportunities discussed in the January/February 2011 article "Now, More Than Ever" by senior editor Jack McGuinn.
Publisher Michael Goldstein talks about how one gear company is encouraging young people in manufacturing. What are you doing?
Gear education and training are vital to sellers, buyers and national security. This article explores gear training options available in the USA.
But associations and grassroots organizations lack public awareness.
In the past, the coffee breaks and dinner events at Sigma Pool’s gear seminars have often triggered future process development and product improvements. This was still the case during the 2009 installment where customers and suppliers talked shop inside and outside the banquet hall on the new market and technology challenges currently facing the gear industry.
For years, politicians, educators and business leaders have generated various ideas to revitalize U.S. manufacturing and engineering. These include manufacturing initiatives, internal training programs and an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in the classroom. The declining expertise in these fields, however, continues to be a growing problem in every facet of manufacturing and engineering.
Make no mistake -- lean manufacturing is here to stay. And no wonder. As a fiercely competitive global economy continues to alter companies’ “Main Street” thinking, that relatively new dynamic is spurring the need for “I-need-it-yesterday” production output. And for increasingly more industries -- big or small -- that means getting as lean as you can, as fast as you can.
An American renaissance in manufacturing is needed—and long overdue.
"We have met the enemy and he is us," says Pogo, the cartoon character. The enemy is the crisis in our educational system, and "crisis" is the only term that accurately describes the situation. It is every bit as serious, if not more so, than the crisis that followed the Soviet launching of Sputnik in 1957 - and for many of the same reasons. Our failing public education system threatens our position int he global political and business arenas; and this time, it's not just the Soviets or the Japanese who need to be taken seriously as competitors. Every country int he world that graduates better prepared students than we do - and there are a great many of them - has us at a competitive disadvantage.
Expertise is a resource that's hard to sustain. We're doing our part via our "Ask the Expert" feature. How about you?
This issue's editorial is a reprint of the keynote address given by Michael Goldstein at the Computer Aided Gear Design Seminar held at the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA on November 9, 1987.
At the present time, technology seems to be moving faster than our ability to educate people in its utilization. this is particularly true of the manufacturing engineering profession.
Faithful Addendum readers are accustomed to finding upbeat, whimsical and oddball stories about gears in this space. What follows is not about gears, exactly. Rather, it is, as opposed to the usual bleak news about America losing its manufacturing mojo—a look at a positive, hopeful development in that regard.
What was once recognized as the unique genius of America is now slipping away from us and, in many areas, is now seen as a "second rate" capability. Unless action is taken now, this country is in real danger of being unable to regain its supremacy in technological development and economic vigor. First Americans must understand the serious implications of the problem; and second, we must dedicate ourselves to national and local actions that will ensure a greater scientific and technological literacy in America.
In this issue of Gear Technology, we are focusing on using computers to their greatest advantage in gear design and manufacturing. In a sense, that's old news. It's a cliche to suggest that computers make our work life easier and more productive. No company that wishes to remain competitive in today's global manufacturing environment can afford to be without computers in all their manifestations. We need them in the office; we need them next to our desks in place of drafting boards; we need them on the shop floor.