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Gear education and training are vital to sellers, buyers and national security. This article explores gear training options available in the USA.
"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.
Gearing is a self-training course for teaching the basic fundamentals of gears and gearing to those totally unfamiliar with the subject.
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.
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.
"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.
Despite the many things being done to promote manufacturing nationwide, there still remains an acute need for gear-specific training, remedial or otherwise.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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?"
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.
"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.
Publisher Michael Goldstein talks about how one gear company is encouraging young people in manufacturing. What are you doing?
But associations and grassroots organizations lack public awareness.
If anyone should ever need convincing that the state of American manufacturing is in ongoing decline, consider this: the state of Michigan has the highest concentration of engineers in the country, yet also has the highest unemployment rate. But there are ripples of hope out there as grassroots and otherwise organized groups are fighting the good fight in an attempt to reverse that trend.
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.
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.
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.
Expertise is a resource that's hard to sustain. We're doing our part via our "Ask the Expert" feature. How about you?
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.
Forensics isn't just for tough-talking, crime-busting scientists--most commonly found on your television; the tactic also holds the key to successful gearbox design and manufacture.
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.
Gear Expo provides an opportunity to learn from the industry's experts by walking the aisles and talking to exhibitors. Visitors to Gear Expo 2001 also can take advantage of some formal training and educational opportunities sponsored by AGMA and SME.
As the automotive industry continues to reinvent itself, new transmission technologies are at the forefront of this effort, and there is a whirlwind of new developments being detailed at the German Car Training Institute’s Automotive Transmissions and Drive Trains Symposium North America.
News Items About training
1 Heidenhain Releases CNC Training Tools (February 18, 2013)
Heidenhain Corporation has released a unique online interactive training tool for CNC instruction called Heidenhain Interactive Training ... Read News
2 The Manufacturing Institute Partners with PMPA on Machine Training Program (October 11, 2012)
The Manufacturing Institute has partnered with the Precision Machined Products Association, Right Skills Now, a fast-track machining trai... Read News
3 GF AgieCharmilles Opens Training Academy (January 3, 2013)
GF AgieCharmilles, a provider of wire and die-sinking EDM systems, three- and five-axis milling machines and laser texturing technology, ... Read News