Joel Neidig, an engineer and lead technology developer with ITAMCO, has received the 2016 Next Generation Award from the American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA). This award, presented annually since 2011, recognizes innovative work by an individual responsible for one or more significant achievements through his or her effort and work that has enhanced or strengthened the gear industry and/or AGMA. This award honors individuals who are emerging as contributors, innovators and leaders in the gear industry and serves as an incentive for others in the next generation of gear industry talent. The award was presented May 13th at AGMA’s Centennial Annual Meeting in Amelia Island, Florida.
The award is the latest in a series of milestones for Neidig and ITAMCO to acknowledge their efforts to transform their precision machining facilities into “smart factories.” ITAMCO is part of a research group that recently received an Applied Research and Development award from the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute. The group is developing a platform that will integrate every piece of software, hardware and equipment from its accounting program to its machine tools. ITAMCO was chosen as the implementation site because many of their machine tools are already connected to the Internet and each other through MTConnect. “We are only 12 to 15 months away from a totally integrated shop floor. A job will be entered into our ERP system and then every piece of the job, from allocating materials, to manufacturing, to shipping and invoicing, will be routed through the entire facility. Machines will be chosen based on the type of work and availability. And the platform is dynamic—if a machine goes down, the job will be automatically rerouted,” said Neidig.
ITAMCO is also part of a team awarded a Research and Development fund by America Makes, a division of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. The team is working on a project that will improve the building of support structures with Direct Metal Laser Sintering, an additive manufacturing technique. In addition, the technology team at ITAMCO, led by Neidig, is implementing the “Strategic Technology Initiative for Additive Manufacturing.” They have released over 65 apps for mobile devices; designed iBlue, the first industrial Bluetooth transmitter; and developed an award-winning Google Glass application.
Interestingly, despite its innovative approach to gear manufacturing, ITAMCO is not a new company. ITAMCO has provided open gearing and precision machining services since 1955. They specialize in servicing many heavy-duty industries including mining, off-highway vehicles, marine, and aviation. The “next generation” staff members like Neidig are part of a rich history of thinking outside the gearbox. “I was honored to receive this award from AGMA on behalf of ITAMCO. What made it especially meaningful was that Tom Pellette with Caterpillar gave a keynote address on the Internet of Things before the award presentation. Our first purchase order was from Caterpillar in 1956. It was one of those moments where I saw the past, present and future of our company coming together so perfectly,” said Neidig.