My trip to the AGMA Fall Technical Meeting was preceded by a one-day visit to the Gettysburg National Military Park. As a boy I loved Civil War history, and at one time probably knew most of the major elements of the Gettysburg encounter by heart. Other passions have clouded those boyhood memories, so it was great to have them refreshed with an open-top bus tour and a walk through the fabulous visitors center.
After watching a sunset from the top of Little Round Top, it struck me that the battle was won before it even started. The Union’s chief engineer, General G.K. Warren, had been dispatched to survey the area and found the “high ground” defended only by a signal corps unit. He quickly rectified that error and, despite all the movements and bravery of those three days, that decision to better defend the high ground resulted in victory.
As engineers we, too, can be distracted by all the excitement and activity around us. Our employers and customers count on us to make sure the fundamental “rules” are followed. Somebody has to know the standards, write the procedures, and see that they are followed. It isn’t always “fun” but few people consider engineering to be “fun” anyway. (I know; let’s keep it our secret lest we be overrun by accountants looking for a more fulfilling career.)
While the fundamentals of our trade don’t change often, modern analysis tools and machine tools are changing some of the design rules. If you haven’t reviewed the standards for your products recently, it is time to download the latest version and make sure you comply. Similarly, if you have manufacturing responsibilities you need to meet regularly with tool suppliers to ensure you are getting the productivity you are paying for.
Gear Technology prides itself on helping you stay current with both the design and manufacturing sides of the gear industry. As General Warren showed: good problem anticipation, early correction and “win the day” — no matter what troubles come your way.