I had planned to attend the MPT Show in Detroit last week and participate in Gear Technology ‘s Ask the Expert panel, but my schedule got changed at the last minute. If I was at the show, in addition to collecting all the swag on offer, I would be visiting booths looking for ideas that could make my clients more efficient. Industrial exhibitions have had one goal ever since Prince Albert proposed the Crystal Palace in the 19th century: to showcase the leading edge of technology and to challenge firms to do better. My interests for 2019 are much different than they were even five years ago. While the big things like form grinding of tooth flanks make incremental progress, other aspects of our trade are zooming to new methods that make it critical for decision makers to become better informed on their options. If your work involves reverse engineering of spare parts, for example, you will be competing against machines that can quickly scan a part with lasers and output a workable 3-D file. The curmudgeon in me is skeptical of the accuracy of that file, but I recall that some of our sketches — after hours of hand measurements — were not very good either. The potential of this technology to reduce lead times and improve quote accuracy makes it impossible to ignore. Closely related to this “reverse engineering” magic is faster gear charting and inspection. A recent post on seeing an intact and functioning ITW inspection suite reinforces my admiration for the current generation of devices. Charting on the grinding machine is good; being able to verify it on a standalone checker is still prudent. It may not be wise to remain “old school” on the inspection of grinding damage either. While some of you investigate ways to ensure your grinding process is “safe” for all gears, the prudent buyer will want all parts checked. Today’s changing environmental rules restrict the use of chemicals, making the improvement of other methods critical. Those are the things I would be checking out at the show. Sorry to miss the opportunity to chat with old friends, associates, and blog readers, but schedule changes are always with us.