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Itâ€™s not too often a trade show so far surpasses organizersâ€™ expectations for size that it must be relocated. This was just the dilemma the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) faced with the Windpower 2009 Conference and Exhibition, which was originally scheduled to take place in Minneapolis, but will now be held at McCormick Place, Chicago.
Let's talk about large gears. Not the size or scope or inspection process, but the forecast and market potential in areas that utilize these massive components. We'll examine key industry segments like energy and mining and tap IHS Economics for a forecast for 2016 and 2017 (spoiler alert: it's not great). Additionally, we'll discuss some of the critical factors influencing global big gear manufacturers Ferry-Capitain and Hofmann Engineering.
The wind turbine industry has been plagued with gearbox failures, which cause repair costs, legal expenses, lost energy production and environmental pollution.
Big gears and wind turbines go together like bees and honey, peas and carrots, bread and butter andâ€”well, you get the idea. Wind isnâ€™t just big right now, itâ€™s huge. The wind industry means tremendous things for the energy dependent world we live in and especially big things for gear manufacturers and other beleaguered American industries.
Industrial gear standards have been used to support reliability through the specification of requirements for design, manufacturing and verification. The consensus development of an international wind turbine gearbox standard is an example where gear products can be used in reliable mechanical systems today. This has been achieved through progressive changes in gear technology, gear design methods and the continual development and refinement of gearbox standards.
The world is full of acronyms. At work, the inbox reveals e-mails from the AWEA, SAE, MPIF and AMT. On the weekends, Saturday mornings are consumed by activities involving the AYSO, PTA, YMCA or DMV. Itâ€™s a struggle to determine what organization does what and why we should care in the first place.