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Nashville - One of the highlights of this year's SME Advanced Gear Processing and Manufacturing Clinic was a tour of the new GM Saturn automobile manufacturing plant outside the city. There in the Tennessee hills is a hopeful vision of the future of the American automobile industry. It may well be the future of American large-scale manufacturing in general.
If you are like most navigators of the printed page, the first thing you read in this final 2013 issue of Gear Technology was our State of the Gear Industry Survey. And who would blame you? It’s not Sabermetrics, but once you’ve read it you’ll have a pretty clear snapshot of last year and a peek into the next. But if you also like to get a little closer to the bone about things, what follows are the collected opinions of five well-regarded people in the gear industry speaking to a number of issues with relevance.
Gear Technology’s annual State-of- the-Gear-Industry survey polls gear manufacturers about the latest trends and opinions relating to the overall health of the gear industry. As in years past, the survey was conducted anonymously, with invitations sent by e-mail to gear manufacturing companies around the world.
From a technological perspective, there typically aren't many EUREKA! breakthroughs in the "state of the gear industry" to report, and 2014 was really no different.
Gear manufacturers are generally an optimistic bunch, as revealed by our 2013 State-of-the-Gear-Industry Survey, which appears in this issue.
Most companies spend this time of year crystal ball gazing. Managers want to know the future so they can make projections, plan schedules, determine budgets and make major decisions that will ensure their success.
In March 1989, the U.S. Trade Representative requested the U.S. International Trade Commission to conduct an investigation and prepare a report on the competitive position of the U.S. gear industry in U.S. and global markets.
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?"
Before we get into projections and prognostications about the future, let’s take a minute to review 2012. For many in the gear industry, the year was better than expected. Some manufacturers had a very successful year leading up to an even more successful manufacturing trade show (IMTS 2012). Others were searching for more business, hoping that the general state of the economy wouldn’t make things worse. In some cases, it did.
Gear Technology’s annual state-of-the-gear-industry survey polls gear manufacturers about the latest trends and opinions relating to the overall health of the gear industry. As in years past, the survey was conducted anonymously, with invitations sent by e-mail to gear manufacturing companies around the world.
Gear Technology's annual State-of-the-Gear-Industry survey polls gear manufacturers about the latest trends and opinions relating to the overall health of the gear industry.
Trying to figure out what’s going on in this crazy economy of ours seems a bit like reading tea leaves—one part pseudoscience and three parts wild conjecture. Of course some pundits are telling us that this bull market has legs, while others insist that we’re due for a major correction. Some pump us up with positive news, while others remind us about scary stuff like the budget deficit, the European financial crisis and unemployment.
Latest News from the Industry
Gear Technology's annual State of the Gear Industry survey polls gear manufacturers about the latest trends and opinions relating to the overall health of the gear industry.
For many of us, 2016 was a rough year - and the results of our annual State of the Gear Industry Survey show it. 40% of respondents indicated their companies had cut staff, while only 27% indicated an increase in employment. Clearly, there have been widespread cutbacks.
The results of our Annual State of the Gear Industry Survey (See page 26) provided insight on 2016 as well as forecasts for 2017. Here is additional insight from some of the industry's leaders.
Suppliers are working hard to make sure their heat treating equipment is controllable, repeatable and efficient, and manufacturers continue to incorporate technology that gives heat treaters and their customers more information about what's going on inside the magic box.
At the mid-year point of 2017, it appears that the U.S. economy, and the manufacturing sector in particular, are gradually accelerating, with most markets seeing an upside breakout from the flat or down conditions of 2015 and 2016.
It’s Monday morning, December 15, 2036. An autonomous vehicle drops off two engineers in front of a gear manufacturing facility in Metro Detroit. They punch in for work on their wristwatches and pay Uber for the ride on a smartphone. One of the engineers begins walking the shop floor, monitoring a series of collaborative robots using a tablet the size of a paperback novel. These robots interact right on the floor with the minimal staff scheduled to oversee manufacturing operations. Another engineer wears an interactive headset and begins training a group of new engineers (in real time) from China using some form of augmented reality.
News about the latest products in the industry.
From the Economics to 4.0 — Industry Leaders Have Their Say
Gear Technology's annual State-of-the-Gear-Industry survey polls gear manufacturers about the latest trends and opinions relating to the overall health of the gear industry. As in years past, the survey was conducted anonymously, with invitations sent by e-mail to gear manufacturing companies around the world.
Latest news from around the industry
The oil industry is (pardon the pun) tanking. That may conjure up horrific images of other industries following suit in a domino effect of collective collapse into the overabundant oil slick the industry is currently drowning in, but not everyone is getting knocked down alongside the oil sector.
More Gears in Cyberspace Dial in to the web site of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry for an online version of the museum's Gears from the Century of Progress exhibit.
Sometimes in the pressure to meet deadlines and handle the Crisis of the Day, we lose sight of the forest for the trees. As a partial cure for this syndrome, I recently reviewed the six interviews with gear industry leaders that have appeared in our pages during the last year, trying to get a grasp of a larger picture. It struck me with renewed force how six men, each with a lifetime of experience in this business, see the gear industry forest the same way.
Results of research on trends in employment, outsourcing, machine tool investment and other gear industry business practices.
Never have so few served so many. That, in essence, describes gear makers and the role they play in our world. Think of it—although the gear cutting industry represents much less than one percent of the global workforce—the gears it produces are what make things run in practically every industry and profession imaginable. From bulldozers to Rolexes, gears are an integral part of the mix.
The good news and the bad news about the gear industry and its role in the overall economy.
In October, Gear Technology conducted an anonymous survey of gear manufacturers. Invitations were sent by e-mail to thousands of individuals around the world. More than 300 individuals responded to the online survey, answering questions about their manufacturing operations and current challenges facing their businesses.
Having read about an automobile race in France, Kohlsaat decided he’d host America’s first auto race in Chicago. The year was 1895 and automobiles were still a great curiosity. Kohlsaat, owner/publisher of the Chicago Times Herald, planned to exploit the growing interest in motoring by sponsoring a 54-mile race from downtown Chicago to nearby suburb Evanston, Illinois, and back. The match was open to all comers, foreign or domestic, whether powered by gas, electricity, or steam. The top prize: $2,000 (that’s 50,000 2016 dollars).
Zero to 125 MPH in five seconds. Maximum speed of 211 MPH. Seven-second pit stops. Formula One racing is a high-adrenalin sport - one which demands peak performance from drivers and machines alike.
News from the major automakers and transmission suppliers.
With all the work in transmission development these days, the demand for automobile transmission gears should remain strong for several years, but suppliers will have to be as flexible as possible to keep up with the changes.
Conical involute gears (beveloids) are used in transmissions with intersecting or skewed axes and for backlash-free transmissions with parallel axes.
Relic of an era when quality was an afterthought.
Results of research on trends in employment, outsourcing, machine tool investment and other gear industry business practices.
The struggles of the manufacturing economy in 2009 are well documented. Even among those of us with long careers, most of us have never seen activity come to a screeching halt the way it did last year. 2009 was tough on all of us. So, what should we expect in 2010?
This past fall, I had the opportunity to travel to Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore to witness first-hand the status of the power transmission and machine tool industries in these areas. Points of interest included equipment, material handling, computerization, wage and tax structures, inventory controls, and workforce attitude.
Dear Editor: Re: Your editorial and "Viewpoint" by Joe Arvin. Both you and Mr. Arvin make some valid points. Your editorial appears to be a response to Mr. Arvin's "Viewpoint." This is a response to both
Next year will be the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' famous "discovery" of America. Poor Columbus has fallen on hard times of late, what with revisionist historians smacking their lips over his more notable failures and reminding us that American natives have a vastly different point of view on this Great American Success Story. But before we relegate the Great Navigator to the scrap heap of trashed-over heros, let's take one last look at some of the positive lessons to be learned from the Columbus experience - ones that could be instructive to our current situation in the American gear industry.
It always strikes me as something of an irony that the brightest holidays of the year fall in the deepest part of the darkest season. They come when the days are the shortest, the clouds the thickest, the weather (at least in Chicago), the worst. And yet it is at precisely this time when we celebrate the happier human emotions of family, love, and charity and somewhat arbitrarily declare a "new" year.
Five years of effort by AGMA came to fruition in January with the publishing of a report from the Department of Commerce. This "National Security Assessment of the U.S. Gear Industry" indicates that if serious measures are not taken, the gear industry's future is in jeopardy. It also sets the tone for confronting major challenges now looming large in our industry.
In May of this year the U.S. International Trade Commission made public its Report to the President on the condition of the U.S. gear industry. This 200+ page document is the result of a two-year study by the commission, with the help of the AGMA staff and members. It is the most comprehensive and current analytical coverage of the industry conditions and tends presently available. Because of the importance of this report to the industry, GEAR TECHNOLOGY is devoting a good portion of this issue to reprinting the Executive Summary for our readers.
Results of Gear Technology research on trends in employment, outsourcing, machine tool investment and other gear industry business practices.
Publisher Michael Goldstein discusses why some gear manufacturing companies are enjoying record years.
In November, Gear Technology conducted an anonymous survey of gear manufacturers. Invitations were sent by e-mail to thousands of individuals around the world. More than 300 individuals responded to the online survey, answering questions about their manufacturing operations and current challenges facing their businesses.
Over the past several months, many gear manufacturers and industry suppliers have been telling me how busy they are. Their backlogs are the largest in history, their sales the highest they’ve been in many years. They’ve invested in new capabilities, new machinery and people.
Another year has passed and, because of the short term ups and downs of the economy, it's still hard to judge whether we are in an appreciably different place than we were a year ago. The economy doesn't seem to be worse than it was, but it also doesn't seem to be a whole lot better.