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These are changing times for industry. Trauma and uncertainty are always a part of change, and change is not always for the better. Change is usually forced, most frequently by competition. Our competitive free enterprise system should be able to respond to competition because that's its basis. These are critical years. If we do not respond effectively to change and competition, it could be disasterous.
The president of Milwaukee Gear speaks out about foreign competition.
Inviting an American shipbuilding industry official to discuss the subject of meeting foreign competition is like inviting Jackie Gleason to speak on dieting. I am painfully aware of the commercial shipbuilding industry situation. Let me tell you a little about it.
How is it that we woke up one day in the early 1980s to find that apparently American industry was suddenly inefficient, our workforce unproductive and our management inept? Almost overnight industry found its sales dropping dramatically, while for many companies foreign competition became excruciatingly intense. This sudden change in the economic climate proved fatal for many companies and has been nearly as hard on our collective morale. In a country used to winning, we began to hear ourselves talked of as losers.
For many in the gear and gear products business, these may seem like the best of times...
Publisher Michael Goldstein discusses the loss of U.S. manufacturing capability and what we should do about it.
John P. Walter and Abby Dress analyze the challenges facing America's manufacturers to remain competitive in a global environment.
Joe Arvin comments on his recent trip to Scandinavia and how U.S. defense dollars are being spent overseas. J.D. Smith responds to an article on gear noise from the previous issue.
"We have met the enemy and he is us," says Pogo, the cartoon character. The enemy is the crisis in our educational system, and "crisis" is the only term that accurately describes the situation. It is every bit as serious, if not more so, than the crisis that followed the Soviet launching of Sputnik in 1957 - and for many of the same reasons. Our failing public education system threatens our position int he global political and business arenas; and this time, it's not just the Soviets or the Japanese who need to be taken seriously as competitors. Every country int he world that graduates better prepared students than we do - and there are a great many of them - has us at a competitive disadvantage.
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.
Despite increased overseas competition, there doesn't seem to be an urge among Americans to attend technical conferences.
Hagen Hofmann of Hoefler presents his views on global trade, competition and the future of the gear industry.
Design innovation, superior engineering properties, high end-market visibility and sustainability distinguish the winners of the 2011 Design Excellence awards, the annual powder metallurgy (PM) design competition sponsored by the Metal Powder Industries Federation.
The last decade has been a period of far-reaching change for the metal working industry. The effect of higher lubricant costs, technical advances in machine design and increasing competition are making it essential that manufacturers of gears pay more attention to testing, selecting and controlling cutting fluid systems. Lubricant costs are not a large percentage of the process cost relative to items such as raw materials, equipment and labor, and this small relative cost has tended to reduce the economic incentive to evaluate and to change cutting fluids.
Recent history has taught us that global competition has become tougher and is a major concern of American gear manufacturers from abroad have invaded American markets with products designed in an environment where management of technology has been practiced effectively. If American companies intend to compete in the changing world market, they must acquire the technologies that will allow them to do so.
The availability of technical software has grown rapidly in the last few years because of the proliferation of personal computers. It is rare to find an organization doing technical work that does not have some type of computer. For gear designers and manufacturers, proper use of the computer can mean the difference between meeting the competition or falling behind in today's business world. The right answers the first time are essential if cost-effective design and fabrication are to be realized. The computer is capable of optimizing a design by methods that are too laborious to undertake using hard calculations. As speeds continue to climb and more power per pound is required from gear systems, it no longer is possible to design "on the safe side" by using larger service factors. At high rotational speeds a larger gear set may well have less capacity because of dynamic effects. The gear engineer of today must consider the entire gear box or even the entire rotating system as his or her domain.
In today's industrial marketplace, deburring and chamfering are no longer just a matter of cosmetics. The faster speeds at which transmissions run today demand that gear teeth mesh as smoothly and accurately as possible to prevent premature failure. The demand for quieter gears also requires tighter tolerances. New heat treating practices and other secondary gear operations have placed their own set of demands on manufacturers. Companies that can deburr or chamfer to these newer, more stringent specifications - and still keep costs in line - find themselves with a leg up on their competition.
A great deal of attention has been paid to the decline of manufacturing in America, and I've been accused of being a town crier since the 1980s, when I began to see our nation lose its edge to foreign competition. My concerns have proven well-founded.
News Items About competition
1 ANCA Unveils Art of Toolmaking Competition (August 3, 2018)
This year, besides showcasing its latest technology, ANCA is set to celebrate the art of toolmaking. The perfect tool requires a combin... Read News
2 Powder Industry Opens International Design Competition (November 9, 2007)
The Metal Powder Industries Federation (MPIF) has opened the 2008 International PM Design Excellence Awards Competition in an effort to r... Read News