AGMA Rolls Out a New Skills Assessment Tool


You never know where you’re going to get the next great idea. AGMA’s new project started with a serendipitous meeting with Jeff Reynolds, purchasing manufacturing engineer/gear specialist at Rolls-Royce at the Gear Expo in 2011.

Jeff was interested in working with AGMA to develop a matrix that would define the required skills and identify training programs for positions such as gear inspector, gear manufacturing engineer, and gear design engineer. The AGMA Education Advisory Council members enthusiastically endorsed the project and appointed an education task force, led by Jeff, to tackle the issue.

Over the last seven months, the AGMA education task force developed a skills assessment tool for the gear industry. This process involved identifying the job functions to be analyzed, the major areas of knowledge required by each job, and the skills necessary for success in each of these areas.

The task force identified specific skills, such as: Using micrometers and other tools, how to check dimensions, measure hardness, etc. The tool will guide users through a list of eight job positions, then outline five sets of skills required to complete those tasks, and the competency requirements of each skill.

As an example, for the gear inspector job function, the task force identified five major areas of knowledge: Blueprint reading and math, gear and spline nomenclature, gear inspection and analysis, gage R&R and process capability, and gaging basics and use.

The assessment is conducted when the employee’s supervisor rates the employees understanding and ability in each of the detailed skills areas; some have as many as 18 required skills. There are columns for listing the employer’s minimum requirement for a skill and the actual rating (0 to 4) of the employee’s skill level.

Supervisors can complete an assessment for each employee. Some job descriptions have core skills in common. The analysis of the common skills along with the competency levels will assist supervisors in ascertaining which employees would be best suited for cross-training. Identified deficiencies can be addressed with additional training and education.

Using the scale shown in the table below, reviewers enter the rated score of 0 – 4 in the actual column for each skill in the worksheet. The scores are automatically totaled and added into the “overall competency” table with the results being also shown in the “skills assessment” graph in each assessment. A red value in the “skills assessment” graph reveals an area of concern that indicates training may be required. Figure 1

This tool encourages companies to assess new hires as well as current employees, and to provide a pathway for training and advancement. It can also provide individuals with tools to analyze their own competencies and skills gaps and can be used to justify taking courses to fill those training gaps.

The actual assessment tool is an editable Excel file that will allow users to customize it for the their company and their job functions.

Jobs Functions are:
Gear Manufacturing Engineer
Gear Inspector
Gear Hobbing Operator
Gear Shaping Operator
Gear Grinding Operator
Gear Design Engineer
Gearbox Design Engineer

In developing the skills assessment tool, the task force identified a second phase, which is a training gap assessment. The training gap assessment helps to determine the training resource needed for each skill.  When the sheets are completed for each individual, an analysis can be performed to determine proficiency gaps within each job description, allowing a path to be established for individual and team improvement with suggested training options. By creating the training gap assessment, the task force reveals areas where classes need to be developed. This portion of the skills analysis tool is a work in progress and will be released at a later date.

The initial skills assessment tool has been developed and is on the AGMA website ( as a customizable Excel file for AGMA members only.

Special thanks go to the members of the task force: chair Jeff Reynolds, Rolls-Royce; Briggs Forelli, Precision Gear Incorporated; Robert Maggetti, Triumph Gear Systems-Macomb, Inc.; Tom Marino, Gear Technology; Rustin Mikel, Forest City Gear Company; Matt Mondek, Reliance Gear Corporation; and Robert Sakuta, Delta Gear.  

You Can’t Miss the 2013 Annual Meeting
 Expert Presenters

We survived the European economic crisis, the presidential election, and the fiscal cliff, but what will be the top issues facing the gear and bearing industries in 2013? This year’s AGMA/ABMA annual meeting will explore many of the topics impacting your company this year — from new government regulations, economic challenges, and general industry economic   forecasts, to more detailed insight on potential new markets for your business. The featured presenters at the 2013 annual meeting are ready to give you the industry forecasts and market-intelligence you need to succeed with best practices, data-driven insights, and trends in the global marketplace.

Access to Industry Executives
The most important aspect of the annual meeting is networking! Whether you are new to the industry or have been involved for decades, the annual meeting gives you access to hundreds of gear and bearing executives from around the world. By meeting with your peers during the general sessions at the golf course or over dinner, you will gain new insights into how others are dealing with common problems facing the industry. Prepare to develop new partnerships, or find that one new idea that makes your company run more smoothly. Since hundreds of your peers will attend, you can meet with your current partners and customers in just a few days, saving your company multiple trips to visit each customer individually.

World-Class Entertainment
We couldn’t ask for a better backdrop for the 2013 annual meeting — sunny southern California.

Once home to Spanish missions, the area is now known for its sunny warm weather, the Beach Boys, and a thriving community defined by tourism, the defense, aerospace, and solar industries.

The Park Hyatt Aviara Resort is a first for the AGMA and ABMA members as we venture into the warm coastal southern California sun for our annual opportunity to network and bring home the latest “best practices” from fellow gear and bearing industry executives. Between the general sessions and networking events, you will have ample time to explore the Carlsbad and San Diego area, home to world-class entertainment, shopping, amusement parks, beaches, and precision manufacturing.

For all these reasons, and many more, the AGMA/ABMA annual meeting is the place to connect with international gear and bearing industry executives. Don’t miss this opportunity to join your peers in California for the ultimate networking event of 2013!

Complete information is available on the AGMA website at: 

Forensic Analysis of Gear & Bearing Failures – Useful Tools for Optimizing Gearbox Design
March 12-14, 2013
Hyatt Regency Baltimore on the Inner Harbor, Baltimore, MD

Raymond Drago, Chief Engineer – Gear Technologist, Drive Systems Technology, Inc.
Joseph W. Lenski, Jr., Senior Bearing Engineer, Drive Systems Technology, Inc.

Determining the cause of a failure in a gearbox is like a “who done it” mystery. Why did the gearbox fail? Was it the bearings, the gears, or the environmental stresses?

This seminar, taught by Raymond Drago, P.E., and Joseph W. Lenski, teaches the forensic analysis of failed gearboxes, including the following topics:

•  The role of careful forensic analysis of gearbox failures in future gearbox design
•  Bearings and gear types
•  Limitations of bearings and the gears they support
•  How to optimize bearing and gear combinations

Gearbox failures are not always related to predicted bearing life and gear service factor calculations. Forensic analyses of gear and bearing failures show that only a few of these failures are the result of true fatigue.

Many failures are the result of other contributing factors, often of such magnitude that they overshadow the basic gear and bearing rating considerations. Therefore, careful evaluation of the forensic analysis is essential during the design process to achieve the best gear and bearing performance.

Furthermore, understanding gearbox bearing failures is critical in eliminating them in future designs. Forensic analysis will determine the root cause and then the designer must determine what has to be done to eliminate this root cause in future designs.

Actual data based upon the presenter’s own gear design for the application and rolling element bearing experience will be presented. The presentation is illustrated with numerous photographs and many case study synopses are discussed to provide real world examples of both failures and preventative measures based on an understanding of the failures.

The objective of this seminar is to provide a better understanding of various types of gears and bearings and educate the designer of the limitations and capabilities of rolling element bearings and the gears that they support, so that the designer can properly apply the best gear-bearing combination to any gearbox, whether simple or complex.

In addition to being colleagues for more than 40 years, the seminar instructors have had the great privilege of working directly together as an integrated “bearing/gear team.” Learn from this experience to minimize your problems and maximize your successes in future gearbox bearing designs. It is our belief that a good gearbox designer is only as good as his or her “bag of tricks!” Join us and fill your personal bag of tricks.

For more information or to register for this seminar, visit or call 703.684.0211. 

New International Standard for Wind Turbine Gear Drives Published
After eight years of dedicated work, “IEC 61400-4, Wind Turbines – Part 4: Design Requirements for Wind Turbine Gearboxes” was recently published.

The standard was developed through the efforts of members of ISO TC60 and IEC TC88 who came together in a Joint Working Group (JWG) environment to discuss and debate issues that set this application apart as one of the most demanding on gear drive design and manufacture.

The AGMA Wind Turbine Gear Drive Committee was an active participant in this project, serving as the US Technical Advisory Group in developing positions on the many technical issues that were addressed.

The Abstract of the Standard Reads:
IEC 61400-4:2012(E) is applicable to enclosed speed increasing gearboxes for horizontal axis wind turbine drivetrains with a power rating in excess of 500 kW. This standard to wind turbines installed onshore or offshore. It standard provides guidance on the analysis of the wind turbine loads in relation to the design of the gear and gearbox elements. The gearing elements covered by this standard include such gears as spur, helical, or double helical and their combinations in parallel and epicyclic arrangements in the main power path. The standard is based on gearbox designs using rolling element bearings. Also included is guidance on the engineering of shafts, shaft hub interfaces, bearings, and the gear case structure in the development of a fully integrated design that meets the rigorous operating conditions. Lubrication of the transmission is covered, along with prototype and production testing. Finally, guidance is provided on the operation and maintenance of the gearbox.

IEC 61400-4 supersedes ISO 81400-4, which has been withdrawn. The current AGMA standard on this subject, ANSI/AGMA AWEA 6006-A03, Standard for Design and Specification of Gearboxes for Wind Turbines, continues to be an excellent resource for the wind turbine industry segment.