Gear Expo 2013 drew higher attendance, offered more to explore

Post Show Wrap-Up


Gear manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers convened at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis on September 17-19 for the industry’s premier conference and exhibition—Gear Expo 2013.

The biennial, three-day event, hosted by the American Gear Manufacturers Association, event drew 3,416 attendees and 227 exhibitors. Attendance showed a significant gain (10 percent) over the 2011 event, which was held in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“I’ve been really happy with attendance,” said Jenny Blackford, marketing and communications director for the AGMA.  “It’s a much bigger show this time around in terms of square footage, number of exhibitors, attendance, and also in terms of the number of machines on the floor. We had 750,000 pounds of machinery and over 1 million pounds of freight on the show floor.”

This year, as always, participants took advantage of the opportunity to meet and network with industry peers, learn about new products and technologies, and view tool and machinery demonstrations.

Company-sponsored presentations were hosted daily at the Gear Expo Solutions Center booth. Daily keynote presentations covered additive manufacturing, the Chinese manufacturing economy, and the U.S. gear manufacturing market outlook.

Newly added for Gear Expo 2013 was a smartphone app for iPhone and Android devices, allowing attendees to view and customize event schedules, search exhibitor listings, and view the exhibition floor plan. The app also featured general conference information, a photo gallery, Twitter integration, and a note taking function.

In 2015, Gear Expo will be held in Detroit at the Cobo Center. The facility is currently in the third phase of a massive five-year, $299 million renovation. Project completion is scheduled for January 2015—in plenty of time to host Gear Expo 2015. Major enhancements include: the addition of 25,000 square-feet of exhibition space; a 30,000-square-foot atrium; a 40,000-square-foot ballroom (a redevelopment of the Cobo Arena); utilities upgrades; and the redevelopment and modernization of offices, parking facilities, and parking facilities.

The AGMA expects the upward trend of Gear Expo attendance and exhibition to carry over to the 2015 event in Detroit.

“We always expect growth,” Blackford said. “We’re positioned to make (Gear Expo 2015) larger than this year.” As such, the association is already booking exhibition space for the 2015 event. Interested companies are urged to email exhibition inquiries to

Also in the exhibit hall was the ASM Heat Treating Society’s 27th Conference and Exhibition, co-located with Gear Expo 2013. The show featured over 100 companies associated with heat treat displaying their services for the most heat-treated industry of all—the gear industry. “Gear manufacturers are the largest buyers of heat treating services and products,” said Blackford. “So it’s a ready-made audience for them.” ASM is already planning to co-exhibit with AGMA Gear Expo 2015 in Detroit.

The Fall Technical Meeting that preceded Gear Expo 2013 was packed with attendees and information. For three days, the industry’s leading technical experts presented the results of their studies in the most advanced realms of today’s gear technologies—gear manufacturing, gear design, failure analysis and inspection, gear drive components, and materials/heat treatment. A show hightlight was 3M’s Walter Graf discussion of how precision-shaped grains are turning the concept of gear grinding “upside down.”

Listening to the conversations at the reception following  Sunday’s remarkable first session,  where some of the greatest mechanical minds in the world interacted over drinks and hors d’oeuvres, was a dream-come-true for gear enthusiasts young and old.