How do you present 100 years of history?


Have you ever spent time looking through your company’s archives? Many of AGMA’s members have been in business for 50, 75, even more than 100 years, and some have produced excellent books or timelines documenting their contributions to the industry. As AGMA approaches its 100th anniversary in 2016, I’ve had the opportunity to start digging through AGMA’s history so that we can begin to create a dynamic timeline of the association’s and the industry’s achievements.

It can be a daunting task to undertake (most of us don’t keep records so that we can write a history of our activities), but so far I’ve enjoyed getting a peek into how our industry, and AGMA, have grown over the past 98 years. Thankfully there are many hands taking part in this project, especially Dave Kraninger, a consultant member of AGMA and longtime industry executive, and several other volunteers.

Since its founding in 1916, AGMA has prospered and redefined its role as the gear industry has gone through economic disasters, world wars, changing global markets, and technological changes. AGMA was originally founded to solve a problem: the gears used in street railway operations, mainly cast iron and cast steel, were loud, resulting in the need for standard process for machining gears, heat treating, and more. R.D. Nuttall Company (at the time a subsidiary of Westinghouse) invited eight other manufacturers to help solve this problem by developing the first technical standards in the industry, thus creating the association.

After that first meeting, AGMA held its first Annual Meeting in May 1917 with more than 50 members and spouses in attendance at the Edgewater Hotel in Pittsburgh.

While many things have changed in the last 98 years, AGMA has stayed true to the values that the founding members put down in the bylaws of the association during that 1917 Annual Meeting:

• The discussion of subjects of interest and value to the industry in which its members are engaged;
• The advancement and improvement of that industry;
• The collection and dissemination of statistics and information of value to its members;
• The standardization of gear design and manufacture and application; and
• The promotion of a spirit of cooperation among its members for improved production and increased application of gears.
• AGMA has continued to grow, continued to create standards for the gear industry; and additionally AGMA has diversified and broadened its services to the industry – in the U.S. and the world.
• AGMA is today a strong, growing organization that began the 21st Century with more than 460 members in more than 30 countries.
• As in the beginning, one of the principle mainstays of the association’s activities is the development of voluntary standards. But today, a range of programs have been added to list of services provided to the industry:
• Statistical Programs, such as the Monthly Market Reports, the Operating Ratio Report and the Wage and Benefit Surveys;
• Technical papers and information, provided to the members in both published form and through major meetings like the Fall Technical Meeting;
• A broad array of Education and Training programs from basic concepts of gearing theory and manufacture to several advanced engineering courses;
• Programs covering managerial issues relevant to industry executives, programs for small and medium sized manufacturers, marketing, forecasting and the programs for financial management; as well as the industry’s Annual Meeting; and
• Representation in international organizations, such as the ISO and Eurotrans, to promote an international understanding of the concerns of gear industry.

Beyond the various programs and technical information that AGMA has provided over the years, the one thing that becomes clear in researching our history is that the association would not continue to thrive without the dedication of its members.

AGMA is a volunteer organization, and when you see the same names involved in AGMA committees and events year after year and sometimes decade after decade, our members’ commitment to the success of the industry and AGMA is impressive. Sometimes that commitment is handed down from one generation to another, other times lifelong friendships form just from attending AGMA meetings once a year.

Networking continues to be a vital part of the AGMA experience, and whether you meet someone debating a technical issue at a committee meeting or bond over the golf tournament at the Strategic Resources Network event, you may be meeting someone who will be a resource for your entire career. AGMA has held some interesting networking activities over the years such as sing alongs in the 1920s, or bingo in the 1950s, but regardless of the event, time to meet with your peers has always been just as important as the latest technical paper or keynote speaker.

Over the next two years, AGMA will be putting together an industry timeline, and we would like your assistance. If you know of an interesting technical development, corporate milestone, or association achievement that you would like to see included in AGMA’s 100th anniversary, let us know. We are looking for information on gearing breakthroughs, industry firsts, innovative products and company milestones from the past 100 years. At the moment, we are only collecting information, not physical objects, but we do want to hear from you.

During this year’s Annual Meeting (April 10-12) participants will have a chance to add their events to the timeline, but if you are not able to attend, please e-mail me at with the information you would like to see included.

Spring Brings Many Education Options
AGMA is looking forward to an education-packed spring season. Regardless of skill level, or the amount of time in the industry, AGMA has a course that can improve your knowledge base and help your company be more productive. Registration is now open for all of the following events at  Many of AGMA’s events sell out every year—so don’t wait to register!

Basic Training for Gear Manufacturing
April 7–11 | Chicago, IL
The AGMA Training School for Gear Manufacturing makes students more knowledgeable and productive. The Basic Course teaches participants to set up machines for maximum efficiency, to inspect gears accurately, and to understand basic gearing.
Although the Basic Course is designed primarily for newer employees with at least six months experience in setup or machine operation, it has proved beneficial to quality control managers, sales representatives, management, and executives.
This course offers training in: gearing and nomenclature; principles of inspection; gear manufacturing methods; and hobbing and shaping.  The class is divided into both classroom learning and hands-on gear training in Daley College’s lab.
Since its inception in 1992, more than 200 companies have sent more than 500 students to the Basic Training for Gear Manufacturing Course, which continues to regularly sell out even after 19 years.

Webinar: “Common Gear Material Inspection Methods”
April 17 | 1–2:30 pm
This webinar, taught by Sarah Tedesco, president of Ashford Consulting, will present several gear inspection methods commonly used to ensure the quality of a gear, from the raw material through to the final manufactured form.  Discussed are methods of assuring the quality of: raw material (cast or billet), heat treatment (whether forged, quench and tempered, carburized induction hardened, or nitrided) and final net shape formation (welding, machining, and fine finishing).  Students can assess the accuracy of the current methods used, or possibly find newer, less expensive methods for assessing the quality of their gears. Any quality engineer, manufacturing engineer, or customer liaison (sales or engineering) would benefit from knowing and understanding the kinds of analysis involved in assuring the quality of their product.
Following this webinar, attendees will be able to:

• Evaluate their current quality control plan’s sufficiency
• Assess what kinds of tests are necessary to ensure high quality gear manufacture
• Understand the benefits and limitations of various forms of analysis

Gearbox System Design: The Rest of the Story…Everything but the Gears and Bearings!
May 13-15 | Clearwater, FL
The design of a gearbox system is much like a Hollywood movie production—the “stars” get the recognition while the “supporting cast” barely gets a mention!
In a gearbox system, the stars are the gears and bearings. The supporting cast is everything else, including seals, lubrication, lubricants, housings, breathers, and other details. This program addresses what a gear engineer can do to optimize the gearbox system—from the housings to the lubrication—and much more.

The seminar starts with the basics: the history of gearbox design, the environment in which the gearbox must “live,” and the loading to which the system will be subjected in service. Loading includes starting/stopping, continuous, reversing, and cyclic and possibly errant loads conditions.
The concept of a detailed design layout “Bible” will be introduced and explained as the basis for the overall design and analysis. The specific topics will include:

• Types of housing construction
• Drawing practices for housings and related components, such as covers, inspection ports, sump, mounting, etc.
• Bearing mounting, retention and sealing
• Selection and role of gearbox accessories, such as breathers, filters, screens, sight gauges and other level indication devices, drain and sampling ports and plugs, etc.
• Lubricant selection, i.e. chemistry
• Lubrication application (dip, splash, etc.). The treatment starts with basics, such as some history of design, the environment in which the gearbox must “live” and the loading to which the system will be subjected. Loading includes starting/stopping, continuous, reversing, cyclic and possible errant loads conditions.

Gear Failure Analysis Seminar
June 9-11 | Big Sky, MT
Avoid gear failure and save thousands of dollars in repair costs by knowing what causes gear failure and how to prevent it from occurring.  This course is a perennial sell-out and is limited to 30 students, so register soon!

In the Gear Failure Analysis Seminar, students will examine the various types of gear failure, such as macropitting, micropitting, scuffing, tooth wear, and breakage. Possible causes of these failures will be presented, along with some suggested ways to avoid them.

Gear failure analysis expert Robert Errichello will use a variety of tools and methods—lectures, slide presentations, hands-on workshops with failed gears, and Q&A sessions—to give students a comprehensive understanding of the reasons for gear failure. Participants are encouraged to bring their own failed gears or photographs and discuss them during the Q&A sessions.

The seminar brings together a vast amount of knowledge not available elsewhere. It will help solve the everyday problems that gear engineers, users, researchers, maintenance technicians, lubricant experts, and managers face.

More seminars and webinars will happen throughout the year, so make sure to visit often for the latest information!

AGMA News in Brief
Call for Participation: Revision to AGMA 923-B05
AGMA’s Technical Division Executive Committee recently granted approval to AGMA Metallurgy & Materials Committee to start a project to revise AGMA 923-B05, Metallurgical Specifications for Steel Gearing. To maintain its wide popularity and use within the industry, and to ensure continued compatibility with the latest industry practices, AGMA is looking for subject matter experts and users of the document to join the Metallurgy & Materials Committee to participate in this project.

For more information on this project, such as future meeting times and locations, please contact Amir Aboutaleb ( Participation is limited to AGMA members.

Gear Expo Recognized with Fastest 50 Award
Gear Expo 2013 was recently recognized by Trade Show Executive magazine with two Fastest 50 awards. The show was recognized for its dramatic growth in the areas of net square feet (nsf) of exhibit space and number of exhibitors during 2013. Gear Expo 2013 saw a 29.9% nsf increase in the size of the show and a 25.8% increase in the number of exhibiting companies.

Trade Show Executive (TSE) Fastest 50 rankings are determined from information supplied and certified by senior executives with the association or private show organizer responsible for the event. All trade shows with a minimum of 15,000 nsf held in the U.S. in 2013 were eligible. Winners will be acknowledged at the 2014 Fastest 50 Awards & Summit on May 20–22. Planning for Gear Expo 2015 is well underway, with more than 75% of the exhibit space already sold.  For more information on how to exhibit contact

Is Your Company Listed?
The new AGMA Marketplace provides a great resource for those looking for products and services in the gear industry. Find gear manufacturers that can produce products you need for your current project, or find services to assist with your gear manufacturing plant. The Marketplace replaces the product directory that was previously available through the AGMA website. All those with listings must create a new account to be listed again.

AGMA members are afforded a free listing in this Marketplace. For complete information send an email to AGMA’s Web Communications Manager: