Solving ‘The People Impact’: How can AGMA help?


recently completed my 70th tour of a member company, during which I spent time with AGMA Board Members Michael Engesser of Reischauer, Cory Ooyen of Global Gear, and Mike McKernin of Circle Gear. Additionally, I was able to visit with the Meritor engineering team and talk shop with Joe Arvin from Arvin Global Services, who is an AGMA Distinguished Service Award Winner.

Member tours are great opportunities to hear challenges and opportunities facing our industry in a direct setting where you can capture core issues and values quickly and effortlessly since it’s just the two of you talking one-on-one.

I’m hearing capacity is our issue — companies are giving 110 percent to meet customer expectations as the demand curve swings almost violently from the extreme downturn of 2014-2016, to a strong uptick in 2018. It’s not unheard of to tell a customer you need 11 to 12 weeks over the timeframe they are used to receiving a gear in … and, I’m hearing of three shifts and companies asking for capacity help from other local AGMA members to make gears and components for larger systems.

I’m hearing employment is another issue — finding and retaining operators, technicians, and other floor personnel is becoming the priority for AGMA members. In fact, in a recent survey conducted on behalf of the AGMA Foundation, finding and retaining technicians was the primary challenge facing our industry. In the survey, it didn’t matter what type of company you were — suppliers, manufacturers, and end users all listed “people” as the primary challenge facing their companies.

We are on the brink of a major crisis for our industry that I call “The People Impact,” which is hitting all 482 AGMA member companies.

How many technicians are going to retire in the next five years from your company?

How many other technician and operator level employees do you currently need, or forecast to need in the next 18 months?

What is your plan to retain any new employees you hire over the next year?

How will AGMA help me with this?

The first three questions are yours to answer, but the last one, AGMA has the following solutions in the works:

AGMA and the AGMA Foundation are committing resources to develop the Employee Recruitment Toolkit. This marketing kit will highlight and promote the great things this industry does and provide your company with materials to use when promoting jobs in our industry. Materials will include a PowerPoint Presentation, a video, posters, a brochure, and advertisements that you can add your logo to.

The materials are designed to be used by your company and highlight jobs you might have. But it also can be used by AGMA staff when speaking to technical students that will ultimately lead them to our jobs board on our website. Your membership with AGMA and your contribution to the AGMA Foundation are helping to ensure our industry gets the employees it needs.

Attendees at the 2017 FTM.

By 2019, AGMA will have developed five new operator level courses. These courses could be part of your internal retention program by supporting your team members with great training you can’t find just anywhere. These courses will be at Daley College in Chicago, making it easy to attend by a majority of AGMA members — and by sending your employees to these classes demonstrates your support in their professional development. This is a powerful retention tool for all companies.

These programs were also developed by AGMA and the AGMA Foundation. This is the first time we have developed programs for operators and is a direct response to the industry challenges communicated by each organization.

Big Picture: AGMA and its Foundation are allocating money directly toward the industry’s primary challenges, as described by 467 individuals who participated in our survey in 2017 and approved by both the AGMA and AGMA Foundation boards.

Small Picture: AGMA and its Foundation are developing tools that can be leveraged by the industry to both attract new employees and to retain the ones you’ve hired.

What’s in it for me? Picture: Your direct support of AGMA and its Foundation means you have tools to help your company grow and be sustainable.

These new programs add value to the existing 13 different face-to-face engineering level classes, the Fall Technical Meeting, the Annual Meeting, and other events AGMA holds during the year. All of them are designed to keep your team up-to-date on emerging technologies, industry trends, and the latest news, and your active participation in each event ensures you are getting to network with the right people.

AGMA is here to help the industry thrive, and working closely with our members, we are on a path that directly responds to current industry challenges.

2018 Fall Technical Meeting

For more than 30 years, AGMA has been hosting a technical conference to highlight the newest emerging technology in the gear industry. The Fall Technical Meeting (FTM) is the top place to learn about the latest research in the gear industry from the researchers directly. Each year, the FTM provides an outstanding opportunity to share ideas with others in the gear industry on design, analysis, manufacturing, and application of gears, gear drives, and related products, as well as associated processes and procedures.

Location of the Bowling & Bocce Networking Reception in Oak Brook.

Attendees get a chance to be on the cutting edge of gear research and network with other engineers.

Each speaker will present the content of his or her technical paper that has gone through a double-blind peer review of three industry topic experts. All papers presented at FTM will be indexed in Scopus, the international database of peer-reviewed literature.

Come see why this popular event is growing year after year and be a part of a technical community that is always striving to improve and grow the gear industry.

New Event At FTM: Bowling & Bocce Networking Reception

AGMA has added an extra evening of networking and fun to the FTM. Sponsored by Scot Forge, FTM attendees who purchase a ticket for $50 can attend an evening full of bowling, bocce, and great conversation with their gear-industry peers. Dinner and open bar is included with your ticket at the Pinstripes in Oak Brook.  Please visit the Pinstripes website to get a look at what to expect.

Pricing Details


Member: $950.00  Non-Member: $1,250


Member: $1,050  Non-Member: $1,350


Member: $1,100  Non-Member: $1,400


Member: $295  Non-Member: $395


Member & Non-Member: $50

Attendees at the 2017 FTM.

Upcoming Courses

Don’t forget! AGMA education courses are IACET accredited. This means the courses you take through AGMA will earn you continuing education units. Choose gear education that does more for you!

Basic Training For Gear Manufacturing (2.67 CEUs)

September 11-14, 2018 | Chicago, Illinois

Learn the fundamentals of gear manufacturing in this hands-on course. Gain an understanding of gearing and nomenclature, principles of inspection, gear manufacturing methods, hobbing and shaping.  Using manual machines, develop a deeper breadth of perspective and understanding of the process and physics of making a gear, as well as the ability to apply this knowledge in working with CNC equipment commonly in use.

Fundamentals of Worm & Crossed Axial Helical Gearing (1.3 CEUs)

September 20-21, 2018 | Alexandria, Virginia (Come to AGMA Headquarters)

Provides an introduction and emphasizes the differences between parallel (the experience base) axis and worm and crossed axis helical gears. Describe the basics of worm and crossed axis helical gears, their fundamental design principals, application guidelines and recommendations, lubrication requirement, a discussion of accuracy and quality, and summarize with a brief review of common failure modes.

Epicyclic Gear Systems: Application, Design & Analysis (2.0 CEUs)

September 27-29, 2018 | Rosemont, Illinois

Learn and define the concept of epicyclic gearing, including some basic history and the differences among simple planetary gear systems, compound planetary gear systems, and star drive gear systems. Cover concepts on the arrangement of the individual components, including the carrier, sun, planet, ring, and star gears and the rigid requirements for the system to perform properly. Critical factors such as load sharing among the planet or star gears, sequential loading, equal planet/star spacing, relations among the numbers of teeth on each element, and calculation of the maximum and optimum number of planet/star gears for a specific system will be covered. Provides an in-depth discussion of the methodology by which noise and vibration may be optimized for such systems and load sharing guidelines for planet load sharing.