The association that actually knows you


I am sitting in Cicero, Illinois, right now, typing away on my laptop at a member’s office, writing this article. Milan’s Machining & Gear Manufacturing Company Inc. let me borrow a desk, its WiFi, and even offered me fresh-brewed coffee and a snack while I finish my day of plant tours and member visits. This is my first visit to the company’s shop, but yet, the late crew is coming in and out of the room and saying hi to me as if I have worked with them forever. Normally, someone would think this is strange, but in the gearing industry, you all get to know each other well and that includes the association that serves you.

The American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA) takes pride in being a smaller association that offers large value. We provide education, sales opportunities, curated emerging technology information, industry forecasting, standards (of course), and a platform to develop real relationships. I visited three members today, and all three of them have been in business with — or competition with — the others for decades. They go to dinners together, grab drinks after work, know each other’s families, and have worked directly with each other at some point in their careers. Lastly, they always share stories with me about how they either met or love to get together at an AGMA event. This is why I love what I do – it is a family.

There is no doubt that getting more bodies on the shop floor is a top priority for all the members I have visited this year. There is work waiting for future machine operators, and we at AGMA are listening to the challenge of finding good employees to help keep business (and the world) moving. Gearing is a niche within a niche. For engineers, it might be one hour of a class for their entire four years of college. For those in technical schools, they might never even touch the subject. We know our members need a solution, and we are working to find it.

We also know our members are doing some pretty amazing things. In just one day, I saw the gears that will make their way into equipment that supplies the country with oil, gas, marine capabilities, flights, construction equipment, bridges for our infrastructure, wind energy, and more. Our life’s conveniences and capabilities only exist because of what the gear industry does — because of what AGMA members do.

A worker at Milan’s Machining & Gear Manufacturing Company Inc. (Courtesy: AGMA)

We know our members so well, that we know they are too humble to brag about what they do, and so I am going to do it for them. Our world does not move or run without our members. From the plane I took to Chicago, the car I rented to drive to the businesses, the elevator I rode to my hotel room, and pretty much everything in between – I was able to do because of the work of our members.

I know gearing companies don’t have to join AGMA to get the standards they use, and I know they can pay full price for the education courses if they don’t want to be a member. However, I do know word of mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools on the planet, and our network of professionals look out for one another. As I walked down the different aisles at each of these plants, I was pointed to some work that was literally provided by the company’s competitors (other AGMA members I might add).

“There is enough work to go around right now, but not enough people to do it,” one AGMA member said. “So, they call and ask if we have some capacity to help them out.”

This type of business model seems strange to some, but the reality is our world is not slowing down anytime soon, and the gear manufacturers and suppliers have to keep up – AGMA members just want to get the job done, and collaboration is key.

We know our members, and they know each other. No matter what is happening in the industry, in manufacturing, or in the world, AGMA and its members always have each other to push forward and come out ahead. Do you know your peers like this? Do you belong to an association that knows what you need? If you do not belong to AGMA yet, email and come be part of the largest group of gearing professionals in the world.

Upcoming Training Opportunities

U.S. Defense Policy Update

July 19 | Anywhere | Webinar

The annual debate surrounding our nation’s defense budget is kicking into high-gear in Washington, D.C., as Congress looks to pass the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024. In this program, we’ll examine the programs likely to be funded, those on the chopping block, and what bearing and gear companies can expect for market opportunities in the aerospace and defense sectors in the year ahead.

Operator Precision Gear Grinding

July 25-26 | Anywhere | Online Course

Explore precision gear grinding processes, machine input variables, kinematics, machine alignment, setup errors, pitfalls, common gear fatigue failures, and expectations related to finish ground gearing. Learn definitions of gearing component features, application loads and process steps from blanking, through heat treatment to finished part ready to ship. Study aspects of quality assurance, inspection documentation, and corrective actions for measured non-conformances. Understand pre-heat treat, heat-treatment distortion, and post-heat-treatment operations including the hows and whys to produce finished gears that conform and perform to end user expectations. Calculate gear form grinding cycle times for real-life examples for various accuracy levels on commercially available software.

Tradeshow Marketing – How to Get Your Customers to the Event

July 26 | Anywhere | Webinar

Getting a booth at a tradeshow is only the beginning to creating a successful sales strategy. In order to get the largest ROI for your booth, marketing your presence at the show is the only way you can ensure attendees will stop by to find out what you are doing. Carrie Schultz, vice president strategy and client service, CSG Creative, will be giving you the best tools to help bring traffic to your exhibit at MPT Expo and other shows where you might have a booth. Find out how to gain followers, instigate interest in your showcased products, and lock down sales meetings before you even get to the show floor.

Steels for Gear Manufacturing

August 8-10 | Oak Brook, Illinois

Gain a basic understanding of steel and its properties. Learn to make use of steel properties in an application and understand the potential that different steel and heat-treatment options can offer. Explore how the performance of the material depends on how the steel is produced.

Involute Spline Design & Rating

August 15-16 | Anywhere | Online Course

This course will address both geometry and rating of involute splines of various types. The types of spline joints and their applications will be discussed. Spline configuration variations, including half depth, full depth, and special function designs, will be addressed. Both fixed and flexible spline configurations will be examined in terms of usage and design. Lubrication methods, including grease, oil bath, and flowing oil, as well as coatings appropriate for various spline applications, are examined. Shear and compressive stress rating methods are discussed with analyses methodology presented in both equation and graphical methodology via various rating charts.

Registration for 2023 Motion + Power Technology Expo Now Open

The 2023 Motion + Power Technology (MPT) Expo will be in Detroit, Michigan, October 17-19. Registration for the event is now open. The Motion + Power Technology Expo is a three-day show that connects professionals looking for motion-power solutions with manufacturers, suppliers, and buyers.

Find new power transmission parts, materials, and manufacturing processes. Buy, sell, and get business done with organizations in aerospace, automotive, agricultural, energy, construction, and more. Forge partnerships at one of the largest gatherings of CEOs, owners, engineers, sales managers, and other professionals in the electric, fluid, mechanical, and gear industries.


Calendar of Events

July 18 — Flexible Couplings Committee — Webinar

July 19 — U.S. Defense Policy Update — Webinar

July 25-26 — Operator Precision Gear Grinding — Online Course

July 25-28 — Wormgearing Committee — Newcastle, U.K.

July 26 — Lubrication Committee — Webinar

July 26 — Tradeshow Marketing – How to Get Your Customers to the Event — Webinar

August 2 — Aerospace Committee — Webex

August 3 — Helical Enclosed Drives High-speed Units Committee — Webex

August 8-10 — Steels for Gear Manufacturing — Oakbrook, Illinois

August 15-16 — Involute Spline Design & Rating — Online Course

August 17 — Gear Accuracy Committee — Webex

August 23-24 — Basic Gear Inspection for Operators — Chicago, Illinois

September 6-7 — Bevel Gear Systems Design (1/2) — Online Course

September 12 — Design Basics of Spur & Helical Gears — Online Course

September 12 — Helical Enclosed Drives High-speed Units Committee — Webex

September 13-14 — Bevel Gear Systems Design (2/2) — Online Course

September 14 — Emerging Tech EV Committee — Webex