What does being 108 years old mean? What one trade association has done to stay relevant


The American Gear Manufacturers Association (AGMA) turns 108 years old this year. There are about 90,000 trade and professional associations in the U.S., and AGMA is one of them. According to many sources, there is a floating statistic that less than 0.5 percent of businesses in the U.S. make it to be 100 years old. If we were to apply that same percentage to trade and professional associations, that would mean that only about 450 associations have made it to 100 years old in the entire country. That is a very elite group.

In an article by NPR, they give a great reason why surviving in today’s technology-forward world makes pivoting for associations non-negotiable:

“One solution: An association must be in the business of providing ‘just-in-time knowledge’ to its members, said futurist Jim Carroll, author of “Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast.” He defines it as “the right knowledge at the right time for the right purpose for the right strategy, all revolving around the fact that the knowledge is instant, fast and transitory.”

AGMA has not only pivoted, grown, and challenged tradition, but it has tailored its strategic plan to embrace the idea that members drive power transmission innovation and, therefore, are in charge of what resources they receive. This kind of approach enables professionals to get exactly what they need in real time. For example, at the most recent AGMA board meeting, where you have leaders from all parts of the power transmission industry (manufacturers, suppliers and end users) serving all sectors of where gears and gearboxes are used, gathered to once again make sure AGMA has its finger on the pulse of everything emerging — in technology, education, and business development needs.

The first annual AGMA meeting in 1917. (Courtesy: AGMA)

1: AGMA took the feedback from industry about the evolving EV technology and held the first-ever EV Town Hall, where experts from around the globe discussed the importance of standards development and further information gathering in the electric space and how to move forward as it relates to the industry.

2: From there, AGMA gathered these experts and pushed forward immediate action to curate and design EV curriculum that will allow power transmission industry professionals the ability to learn more about the technology from instructors who actually work for EV companies.

3: AGMA is focused on bringing experts together from all parts of the power-transmission industry and will focus in the coming year on strengthening partnerships and relationships with other associations as it has with the American Bearing Manufacturers Association (ABMA).

4: With a global supply chain, AGMA has brought back the very important Trade Mission to bring members to other countries to help learn about processes, trade, find potential solutions for their own shops, and to create a networking group that can help bridge many economical and geopolitical challenges.

5: AGMA will continue to grow the standards development community and lead the ISO TC-60 Working Group. In addition, there will be some fantastic opportunities this year for members to join projects that will help them grow professionally while also allowing their company to be internationally recognized for shaping the industry.

So back to the title of this article — what does it mean to be 108 years old? For an association, it means you are member-driven, flexible, forward-thinking, innovative, and not afraid to try new things while always staying strong to the original foundation on which AGMA was built.

As we start the new year, make sure you pay attention to all of the new opportunities and resources AGMA has made available to you and your team. If the last 107 years didn’t prove necessary to join, perhaps 108 is your year to see why 427 other companies turn to AGMA for their power transmission needs.

To join AGMA, please email brinkley@agma.org.

Registration for 2024 Annual Meeting, Get the Early Bird Discount

The Early Bird Discount is available through January 15, 2024. Register before then to save up to $150 per registrant.

Join AGMA and ABMA for this member-exclusive event nestled among the vineyards of Napa, California, at the Meritage Resort & Spa. Gear and bearing professionals from companies all over the world gather to listen to experts in economics, trade, workforce development, supply chain management, political forecasts, and more. Aside from the informative presentations and interactive workshops, attendees will have plenty of time to network during curated events, dinners, and activities.

Don’t miss out on the event that brings together the leaders in our industries and is the best place for high-level, C-suite executives to receive tangible takeaways and actionable advice back to their businesses.

More info: www.agma.org/events/agma-abma-annual-meeting

Upcoming Education

Involute Spline Design & Rating

January 17-18 | Live 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.

Analytical Gear Chart Interpretation

January 23 | Live Online Course

This course is an introduction to the methodology of analytical gear inspection and the evaluation and interpretation of the resulting data. The application of this information to identify and correct manufacturing errors will begin to be explored. Additionally, it reviews chart interpretation and applies inspection data to understand the causes and cures of manufacturing errors. Many chart examples are used to understand cause and effect.

Gear Materials

January 30-February 1 and February 6-8 | Live Online Course

Learn what is required for the design of an optimum gear set and the importance of the coordinated effort of the gear design engineer, the gear metallurgist, and the bearing system engineer. Investigate gear-related problems, failures, and improved processing procedures.

Design Basics of Spur & Helical Gears

February 13 | Live Online Course

Learn how to develop and understand customer gear drive application specifications and target performance expectations. Review, calculate, and select basic gear terminology variables and design parameters that define tooth bending and contact rating safety factors on two real-life examples. Learn how to optimize gear fatigue safety factors for a given target design life and fit new gear designs and ratios into existing center distance using profile shift. Use commercially available software to develop gear-geometry factors, calculate and optimize gear set power density and performance. Review common gear failure modes if the design or final accuracy does not meet application requirements. Discuss time and cost of more than 20 other gear-drive component functions and drive development steps through prototypes to shipment of compliant assembled production drives. There will be an opportunity to discuss gear design challenges that may be unique to participant industries.

For a full list of the 2024 courses, go to: www.agma.org/education/advanced-courses

Calendar of Events

January 17-18 — Involute Spline Design & Rating — Live Online Course

January 23 — Analytical Gear Chart Interpretation — Live Online Course

January 30-February 1 — Gear Materials Part I — Live Online Course

February 6-8 — Gear Materials Part II — Live Online Course

February 7 — Emerging Technology Webinar — Webinar

February 13 — Design Basics for Spur & Helical Gears — Live Online Course

February 13 — Helical Gear Rating Committee — WebEx

February 15 — Helical Enclosed Drives High Speed Units Committee — WebEx

February 21-22 — Worm Gear Committee — Orlando, Florida

February 27-29 — Gearbox CSI Part I — Live Online Course

March 5-7 — Gearbox CSI Part II — Live Online Course

March 12-13 — Worm Gear Committee — CETIM

March 14-15 — Worm Gear Committee — WebEx