Recently, Eric Van Rens was appointed to the Board of Directors on the American Gear Manufacturers Association. AGMA is a voluntary association of companies, consultants, and academicians with a direct interest in the design, manufacture and application of gears, couplings and related power transmission components and equipment. Having Eric on the board of directors will give Schafer a stronger voice in the gearing industry and participate in driving the strategic plan for AGMA. We recently sat down with Eric to learn more about his involvement with AGMA.
Q: How did you first get involved with AGMA?
A: Schafer has a long history of involvement with AGMA and I was immediately encouraged to participate in AGMA by Schafer employees. I attended the AGMA sponsored Gear Expo and AGMA’s annual convention just a couple of months after joining Schafer. These two events brought together many key players in the industry and provided a great opportunity to jump-start my knowledge of the gear industry. It was a hands-on opportunity to learn about the companies, suppliers, customers and key trends in the gear industry.
Q: What drew you to the AGMA Board, and how will this benefit Schafer?
A: AGMA provides technical information, training and business information to its members. I was immediately impressed with the organization and wanted to find ways to become involved with AGMA and support all that they do in this industry. Schafer will benefit from industry connections and educational opportunities by participating with AGMA.
Q: What is the focus of AGMA as a group and what are their key priorities in the upcoming year?
A: AGMA’s mission is to be the global network for technical standards, education, and business information for manufacturers, suppliers, and users of mechanical power transmission components. As a result of the impacts of COVID 19, AGMA shifted and is able to continue its mission by offering on-line education and business services activities. This has been a significant win for the organization as many of the more traditional avenues for in-person learning and networking are not available.
Q: What are some of the biggest innovation/opportunities/challenges do you see in the gear industry?
A: One of the biggest challenges and opportunities for the gear industry is the electrification of motor drives. The largest impact of electrification will be on the transportation industry. Most people are aware of TESLA since this is the most visible example of electrification as vehicles are powered by electricity instead of fossil fuels. The challenges to electrification are being addressed with technical solutions that allow the technology to be cost-effective while meeting new performance criteria. The impact on gear-related demand will be significant, as importantly the performance of gears and gearbox will need to evolve to address the needs in the industry.
Q: Will you be on any committees, etc.?
A: I am involved with the electric drive committee. This committee is focused on developing a better understanding of the business and technical impacts of electrification with the goal of providing members with information that will help them address the increased use of electric drives across the industry.
Q: Tell us a little about Schafer and the gearing industry.
A: Schafer Industries is a leading manufacturer of axles, transaxles, brakes, gears, shafts and precision machined components. Schafer has specific expertise in the manufacture of quiet ground gearing for electric applications, the manufacture of precision machined aerospace components and the design and manufacture of off-road and industrial axles.
Q: What new things are happening at Schafer?
A: Schafer Driveline has recently launched a new axle called the Model 24, this product is aimed at construction, personnel carriers and electric vehicle markets. Schafer feels this product will meet the growing demand for the electrification of off-road vehicles.
Schafer Industries continues to grow in Aerospace gear and machined product applications. The company recently retooled its capabilities adding significant turning, grinding and milling capacity in addition to adding a new CMM and video comparator. Schafer is excited about this new capacity and enhanced Aerospace machining capabilities.
HBM Holdings encourages industry leadership within the various sectors across our portfolio. Recently, Bill Ayers represented Mississippi Lime as the President of the National Lime Association. We are proud that Eric is now representing Schafer in another high visibility industry leadership position. Eric’s commitment to promoting gear manufacturing and establishing industry connections will align Schafer and AGMA for growth in the upcoming years.