(847) 934-4500

Contact us today:

Tag Archives: Fred Young


Forest City Gear Capabilities Brochure - Click Image To Download

Forest City Gear proudly announces the availability of its new capabilities brochure.  This new literature details the many markets for which the company produces highly-specialized, custom gears to suit the most demanding applications for accuracy, stability and wear.  A world-class gearmaker, Forest City Gear has a reputation in the international market for “excellent without exception,” the mantra of company CEO, Fred Young.

Forest City Gear produces precision gears for a variety of markets, most notably aircraft, aerospace, defense, instruments, medical, racing (boat and auto), high-end sporting goods and more.  The company’s products are found on the Space Shuttle, every car in the starting field at the Indy 500, the world’s longest distance casting reel, highly sophisticated measuring instruments and Siemens magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines, as well as Howitzer’s, surface-to-air missiles and other military ordnance.  The company proudly boasts it will have every wheel and actuator gear on Curiosity, the next generation Mars Rover vehicle.  That achievement was based on its outstanding performance on Spirit and Opportunity, the current vehicles occupying the Red Planet.

Long recognized internationally as a leading gear manufacturer, the company continues its philosophy of reinvestment and ongoing purchase of the latest, most advanced gearmaking technology in the world.  As Fred Young explains, “We don’t wait for the order to buy the machine, we acquire the best technology available to push our capabilities into new arenas, every day.  That policy, coupled with arguably the most sophisticated gear quality lab in the world, has kept us in the forefront of the industry for decades.  We’re very proud of that fact.  As evidence of same, Forest City Gear counts dozens of other gear companies among our customers, as they bring work to us which they cannot perform themselves.”

The full brochure is available online at www.forestcitygear.com, which also details the company in a virtual tour of the facility, plus videos and a full personnel directory of key contacts.

For more information or a copy of this new capabilities brochure, please contact:

11715 Main Street
Roscoe, IL 61073-0080
Phone:  815-623-2168
Fax:  815-623-6620
Web:  www.forestcitygear.com
Email:  wyoung@forestcitygear.com
Attention:  Wendy Young, President

Continue reading

Warm Family Biz Chills Electricity Bills

Forest City Gear is featured on the cover of Green Manufacturer - Click To Read

Continue reading


The weather mostly cooperated and over 250 people came out for the festivities.

Leading manufacturer of high-precision gears feeds, educates and entertains over 250 employees, suppliers and others

Roscoe, IL-Forest City Gear supplies some of the world’s leading companies with high-precision gear work.  These include such diverse yet demanding customers as aircraft, military ordnance, every car in the starting field at the Indy 500, the winning boat in the America’s Cup and, perhaps their crowning achievement (pun intended), the Mars Rover.  Already onboard Spirit and Opportunity, Forest City Gear products will deploy the solar panels and drive the wheels on the next generation of the Rover project, scheduled for lift-off in late 2011.

Meanwhile, back on planet Earth, the company celebrated its 55th year in business with a  good old-fashioned corn boil on the company premises, July 24, 2010.  Owners Fred and Wendy Young, along with their family, welcomed all the employees, their families, many suppliers, customers and friends of the company from the local Roscoe, IL community, to dine, socialize and stay out of the rain with them.  Fred also gave tours of the facility, explaining to even the youngest visitors how a gear is made, measured and applied in the “real world” of mechanical motion, in all the industries served by this longtime market leader.

Highlight of the event were the karaoke performances by many of the employees, including the owners, who took all in attendance back to the halcyon hippie days of the 60’s with their heartfelt rendition of “I Got You, Babe” by Sonny & Cher.  While the likelihood of the Young’s leaving the gear business for the glitz and glamour of the entertainment world is minute, every second of their performance brought rousing cheers from the enthralled mass, under the big top tent erected in the company’s parking lot.

There was face painting and a bouncy house for the kids, though Fred was looking at the latter with a mischievous grin, all afternoon!

In the end, despite a bit of rain, a good time was had by all, as they say.  The hosts had allocated 4.5 ears of corn for all in attendance and many folks ate their quota and then some, while many were seen exiting the event with ears aplenty in hand, courtesy of Wendy!

Besides, where else on a rainy Saturday could one get a detailed explanation of the AGMA gear rating system?

See photos attached for more of the fun.  For the real risk-takers, click here to see the Young’s singing for their supper!

For more information on the event or the company, please contact:
FOREST CITY GEAR CO., INC.  11715 Main Street Roscoe, IL 61073-0080 Phone:  815-623-2168 Fax:  815-623-6620 Web:  www.forestcitygear.com Email:  sales@forestcitygear.com Attention:  Fred Young or Wendy Young

PR agency contact for Forest City Gear:  Tim Daro Bernard & Company 847-934-4500

Continue reading

Forest City Gear’s green efforts

Forest City Gear went green in a number of ways.  Here is a picture of their “Zen” bench and sitting area.

In addition to an aggressive recycling program, Forest City has implemented a number of other changes:

  • Changing lights from T-12 to T-8, using 25, 28 and 32 watt lamps.
  • Tinting windows with low-E film, to minimize heat and lower energy costs during the summer months.
  • Replaced several heating/AC units with high energy efficiency units (Energy Star).
  • Installed programmable thermostats throughout the building, and a large ceiling fan in the plant.
  • Sun reflecting covers for skylights.
  • Replacement of less efficient air compressors.
  • Strategically planted shade and fruit trees, shrubs and plants, all around the building’s grounds.
  • Turning off plant lighting during the lunch period, and as required in bathrooms, lunch room, conference room and warehouse.
  • Adding sophisticated power factor optimization devices on factory motors.
Continue reading



Roscoe, IL-Forest City Gear’s CEO Fred Young spoke on “Growing Global Markets” at the National Contract Manufacturers Association (NCMA) Symposium 2010 held at NIU Conference Center in Rockford, IL on Tuesday, March 23, 2010.  This year’s symposium focused on “International Contracting: Winning Business In Emerging Global Markets.”

With the use of the internet and social media, we have access to businesses and products without the limitation of boarders and time-zones.  More and more companies, even small, family owned businesses like Forest City Gear, find themselves very active in the global market.  During his speech. Fred stated that “although the title suggests I deliberately set out to grow global exports, in reality, we fell into it accidentally.” He explained it was his customer’s desire for cheaper production and assembly, along with their unwillingness to lose Forest City Gear’s quality and service, that initially brought FCG into foreign markets.  Once recognized in these new markets, Forest City Gear’s unwavering belief in concentrating on high quality, doing what others cannot do expediently and having the most up-to-date gearmaking equipment brought them additional business in these countries.  As a result, staying true to these principles has established FCG as a leader in the world market for high-precision gears.

As Fred briefly described the history of Forest City Gear, founded in 1955 by his parents, he stressed that quality and on-time delivery have been essential in proving and maintaining the company’s reputation of excellence since its inception.  Fred believes the greatest lesson his father taught him was to reinvest every last dollar.  He further believes reinvesting has been a key factor in their success on the global market.  Over the past 30 years, FCG has reinvested 25%-40% of gross sales each year into new equipment.  FCG’s philosophy is: when you are competing with other gear companies all over the world, it is important to be on the cutting edge.  “Others have primarily shot themselves in the foot with the lack of reinvestment.  Those who would had been considered leaders 50 years ago didn’t reinvest to update and bring their machines current and, as a result, they cannot compete in today’s global market.”

FCG believes it is a serious error if you don’t know your competition, know what they are delivering and how they do it. In addition to keeping his facility focused on quality and excellence, Fred visits gear companies and machine builders all over the world.  Seeing how others run their facilities is “critically important”, as it provides knowledge and insight in offer something better than what the competition is producing.

“The future of exporting manufacturing is critical to the health of our country, we need to educate our youth, keeping that notion going is important to our future.” FCG continues to have a strong presence in the world marketplace by keeping their facility current, educating their employees with top-notch trainers who have global experience and by cultivating a reputation of excellence and helping others, even their competitors.

“Our clients are now all around the world and they found us in Roscoe, IL.  Who has ever heard of Roscoe, IL?  But we have developed a reputation for gearmaking excellence… Forest City Gear is always seeking, always exploring and always learning.”

Forest City Gear was founded in Rockford, IL in 1955 by Evelyn and Stetler Young, parents of Fred Young.

To watch the full video presentation of Fred’s speech, go to: http://vimeo.com/10460533.

For more information on this announcement, please contact: FOREST CITY GEAR CO., INC. 11715 Main Street Roscoe, IL 61073-0080 Phone:  815-623-2168 Fax:  815-623-6620 Web:  www.forestcitygear.com Email:  sales@forestcitygear.com Attention:  Fred Young

Agency contact: Tim Daro Bernard & Company 847-934-4500 tdaro@bernardandcompany.com


Date:  March 29, 2010

Continue reading


Steps to take for avoidance of imperfections in the aesthetics and surface integrity of gearworks

Roscoe, IL-Forest City Gear recently disseminated the following tips to its employees and would like to share these ideas with the gearmaking community, as well as users and assemblers of gearworks.  This information is provided for reference only and any further questions or comments should be directed to author Fred Young, CEO of Forest City Gear.  He welcomes all feedback.

BY: Fred Young, CEO

TO: All Forest City Gear Employees

Recently and historically, we have had issues with gears that suffered from the above conditions, after heat treat. These issues can also appear during hot and humid times, as well. We previously had a sand/vapor blast unit that was used to clean off debris and contamination from gears, prior to further processing.

My suggestions for future handling, based on experience and a reading of the current technology, include the following:

  1. We should change the routings to include a hand blasting (not tumble blasting) by our heat treaters.
  2. We should stipulate the further provision to our vendors that this is initiated only for cosmetic cleaning purposes and that they are enjoined from too extensive a blasting, which could cause dimensional changes or damage to our parts.
  3. We are looking for a uniform and clean surface on all areas that are not ground and this would include gear root diameters, where appropriate. If we do not have high confidence in the individual heat treaters to perform this critical task, we should try to use the Comco blast unit we have in-house or investigate the purchase of a unit similar to the old one we had. I know that the main objections to that equipment were the excessive dust and grit surrounding it and the extra processing time required. However, the returns we have experienced from time to time over these issues demand that we take some aggressive preventative steps. Please note that this is not limited to parts that are only heat treated.
  4. When we use our ultrasonic cleaner or parts washers with soap and hot water, water spots and/or soap contamination may be objectionable to some very particular and discerning customers. Changing of the final cleaning solution may be necessary, in such cases.
  5. If it is feasible, we should use any of the currently available vacuum heat treating processes to assist us in maintaining cleanliness and an optimally professional visual appearance, which can help minimize objections by outside inspectors.

I welcome all your suggestions to further our desire for achieving “Excellence without Exception.” (This is the company motto at Forest City Gear.)  I think that if all hands are on the lookout to address the corrosion, discoloration, contamination and pitting issues and address corrective procedures prior to further processing-gear grinding, cylindrical grinding or other machine operations- this will help minimize our overall cost.  It is very difficult to address these issues after grinding has occurred, as you all know.

The September/October (2009) issue of Gear Technology had an article starting on page 60 entitled, “Gear Corrosion During the Manufacturing Process,” which focused on issues of pitting caused by corrosion, which can be very serious and ultimately lead to gear failure in operation.

While the article discussed the REM Chemical process of isotropic superfinishing in particular, much of the information is germane to the points above and will contribute to your understanding and resolution of these problems.  I encourage you to read it. The watchword at Forest City Gear is that all of us are responsible to be on the lookout and take steps to prevent this situation from future occurrence, to the greatest degree possible. It will be prudent to gather some examples and point out exactly what we are trying to prevent from going out the door, by reviewing it with all hobbing/secondary, shaping and grinding department personnel, at the earliest opportunity.

For more information on this announcement, please contact: FOREST CITY GEAR CO., INC. Web:  www.forestcitygear.com

Editor Note:  Please send any publication-generated inquiries from this article to Wendy Young at Forest City Gear, wyoung@forestcitygear.com.  Thanks much.

PR agency contact: Tim Daro Bernard & Company 847-934-4500 tdaro@bernardandcompany.com


Date:  January 26, 2010

Continue reading

Crowning: A Cheap Fix for Noise Reduction and Misalignment Problems and Applications On Gears

Noisy gear trains have been a common problem for gear designers for a long time. With the demands for smaller gearboxes transmitting more power at higher rpm and incumbent demands for greater efficiency, gear engineers are always searching for new ways to reduce vibration and limit noise, without increasing costs.

Some popular solutions to the noisy gear problem include enlarging the pinion to reduce undercut, using Phenolic, Delrin or other noise-absorbing products, where possible, or changing to a helical gear train.  Other methods include tightening specifications to insure greater gear quality or redesigning the acoustical absorption characteristics of the gearbox.  Occasionally, experimentation with gear ratios can limit harmonic frequency amplification, which otherwise can cause a gearbox to amplify noise like a finely tuned stereo system.  The engineer can also study material and hardness requirements, so that modifications may be made to minimize heat treatment distortion or possibly eliminate the need for heat treatment entirely.

Particular attention must also be paid to gear geometry to insure maximum contact.

Another approach to the gear noise problem that yields good results is crowning or barreling of the teeth. This technique involves changing the chordal thickness of the tooth along its axis. This modification eliminates end bearing by offering a contact bearing in the center of the gear.

A second benefit of the crowning approach to gear cutting is the minimization of misalignment problems, caused by inaccurate machining of the casting, housing, shafting, gearboxes or bearing journals. Crowning can also reduce lead problems in the gears themselves, which causes the gears to wear unevenly and bind because of eccentricities and position errors.  Obviously, a gear with a center contact is less affected by discrepant manufacturing or design; furthermore, one can reduce the backlash requirements and allow the gears to wear in rather than wear out.

Shaving is a secondary gear finishing operation done after rough hobbing or shaping to create the desired crown. Crown shaving has long been a popular method, especially in manufacturing coarse pitch gears. With the recent evolution of gear equipment capable of crowning while cutting, the need for shaving just to achieve a crown has been eliminated.

Two variations of the crown shaving method will produce a gear to compensate for off-lead or misalignment conditions.

One approach produces a crown by rocking the table during the reciprocation of work and cutter. The degree of crown is readily changed by this method. The other approach is plunge feeding, which requires dressing the shaving cutter to the desired crown. Generally, it is faster to plunge feed, but the technique can subject the cutter to greater wear.  Of course, it is more difficult to change the crown, provided one starts with good quality gears.  Shaving improves the quality of profile and reduces error in the gear tooth, through the cutting and burnishing action of the cutters.

The crown form can be produced on gear teeth in several other ways. One method is to shape the gear by use of a crown cam in the shaper back-off mechanism. The proper radius of the gear is calculated by using the amount of crown on the flank and the pressure angle of the gear.  Unfortunately, the blocks, while not complex, tend to be expensive.

The advent of the latest generation of gear equipment has made two methods of crowning while hobbing popular. Both methods produce crowns by increasing and decreasing the center distance of cutter to workpiece. The first method utilizes physical copying of a template by a hydrocopying or mechanical following device. This allows taper hobbing or even the creation of sinusoidal wave forms, if desired. More recently, the second method, CNC hobbing, has become commonplace.

Depending on software limitations, CNC allows cutting gears in almost any desired form.  A disadvantage to this approach is the high cost of the equipment, though the payback has decreased considerably, in recent years.

New CNC shapers can cut a crown gear or spline without the need for buying a special crowning cam.  On our Gleason Pfauter P 300 ES, for example, we can crown by cutting a slight right and left hand helix angle along the face width of the part.  This leaves the root diameter straight.  We also have a Bourn & Koch Fellows MS 450 with a U-axis for controlling the back-off.  It can be programmed to move the cutter spindle in and out during the stroking cycle to crown the tooth by cutting deeper at the ends of the face width and more shallow at the high point of the crown.

Who is using this gear cutting technology today?

Users of heavily loaded gears have been using crowning for quite some time.  Another area ripe for the use of crowning is in the manufacturer of hydraulic wobble motors. Here, the application is strictly for misalignment problems rather than for noisereduction. An allied area involves heavily loaded pinions used in actuators for aircraft control surfaces. Generally speaking, it is more advantageous to crown the pinion because it makes more revolutions per minute and may generate more noise. In this case, it is of paramount importance to compensate for load deflection. Unfortunately, few companies in the United States have been applying this technology to commercial fine pitch gearing. However. the few manufacturers who have tried it are most pleased with the results. Some users have reported a 5x to 10x reduction in noise, accompanied by less vibration, wear and power draw.

Prime candidates for use of the crowning technique are the small fractional horsepower motor manufacturers or anyone dealing with spur or helical pinions that are susceptible to noise or misalignment. Because crowning on foreign gear hobbing equipment has been available for a greater length of time, this method has been developed to a greater extent in Europe.

American manufacturers would be wise to take advantage of the availability of this kind of technology. Exploration of crowning as a solution to noise and misalignment problems can produce a real competitive advantage for gear manufacturers and users alike.

Fred Young, CEO Forest City Gear Roscoe, Illinois

For more information, please contact Fred Young at: Forest City Gear 11715 Main Street Roscoe, IL 61073 fyoung@forestcitygear.com 866-623-2168

AUTHOR-Fred Young is the owner and CEO of Forest City Gear Co. in Roscoe, Illinois. He has worked for the company since the mid-1950s and assumed its management in 1968. He is a graduate of Rockford College, where he studied physics, mathematics and English literature.  Mr. Young is a leading authority on gear manufacturing.

Agency contact: Tim Daro Bernard & Company tdaro@bernardandcompany.com 847-934-4500

Editor note:  Mr. Young is available for interviews on this or other gear design and manufacturing issues.  Please contact agency to arrange. Also, any publication-generated leads from this article should be sent to Wendy Young at wyoung@forestcitygear.com.  Thanks!

Continue reading