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SME Speaks: We Survived, Now What?

 Mark C. Tomlinson

As we emerge from the worst recession ever and look to the future, many economic factors need to change before the recovery reaches the core of the US manufacturing economy, the real engine for prosperity. The following actions could accelerate that recovery:   

  • The banking system will have to support the needs of small-to-medium-size companies with cash flow requirements as new orders are received.
  • Large OEMs must release the capital-equipment programs put on hold when the recession hit in October 2008.
  • A sustainable energy policy, which includes all segments of energy, needs to be developed, supported, and funded.
  • Our automotive sector must stabilize and invest in new technology that supports an energy-efficient economy.
  • Key aerospace and defense programs such as the tanker need to be approved and funded.
  • The dollar needs to stabilize.
  • The adoption of continuous improvement training must be supported by governmental funding. 

I believe many of these key actions will become a reality during the next year. Dialog about these important needs is starting to take place, and the future of manufacturing is brightening.

As members of the Society, and of this great industry, we also have to take stock of what we have accomplished and what yet has to be done to support our personal and industry recovery. We need to take a long-term approach to our careers to put us in a better position to serve and prosper. We also need to do a critical assessment of our abilities and skills. The Society also needs to take a similar approach.

Our chapters and technical communities need both short and long-term strategies for the development of programs, products, and services that meet the needs of the manufacturing practitioner. SME staffers (our member and industry relations managers) are available to support the development of these important roadmaps for manufacturing's future. SME's products and services are positioned to support your needs as members.

SME's leadership is focused on both our current and future needs. One example of their planning is the support of a recent white paper on manufacturing education developed by the SME Task Force on Higher Education, which was chaired by LaRoux Gillespie, our current vice president.

In response to recommendations from the recently submitted report from the task force to the SME Board of Directors and Executive Committee, initial work toward establishing an SME Center for Education has begun. The primary mission of the center is to coordinate the many existing groups that impact higher education in manufacturing, and to foster synergy and communication among them. A development team consisting of Robert Mott, PE; Winston Erevelles, PhD; and Mark Stratton, member and industry relations manager for the Manufacturing Education & Research Community, has generated a definition of the concept, purposes, and initial strategies for the center. Mott will lead the group in its endeavors.

This team's primary task is to strategize how to define and establish the means of coordinating SME's higher education activities—to get the white paper's recommendations to go from words into actions within the next two years. The team will monitor and report twice a year to the Executive Committee on how SME is doing relative to the recommended actions, and will also assist in the implementation of the recommended actions. In addition, the task force will also define any additional needs to be filled beyond the original two-year target. In the larger sense, the team's goal is to make change happen by working with staff and volunteers. The emphasis is not to issue a report, but to help make things happen.

As we move into this new decade, we, as members of this great industry, must take the example of the higher education task force seriously and act. Act on what we need personally to advance our own careers, and act on how we can help return manufacturing to its rightful prominence in our economy. Now is not the time to stand on the sidelines and reflect on the past. We must visualize the future and be part of the solution.

How are you using the Society and its products and services? The resources of members and support staff who: meet locally through chapters, virtually though the Technical Community Network, sustain manufacturing on a national level though its certifications, attend events (both live and virtual), contribute articles to Manufacturing Engineering magazine and its Yearbooks, engage in developing current manufacturing professionals through the work of the SME Task Force on Higher Education, and future manufacturing professionals through the great work of the SME Education Foundation, which assists in the progression of the manufacturing profession.

You can and should be a part of the solution through active membership in the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. Are you?


Senior SME Member Named "Engineers Canada Fellow"

Waguih H. ElMaraghy, PhD, PE, a professor and head of the Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Systems Engineering at the University of Windsor, has been named a Fellow of Engineers Canada ElMaraghyat the nomination of Professional Engineers Ontario. Along with the right to use the FEC designation, ElMaraghy received a lapel pin and a certificate citing his recognition "in honor of exceptional contributions to the engineering profession in Canada" from Engineers Canada President Dan Motyka at a gala celebration in Toronto on November 27, 2009. Engineers Canada is the national organization of the 12 provincial and territorial associations that regulate the practice of engineering in Canada, and license the country's more than 160,000 professional engineers.

ElMaraghy, an SME member since 1984, is the author of more than 200 publications and more than 100 industry reports, in addition to several patents and five coedited books. He is currently teaching and supervising master's and PhD students, while continuing to actively participate and present research results and keynote papers nationally and internationally. In his academic career, ElMaraghy has guided 37 master's students, 17 doctoral students, five postdoctoral fellows, and numerous undergraduate students.

The Society congratulates Professor ElMaraghy on this great accomplishment, and wishes him continued success in all his endeavors.


Tech Group Grows to More Than 400 Members

The Lean to Green Sustainability Tech Group, which is part of SME's Product & Process Design and Management Community, continues to attract members and facilitate learning and collaboration related to the synergies of lean and green practices. The group currently has more than 400 SME members, mainly from the US and Canada, but also from the UK, Australia, Mexico, Iran, Venezuela, the Philippines, and Romania. In 2010, the tech group will be chaired by Pete Myhrum, president of Conformance Management Associates LLC and an SME member since 2006. Tech group activities include: frequent webinars on lean to green topics, and participation and development of SME's annual Lean to Green Manufacturing Conference. According to SME's Member and Industry Relations Manager Terry Begnoche, "Many of our member leaders believe that lean and green are synergistic, and that by integrating initiatives, one has a better chance to learn and move toward more sustainable manufacturing enterprises. Through the Lean to Green Sustainability Tech Group we will continue to advance this learning movement as best we can."   

Michigan Company Recognized for Its Continued Support

2007 Oakland-Macomb No. 69 chair John Dinovski, CMfgE (left), presents Kevin West (right), vice president of Michigan Production Machining, with a plaque in appreciation of its support for Oakland-Macomb No. 69 certification review programs.Oakland-Macomb No. 69 recently recognized Michigan Production Machining for its continued support of SME's local certification review programs. For the past three years, Michigan Production Machining has encouraged its employees to become certified as a Certified Manufacturing Technologist (CMfgT) and Certified Manufacturing Engineering (CMfgE), and has provided facilities on the weekend for review classes and tests proctored by volunteers from Oakland-Macomb No. 69. The chapter has offered classes at Oakland Community College in Auburn Hills, MI, and at Michigan Production Machining to make the classes as convenient and appealing as possible to those interested in certification. According to Bob Petrach, CMfgE, 2008 chapter chair and review course instructor of Oakland-Macomb No. 69, certified members tend to become more involved and better ambassadors for SME. In fact, Petrach became more actively engaged in Oakland-Macomb No. 69 after noticing the review course offering in a chapter bulletin. He subsequently became certified as a CMfgT and later as a CMfgE.

Michigan Production Machining supplies General Motors, Chrysler, New Venture Gear, American Axle, Metaldyne, and Ford Motor Co. with a fully integrated combination of machining services including R&D, prototype production and high-volume production.


First Additive Manufacturing Industry Standard Developed

In an effort to eliminate the confusion over terminology, design, testing methods, materials, and processing differences, SME's Rapid Technologies & Additive Manufacturing Community approached ASTM International to develop the additive manufacturing industry's first-ever standards. ASTM, in turn, formed the Committee F42 on Additive Manufacturing, including members of the RTAM Community, to write new standards. The initial result is the publication, "ASTM F2792 - 09 Standard Terminology for Additive Manufacturing Technologies," now available for purchase online. Prior to this publication, the lack of consensus within the additive manufacturing community often boiled down to something as basic as the name of the industry itself. RTAM/SME member Brent Stucker, PhD, an associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Utah State University, who chaired the Committee F42, says that terminology standards "will help clarify communications," especially in industries like medical manufacturing and aerospace where consistency is a must. According to ASTM, these new standards will "allow manufacturers to compare and contrast the performance of different additive processes" and "enable researchers and process developers to provide repeatable results."

In addition to terminology, Committee F42 will also develop other key industry standards. "Test methods will more than likely be our next effort, but additive manufacturing industry design, materials, and processes are also in the works and will be developed in parallel," says Stucker.

To purchase a copy of this new standard and to support SME's work on developing them, visit, click on the ASTM button, and type "additive manufacturing" in the search field to locate F 2792-09.


We offer access to technical knowledge?

SME webinars are Web-based presentations that connect people to knowledge. You can participate in them from anywhere...all you need is a computer, the Internet, and a phone.


Webinar Advantages

  • No travel required.
  • Share manufacturing knowledge in a user-friendly platform.
  • Discuss current topics, industry trends, and developments.
  • Present up-to-date technical expertise on niche industries, materials, and applications.
  • Case studies from manufacturing practitioners.
  • Learn about solutions to ongoing problems.
  • Participation results in valuable takeaways for a minimal time investment.
  • Engage with fellow SME members.
  • Reach and recruit prospective new members.


Webinar Details

  • Hosted by the Technical Community Network (TCN), technical event committees, or professional development teams.
  • Topics are selected by industry practitioners within the TCN.
  • Post questions via the chat panel or live Q & A.


Recent webinars include:

  • Overview of Nanotechnology Developments in the UK and China
  • Atomic Force Microscopy: Enabling Characterization of Biological Structures and Forces at the Nanoscale?
  • Micro Molding with Resorbable Materials
  • Advanced Composites for Industry
  • Cell Layout Planning
  • Lean Manufacturing Expertise Applied in Healthcare

Visit to learn about upcoming webinars or access our extensive webinar archive.


This article was first published in the February 2010 edition of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. 

Published Date : 2/1/2010

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