thumbnail group

Connect With Us:

ME Channels / SME Speaks

SME Speaks: Manufacturing Innovation is Transformative

 Dennis S. Bray

By Dennis S. Bray, PhD, FSME
Society of Manufacturing Engineers


In 1999, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) began considering the concept of technical communities, and in 2003, launched its Technical Community Network (TCN).

The concept behind the TCN was to bring together manufacturing professionals with similar interests and expertise to share their technical knowledge and advance the state of the art. One such Technical Community was the Rapid Technologies & Additive Manufacturing Community. This group came together to bring additive manufacturing to the forefront, and to show how the use of additive manufacturing can help conceive, prototype, improve, and manufacture new products and bring them to market faster.

SME continues to promote and support this growing field of additive manufacturing. The SME RAPID event, with the help of the RTAM Community, has become the premier event for additive manufacturing. This event brings together companies, organizations, and individuals to focus on additive manufacturing and how it can impact the way we make things. Recently, the US Department of Commerce and Department of Defense announced the formation of the new National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) in Youngstown, Ohio.

As part of this new intiative, a $30 million grant was awarded to the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) as a partnership between dozens of companies, universities and nonprofit organizations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The goal of this pilot institute is to increase the successful transition of additive manufacturing technology to manufacturing enterprises within the US. SME will be heavily involved in technology transition and dissemination, and the education and training of practitioners through the institute.

Additive manufacturing is one way manufacturers can change or innovate the way we make the things that society needs and wants. The new additive manufacturing institute will focus on these innovative possibilities. So what is manufacturing innovation all about? We know that manufacturing is more than just buildings and equipment. Today’s competitive manufacturing requires increasing use of technology, new materials and processes, and ever-increasing people skills. Manufacturing innovation can have many definitions, but a simple one is: manufacturing innovation transforms science and technology into production capabilities. This is exactly where SME can be the most beneficial to its members, companies and educational institutions interested in manufacturing innovation. SME provides access to knowledge, resources, opportunities and expertise that can help solve a problem today, show possible new solutions for the future and inspire the next generation to become actively engaged in the fast-changing field of manufacturing.

Manufacturing innovation requires lifelong learning. We cannot just rely on what we learned in the past and expect to solve today’s manufacturing challenges. Technology and global competition are moving too fast. Learning comes in many forms. SME provides a wide range of opportunities for individuals and companies to have access to the latest manufacturing knowledge through a variety of media outlets along with resources that provide training and education. Tooling U’s online instruction, along with SME’s professional development resources, provide access to a wide range of new knowledge that can help a company be competitive or enhance an individual’s career. SME’s membership and Technical Community Network provide access to manufacturing expertise.

While the aging workforce continues to lend its seasoned expertise to manufacturing, it’s essential that the youth know and understand that there are exciting opportunities available to them in manufacturing where they can unleash their creativity. The Society, its Education Foundation and large membership base are continuing to bring the importance of manufacturing to the forefront through various programs, including scholarships (largest being $70,000), new PRIME program (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education), student competitions (SkillsUSA) and sponsoring shows such as The Edge Factor.

NAMRC 40I encourage you to visit to learn more about the exciting activities taking place at SME and in manufacturing in general. Together, we can all make a difference in creating manufacturing innovation by bringing emerging technologies and new manufacturing practices to the forefront, while continuing to promote manufacturing and its advantages along with enhancing the skills of individuals who are engaged in manufacturing.

400 Attendees, Rich Technical Content and Outstanding Research High Notes of NAMRC 40
The University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN) was the site of the 40th North American Manufacturing Conference (NAMRC 40), June 4–8, where nearly 400 attendees met to advance the scientific foundation of discrete-parts manufacturing. For the second year, NAMRC was jointly held with ASME’s Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference, as well as the International Research Group on Tribology in Manufacturing. On hand as one of the keynotes was Michael Molnar, FSME, CMfgE, PE, chief manufacturing officer of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST: Gaithersburg, MD). Molnar is currently serving as SME’s vice president.

Various technical topics covered during the conference included machining, sheetmetal stamping, micromachining, rapid prototyping, sustainable manufacturing, welding and joining. In addition to the vast technical content available for attendees, there were several key awards given out during the conference:

2012 NAMRI/SME S.M. Wu Research Implementation Award
Scott Smith, PhD, FSME, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Jerry Halley, Tech Manufacturing (Wright City, MO); and Robert Wilhelm, PhD, University of North Carolina at Charlotte; were recognized for their research on applied high-speed machining technology and novel toolpath planning approaches to machine solid billets of material to typical sheetmetal thicknesses, enabling cost-effective machining of complex monolithic structures with extremely thin walls and unsupported floors. This technology directly led to the widespread replacement of aircraft structural elements previously fabricated by riveting of many complex sheetmetal stampings with lighter, stronger, more robust and less-expensive monolithic components.

The NAMRI/SME S.M. Wu Research Implementation Award recognizes an individual or team who presented outstanding original research at NAMRC, which subsequently, upon implementation, had a significant commercial and/or societal impact.

2012 NAMRI/SME Outstanding Lifetime Service Award
This award honors distinguished members for their long-term dedication and contributions to NAMRI/SME. The 2012 awardee was Richard L. Kegg, PhD, FSME, CMfgE, Milacron Inc. (Cincinnati).

2012 NAMRI/SME Founders Lecture
The Founders Lecture was established to honor individuals who served on the NAMRC Scientific Committee from 1973–81 and those members who founded NAMRI/SME when it was officially established, as well as other distinguished contributors to manufacturing who have been actively involved with NAMRC for at least 20 years. J T. Black, PhD, FSME, professor, industrial and systems engineering, Auburn University (Clemson, SC) presented the 2012 Founders Lecture on “The Engineer’s High Privilege.”

2012 Student Research Presentation Awards
The award recognizes students for the quality of their presentation organization and oral and visual effectiveness. The 2012 winners are:
First Place—Timothy Rodts, Notre Dame University
Honorable Mention—Yayue Pan, University of Southern California (Los Angeles) and Jeremy Rickli, Virginia Tech (Blacksburg, VA)

2012 NAMRI/SME Outstanding Paper Award
The NAMRI/SME Outstanding Paper Award recognizes both the engineering value and industrial relevance of a publication presented at NAMRC. The winners are:
First Place—“Experimental Investigation and Characterization of Nano-scale Dry Electro-machining,” M. Jahan, A. Malshe, and K.P. Rajurkar
First Runner-Up—“A Prototype Printer for Laser Driven Micro-Transfer Printing,” P. Ferreira, R. Saeidpourazar, M.D. Sangid and J.A. Rogers
Second Runner-Up—“Simulative Testing of Friction and Lubrication in Cold Forging of Aluminum and Steel,” E. Ceron, N. Bay, T. Aida, K. Dohda and T.E. Nicolaisen
NAMRC 41 and MSEC 2013 will be held June 10–14, 2013, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Madison, WI). Abstract submissions are due on November 1. To learn more, visit

2013 PRIME Locations Announced
In 2011, the SME Education Foundation (SME-EF) launched the PRIME (Partnership Response in Manufacturing Education) program, which recognizes exemplary manufacturing education programs at the high school level throughout the US. PRIME is designed to promote and support strong partnerships between the schools, local industry and communities they serve. The six schools nominated for the program’s inaugural 2011–12 school year were located in: Chicago; Dayton, OH; Indianapolis; Kansas City, MO; Oklahoma City, OK; and Los Angeles. Schools were chosen based on a set of select criteria: an existing exemplary manufacturing curriculum, skilled and dedicated instructors, engaged and active students, and connectivity to the local manufacturing base. This year, the Foundation selected an additional nine schools bringing the total to 15 PRIME schools for the 2012–13 school year:
Bradley Tech High School (Milwaukee)
Calera High School (Calera, AL)
Esperanza High School (Anaheim, CA)
Petaluma High School (Petaluma, CA)
Cedar Falls High School (Cedar Falls, IA)
McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology (Indianapolis)
Westfield Vocational Technical High School (Westfield, MA)
Jackson Area Career Center (Jackson, MI)
Centerville High School (Dayton, OH)
Hawthorne High School (Los Angeles)
Wheeling High School (Chicago)
Walker Career Center (Indianapolis)
Summit Technology Academy (Kansas City, MO)
Kettering Fairmont High School (Dayton, OH)
Francis Tuttle Technology Center (Oklahoma City, OK)
For more information on this program and how you can help, visit

This article first appeared in the October issue of Manufacturing Engineering magazine. A PDF of the original article can be found here.

Published Date : 10/1/2012

Editor's Picks

Advanced Manufacturing Media - SME
U.S. Office  |  One SME Drive, Dearborn, MI 48128  |  Customer Care: 800.733.4763  |  313.425.3000
Canadian Office  |  7100 Woodbine Avenue, Suite 312, Markham, ON, L3R 5J2  888.322.7333
Tooling U  |   3615 Superior Avenue East, Building 44, 6th Floor, Cleveland, OH 44114  |  866.706.8665