SME has supported manufacturing for nearly 90 years, from our founding as the American Society of Tool Engineers to our evolution as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1969 to becoming SME in 2013. Working closely with manufacturing professionals, companies, educators, schools and communities, we share knowledge and resources that generate solutions to manufacturing industry challenges.
A Rich History of Supporting Manufacturing
SME was created as a professional membership organization but has grown beyond that to serve the manufacturing industry even more broadly with events, workforce development and media products
The Beginning of SME
American Society of Tool Engineers is Born
Amid the Great Depression, the American Society of Tool Engineers is founded by 33 tool engineers in Detroit on March 31, 1932. Joseph A. Siegel serves as the Society’s first president.
First Female Becomes a Member
In 1936, the Society receives its first female member, Margaret Irene Cecil, who served as secretary of the first student chapter at the Detroit College of Applied Science.
First Tool Show Held
ASTE holds its first tool show – the ASTE Machine Tool and Progressive Exhibition – at Convention Hall in Detroit in 1938.
First Technical Book Published
“The Tool Engineers Handbook” is the first book published by the Society in 1948; by 1955, more than 65,000 copies of the book were sold. In 1976, it transitioned to the all-encompassing “Tool and Manufacturing Engineering Handbook.”
Society Establishes Honor Awards
The SME International Honor Awards were established in 1954. On March 14, 1955, in Los Angeles, the awards were presented to the first set of honorees at the Society’s Annual Meeting. Then and now, these awards recognize individuals for their manufacturing career achievements in and service to the Society.
SME Changes Manufacturing Industry
First Western Metal and Tool Exposition Conference is Held
March 16-20, 1964, in Los Angeles, the first Western Metal and Tool Exposition and Conference is held. There were more than 25,000 attendees at the conference.
Society Changes its Name
Effective September 4, 1969, the American Society of Tool and Manufacturing Engineers (1960-69) legally became known as the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
SME Launches New Certification Program
In January 1972, the SME Board of Directors approved in initiation of a new certification. At the time, over 1,500 manufacturing engineers were approved and certified as certified manufacturing engineers (CMfgE).
Manufacturing Engineering® Magazine Makes its Debut
In January 1976, Manufacturing Engineering magazine made its official debut. The magazine was previously published under the following titles: “ASTE Journal” (1932-35), “The Tool Engineer” (1936-60), “The Tool and Manufacturing Engineer” (1961-69) and “Manufacturing Engineering and Management” (1970-75).
SME Creates Education Foundation
In April 1979, the SME Manufacturing Engineering Education Foundation was formed to act as a catalyst in providing financial and technical support to a broad range of educational institutions. It’s now known as the SME Education Foundation.
FABTECH International Introduced
FABTECH International, a new conference and expo for the metal fabrication industry, makes its debut Feb. 14, 1981, in Cleveland with 161 exhibitors. SME and the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association were FABTECH’s original co-sponsors.
Charter Class of SME Fellows Inducted
The charter class of SME Fellows were inducted on May 19, 1986. The 97 new fellows are a distinguished group made up of all previous International Honor Award recipients.
RP&M Conference & Exposition Unveiled
In 1991, this three-day conference and trade show was designed to bring together all rapid prototyping vendors, suppliers, service bureaus and end-users under one roof to provide advanced product development solutions for groundbreaking technology. Event is now known as RAPID + TCT focusing on 3D printing, scanning and additive manufacturing.
SME's Latest Impact
SME’s Canadian Office is Formed
SME acquires the Reed Exhibitions’ Industrial Group of Trade Shows on January 19, 2007, forming its Canadian office. Included in the transaction are the Montreal Plant Maintenance & Design Engineering Show, Western Manufacturing Technology Show, Canadian Manufacturing Technology Show, Advanced Manufacturing Expo, Montreal Manufacturing Technology Show, Southwestern Ontario Industrial Show and Canadian Manufacturing Week.
SME Acquires Tooling U to Expand Training Outreach
On October 14, 2010, SME attained Tooling University LLC. Following the acquisition, Tooling University became Tooling U-SME. It continues its operations in Cleveland.
SME Education Foundation Prepares for the Future
On Oct. 24, 2011, the Foundation established its Partnership Response In Manufacturing Education (PRIME®) program. PRIME provides a comprehensive, community-based approach to manufacturing education with a strong partnerships among organizations, businesses and exemplary schools.
New Brand Repositions SME As All Things Manufacturing
On June 3, 2013, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers discontinued the use of its full, legal name and became known solely as SME. This organizational shift connects SME to an even wider group of people in manufacturing, as well as allows the continuation of addressing critical needs, such as the shortage of engineers, technologists and technicians already impacting most manufacturing industries today, and preparing the current and next-generation workforce for the advanced technologies of tomorrow.
New Smart Manufacturing Magazine Launched
On May 3, 2016, the first issue of SME’s Smart Manufacturing magazine was launched. The inaugural issue honored the leading thinkers, makers and doers in manufacturing who are helping to make the Fourth Industrial Revolution, often referred to as Industry 4.0, a reality.
SME and AMT Announce Major Partnership
SME and The Association For Manufacturing Technology announced their new major partnership on Sept. 13, 2016, to co-produce a series of regional, co-branded trade shows focused on the manufacturing technology industry. The collaboration encompassed the existing EASTEC, WESTEC, SOUTHTEC and HOUSTEX events.
SME's Previous Presidents
Since SME was formed in 1932, its esteemed community of presidents have been an important part of the organization's history and an integral part of its future. SME presidents are leaders in manufacturing and academia who contribute their technical expertise and valuable career experiences to the organization and industry.