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Press Release

SME’s 2018 Digital Manufacturing Challenge Seeks Student Designs

(DEARBORN, Mich.) — SME — an organization dedicated to developing the future manufacturing workforce — has announced its 2018 Digital Manufacturing Challenge. Now in its tenth year, this annual student competition, sponsored by SME’s Direct Digital Manufacturing Tech Group, seeks innovative automotive aftermarket parts, chemicals, equipment and accessories designs that integrate and implement the best of digital design, additive and subtractive tools/technologies.


“Even after 10 years, we continue to be amazed by the highly creative submissions we’ve received from the students,” said Carl Dekker, president, Met-L-Flo Inc., and chair of SME’s Direct Digital Manufacturing Tech Group. “Not only is this a great way for them to utilize their problem-solving skills, it also gives the students invaluable hands-on experience with designing for additive manufacturing production.”  

Using an additive manufacturing process known as direct digital manufacturing (DDM), previous winners have created many notable designs, including customized golf grips, drones for bridges, prosthetic legs for dogs, handgrips, rechargeable remotes and surgical knee braces.

Students from both high school and colleges/universities are invited to submit designs. The two categories are judged separately by a panel of industry experts based on:

  • Functionality and durability.
  • Cost-benefit/value analysis.
  • Utilization of DDM material and processes.
  • Design integration and innovation.
  • Marketing
  • Social and environmental impact.

The winning team(s) will receive a travel stipend, complimentary student memberships and conference passes to SME’s RAPID + TCT event, April 23-26, 2018, in Fort Worth, Texas.

Design submission are due Feb. 26, 2018. Complete details are available at

About SME

SME connects all those who are passionate about making things that improve our world. As a nonprofit organization, SME has served practitioners, companies, educators, government and communities across the manufacturing spectrum for more than 80 years. Through its strategic areas of events, media, membership, training and development, and the SME Education Foundation, SME is uniquely dedicated to the advancement of manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skills needed for the industry. Learn more at, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or


If you have questions about the press release or need additional information, please contact SME Public Relations at