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The Smart Manufacturing Experience Brings Hands-On Learning to Boston
April 17, 2018      

Events around industrial automation have proliferated in the past few years, but few offer much in the way of practical, hands-on experience. The Smart Manufacturing Experience will combine a focus on specific aspects of manufacturing with a variety of interactive events.

The Smart Manufacturing Experience will be held from April 30 to May 2, 2018, at the Boston Convention Center.

Focus on mindful machines

In Europe, the term “Industry 4.0” includes initiatives involving the government, academia, and industry. Others refer the “factory of the future,” which encompasses manufacturing advances with automation and artificial intelligence.

According to the Smart Manufacturing Experience organizers, smart manufacturing “encompasses the tools and processes that allow manufacturers to see and react in real time — with analytics — to the performance of their machines and integrated systems.”

This can lead to “improved productivity, increased energy efficiency, higher-quality products, safer plant floors, and better employment opportunities,” the event organizers said.

The global smart manufacturing market is estimated to reach $395.2 billion by 2025 — up from $172.34 billion, predicts a Grand View Research study.

In addition to automation and robotics, the Smart Manufacturing Experience will focus on the following advanced manufacturing technologies:

  • Additive manufacturing and 3D printing
  • Advanced materials
  • Precision machining
  • Precision measurement and 3D scanning
  • Digital manufacturing
  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and big data

The Smart Manufacturing Experience will show how these technologies can “provide full factory visibility, asset tracking, product lifecycle management, enhanced part geometries, improved part performance, reduced complexity, lights-out manufacturing, repeatable quality, responsive work environments, and more.”

Conference sessions at the Smart Manufacturing Experience

In his opening keynote, Jeff Ma, senior director of business insights and business project manager at Twitter, will discuss how big data and setting goals can improve employee productivity.

Technology futurist Jack Shaw will present case studies demonstrating how intelligent systems are transforming business, commerce, and society. Examples of such systems include “autonomic supply chains” and “self-configuring business ecosystems.”

Debbie Holton, vice president of events and industry strategy at SME

The Smart Manufacturing Experience presents numerous opportunities to learn about how factories can benefit from new technologies.

In addition, following the concept of the popular TED Talks, the Smart Manufacturing Experience’s SMARTx Tech Talks will feature speakers from Microsoft, GE Ventures, and the MIT Sloan School of Management.

The talks will include discussions of practical applications of AI and cloud computing in U.S. manufacturing.

The main conference presentations are designed to help attendees understand and implement advanced manufacturing technologies. These expert sessions at the Smart Manufacturing Experience will be 30 minutes long.

Interactive experiences

The Mixed Reality Experience put on by the VR/AR Association, PTC, and Mechdyne will let you engage with virtual, augmented, and mixed reality technologies to see how machines, systems, and data can be integrated. VR and AR demonstrations will show applications of machine learning in live factory analytics, virtual machines, and modeling and simulation.

Workshops at the Smart Manufacturing Experience will expose attendees to technologies from the show floor, as well as innovations in additive manufacturing, automation, and more.

Speaking of the show floor, exhibitors will also be presenting small group sessions called “Knowledge Bars.” This allows people to ask questions and get answers that directly connect available technologies to their needs.

The Learning Lab at the Smart Manufacturing Experience will include presentations on trends, business cases, and new products that can benefit businesses.

A team competition will enable students to design a Mars Rover to carry out two missions: carrying a payload over rocky terrain and carrying a payload over sandy terrain. The team with the most creative logo will be recognized.

Networking opportunities

As much as the Smart Manufacturing Experience is intended to help manufacturers learn about new technologies, it’s also designed to help you meet peers, speakers, exhibitors, and sponsors.

There will be an event floor reception on Monday, April 30. In addition, on Tuesday, May 1, the will be a “Smart Social” involving multiple locations in Boston’s Seaport District.

Smart Manufacturing Experience sponsors and partners

The Smart Manufacturing Experience’s co-sponsors are SME, a nonprofit and professional association for advancing the manufacturing industry in North America, and the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT). Founding partners include Mazak, The Robert E. Morris Co., Methods Machine Tools Inc., and IMTS (the International Manufacturing Technology Show).

Robert E. Morris and Methods Machine Tools will feature some of their best-known product lines, including 3D Systems, Desktop Metal, Okuma, and Matsurra. Mazak will show how the factory at its U.S. headquarters is digitally connected and enabled by MTConnect.

“These companies are committed to advancing manufacturing productivity, performance, and profitability using smart manufacturing technologies throughout the manufacturing value chain,” said Debbie Holton, vice president, SME Events & Industry Strategy.

Click here for the full Smart Manufacturing Experience schedule, and you can register online here.

Companies can also inquire online about opportunities to exhibit at the event.