Labs Teach Students and Educators about Smart Manufacturing Technologies and More

For educators, classroom-style Learning Labs offer instruction on smart manufacturing technologies and high-end technology, and students can interact with equipment on the show floor’s smaller Learning Labs. 


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STEM students rely on their educators to teach them as much as possible about manufacturing technology, but educators can only teach as much as they know and their skillsets allow. That’s why the Smartforce Student Summit (North Building, Hall C) has added Learning Labs to its plethora of available tools for both educators and student attendees. 

“At the Student Summit, we think it’s important to educate STEM teachers so that they know where manufacturing is headed and will teach their students what they learn,” says Greg Jones, vice president of Smartforce development at AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology.

For educators, classroom-style Learning Labs offer instruction on smart manufacturing technologies and high-end technology, including fifth-axis machining, machine control connectivity, MT Connect, robotics, and additive and collaborative manufacturing. Educators will also come away from some of these learning sessions with a NIMS Certificate.

“We feel earning a NIMS Certificate is one more reason why school administrators should allow their teachers to come to the Student Summit; they can get something out of it as well,” Jones says. “We have never done this at past summits.”

There are also smaller, interactive Learning Labs for students that take place right at a piece of  equipment, such as a robot, a CNC machine, a coordinate measuring machine (CMM), a CAD/CAM design station, a programmable logic controller (PLC) or in an augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) environment.

The Student Mentor Lab area, also new to the summit this year, is where high school students and college students bring their projects to this special section of the summit to demonstrate their engineering projects to the younger student attendees on a peer-to-peer level.

“The Student Mentor Lab area is designed to create an interest in STEM and project-based learning,” Jones says. “The Student Mentor lab includes a high-mileage-vehicle project from students from District 214; a Baja car from Purdue University students; VEX Robotics; a robotics team from Southern Illinois University; high school seniors form the RAMTEC schools in Ohio with robotics and programmable logic controllers (PLCs); and Team 135, the Black Knights FIRST Robotics Team from Penn High School in Mishawaka, Indiana.”