The IMTS 2018 Smartforce Student Summit broke its previous record with 24,469 registrants, 7,000 more than the IMTS 2016 event.

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“The national conversation around STEM education has had a positive influence on our ability to attract more schools to the Student Summit,” said Greg Jones, Vice President of Smartforce Development for AMT.

The 2018 Student Summit gave students the opportunity to experience 25 different job functions available in manufacturing (view career pathways at

“Students engage with the people who are in those manufacturing jobs right now, as well as see the technology and equipment they would use on the job. Technology is making manufacturing careers cool again,” says Jones.

High school junior Kaitlyn Ludlam addressed the Student Summit as one of Top 24 Under 24 Leaders and Innovators in STEAM and Space, an annual awards program presented by The Mars Generation®.

“I've been doing a lot more with STEAM, reaching out to other kids who are being told they can't do things, especially young women” says Ludlam. “I want to help them understand that they can do these things and not to listen to people who discourage them.”

The Miles for Manufacturing 5K fun run and fundraising event on Wednesday, Sept. 12, drew a record 486 runners. The 5K run generated almost $28,000 in proceeds, which will be used to acquire a STEM kit called Bionics4Education from Festo Didactic and donated to 14 STEM middle schools in the Chicago area.

Manufacturing Brighter Futures

Inspire Students to Pursue a Career in Advanced Technology

The Smartforce Student Summit aims to introduce students and teachers from elementary through post-secondary schools to the exciting, high-tech careers in manufacturing.

New technologies, Learning Labs & Hands-on Challenges

In partnership with leading education institutions and advanced technology companies such as ABB Robotics, Carl Zeiss, Fanuc America, Festo-Didactic, Haas Automation, Heidenhain, Mastercam, Mitutoyo, and Siemens, the summit featured hands-on challenges for students and Learning Labs for teachers as well as advanced students focused on:

  • Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)
  • five-axis machining
  • collaborative robotics
  • additive manufacturing
  • generative design
  • metrology
  • MTConnect®, a communication standard for advanced manufacturing technology

Students had the opportunity to learn the workflow through the entire manufacturing process: design, 3D printing/rapid proto-typing/additive manufacturing, machine and tool monitoring, automation, robotics, measurement, data acquisition and analytics, and the Cloud.

Air-Rocket Challenge

One exciting activity for students was the 3D-printed Air-Rocket Challenge, where students explored the physics of rocket flight (launch pressure, launch angle, nose weight and tail fin configuration) by making a 3D-printed rocket and testing it in a special air-power, flight-test silo.

Additional Activities

  • Student Mentor Labs: PLCs, robotics, high-mileage vehicles, etc.
  • Apprentice competitions
  • FIRST Robotics
  • STEM and the manufacturing classroom of the future (today!)

Inspire Students to Pursue a Career in Advanced Technology

We hope you’ll consider bringing your students, their parents, and school administrators to the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2020. Their experience will certainly help them connect school with real-world challenges and may inspire them to pursue a career in advanced technology. #LetsDoThis

Photos from 2018

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