Society of Manufacturing Engineers

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) is dedicated to bringing people and information together to advance manufacturing knowledge. SME is internationally recognized by manufacturing practitioners, companies and other organizations as a source for information, education and networking.

Through their member services, publications, events, professional development resources and chapter and technical community networking activities, the Society keeps professionals up to date on trends and technologies.

Through recognition activities and industry alliances, they promote an increased awareness of manufacturing engineering and advocate for improvements and investments in education.

History of the Society

Located in Dearborn, Michigan, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers has been serving the needs of manufacturing professionals in various industries for 70 years. Founded in 1932 with 33 members, the organization was originally named The Society of Tool Engineers (STE). A year later, it was renamed the American Society of Tool Engineers (ASTE). It finally became the Society of Manufacturing Engineers in 1969. Formed amid the Great Depression by a group of tool engineers and master mechanics, the organization looked to collaborate on how to build what would give the Motor City its name - the automobile.

Here are some highlights of SME's history:

  • Jan. 30, 1932 First meeting held at Detroit College of Applied Science.
  • March 3, 1932 Organization adopts the Society of Tool Engineers (STE) as its name.
  • March 31, 1932 Society's official birthday; first constitution and bylaws are adopted.
  • May 1932 STE Journal first published, renamed The Tool Engineer in 1934 - precursor to today's Manufacturing Engineering magazine.
  • 1932 Society uses Albert M. Sargent's shop on Detroit's Woodward Ave. as its headquarters.
  • 1933 Society changes name to American Society of Tool Engineers (ASTE).
  • Oct. 21, 1935 Racine, Wisconsin becomes location of second chapter.
  • 1936 First female member joins.
  • 1938 ASTE Machine Tool and Progressive Exhibition held; 2,000 attend.
  • 1939 ASTE Machine Tool and Progressive Exhibition held; 35,000 attend.
  • 1940 Society divided into 19 regions with two chapters in each region.
  • 1941 ASTE Machine Tool and Progressive Exposition; 40,000 attend.
  • 1946 Preparing for peacetime production, 53,000 attend "New Era" Exposition in Cleveland.
  • 1957 ASTE chapters celebrate 25th anniversary with coast-to-coast closed circuit hookup to 1,100 national and chapter officers. It is the most extensive closed circuit broadcast ever undertaken.
  • 1959 Society is renamed American Society of Tool & Manufacturing Engineering (ASTME)
  • 1963 Groundbreaking ceremony for Dearborn headquarters.
  • 1963 President John F. Kennedy commends the Society and the American Society for Metals on efforts to expand metal exports through their sponsorship of the American Metalworking Technology Fair for the European Community, held in June 1964.
  • 1964 Now known as WESTEC, the first Western Metal and Tool Exposition and Conference is held in Los Angeles.
  • 1969 Vote taken to change name to Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), effective Jan. 1, 1970
  • 1970 NASA requests SME's assistance in planning for utilization of a new research facility, the Earth Orbital Space Station.
  • 1972 President Nixon invites SME to submit nomination for Presidential Prizes for Innovation
  • 1974 SME General Manager R. William Taylor represents SME at White House Special Briefing on energy crisis.
  • 1978 Groundbreaking for addition to SME headquarters.
  • 1979 With $1 million, SME launches Manufacturing Engineering Education Foundation, now known as SME Education Foundation.
  • 1980 SME Past President Dr. Eugene Merchant received first-ever George Schlesinger Prize from the City of Berlin, Germany, for his scientific research in production technology.
  • 1984 Recognizing SME's contributions to the community, President Reagan honors SME with the "C" Flag under the President's Citation Program for Private Sector Initiatives.
  • 1992 Government officials including Vice President Dan Quayle and Michigan Governor John Engler attend SME's export-focused "Made in America" exposition in Detroit.
  • 1995 WESTEC sees its one-millionth visitor.
  • 1996 Special steering committee announced to direct SME's multi-phase Manufacturing Education Plan aimed at improving manufacturing workforce.
  • 2001 In commemoration of the City of Detroit's 300th Anniversary, SME is recognized as a Detroit 300 Heritage Honoree for being one of the influential organizations founded in Detroit more than 50 years ago.
  • 2003 Society launches new Member Engagement Initiative, a new volunteer structure designed to strengthen local activities, enhance the influence of chapters, bring more young members into the Society, and provide additional leadership opportunities.
  • 2004 Recognizing need to facilitate more collaboration across the manufacturing enterprise, SME launches new Technical Community Network, including on-line formats for member dialogue and new product development.
  • 2005 SME Education Foundation celebrates 25th Anniversary.
  • 2006 Society launches the new online SME Forum, Joint Lean Certification Program with AME and Shingo Prize and the free online video channel ME TV
  • 2007 Marks the society's 75th Anniversary.


With a worldwide membership of over 30,000 practitioners, SME helps members increase their knowledge, stay on top of the latest technical information in manufacturing, develop professionally and network with others to share information and advance their industries.

Technical Community Network

SME's Technical Community Network consists of seven technical communities that represent the key areas within the manufacturing enterprise, and each includes a variety of specialized technical groups through which hundreds of members meet and collaborate regularly to advance both their individual knowledge and collective knowledge within key technology areas.

These Communities include:

  • Automated Manufacturing & Assembly Community
  • Industrial Lasers Community
  • Forming & Fabricating Community
  • Machining & Material Removal Community
  • Manufacturing Education & Research Community
  • Plastics, Composites & Coatings Community
  • Product & Process Design and Management Community
  • Rapid Technologies & Additive Manufacturing Community


Through regularly scheduled meetings and activities, SME chapters serve as local forums for networking and contact building, information sharing and problem solving. Chapters organize and sponsor plant tours, conferences, guest speakers special events and other activities. More than 200 senior chapters represent small regional areas, while student chapters are centered in another 200 educational institutions worldwide.

Events & Expositions

SME produces a variety of industry-leading events every year to provide manufacturers with forums to interact, exchange ideas, evaluate equipment and sharpen their skills. Some of its biggest expositions include:

Past Events


SME publishes several hundred educational books & videos, two peer-reviewed scholarly journals, over 17,000 technical papers, the Manufacturing Engineering magazine and it's accompanying online streaming television network METV.

In 2006, SME published the highly successful The Hitchhiker's Guide to Lean.


SME offers several industry standard certifications for professional recognition, and documentation of a member’s manufacturing-related knowledge and skills. These include the Certified Manufacturing Technologist (CMfgT), Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE), Certified Engineering Manager (CEM) and Certified Enterprise Integrator (CEI).

Awards and Recognition Programs

The SME International Awards and Recognition Programs honor outstanding accomplishments and dedication in the manufacturing community. These programs garner international recognition and prestige for the profession, its key constituents and the Society itself.

The SME International Honor Awards, the Outstanding Young Manufacturing Engineer Award, Award of Merit, Fellows program and other Society honors highlight exceptional achievements of members and non-members who have made significant contributions to the social, technological and educational progress of manufacturing. Those who are recognized truly exemplify the very best in manufacturing today. Through its world-class awards and recognition programs, the Society collaborates with the most accomplished and influential individuals, corporations and organizations around the globe to continually promote the importance of manufacturing.

Education Foundation

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers Education Foundation (SME-EF), is one of the nation’s leading non-profit organizations dedicated to advancing manufacturing education through student outreach programs, scholarships and fellowships, and college and university grants. Since 1980, the Foundation has provided millions in cash grants, scholarships and awards. The Foundation was created by SME in 1979 as a means of transforming manufacturing education in North American colleges and universities. SME-EF is a wholly-owned subsidiary of SME and governed by its own Board of Directors. It is a non-profit 501c(3) tax-exempt organization as recognized by the IRS.

See also


External links

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