Smart Manufacturing Experience – The Best of SMX

This year’s The Best of SMX, hosted by SME and AMT, will be held October 29th, 2020. The one-day, virtual event will feature the latest transformative technologies including: additive manufacturing, automation and robotics, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, data analytics, augmented and virtual reality, industrial IoT and workforce transformation.

The Best of SMX
October 29th, 2020
(Virtual Event)

We caught up with Julie Pike, event manager for The Best of SMX, and John E. Barnes, Founding ADDvisor®, Manager Director & CEO, The Barnes Global Advisors, and Additive Manufacturing Community Advisor to learn more about this year’s virtual event in an exclusive AMazing® Q&A conversation.

AMazing®: Julie, thank you for your participation. As this year’s SMX will be held online, what are some benefits of a virtual event over an in-person experience? 

Julie Pike: Yes, this year the Smart Manufacturing Experience will be presented as The Best of SMX – an immersive one-day virtual event. Both virtual and in-person events play a role in connecting the industries and communities, and manufacturing is no exception. Our goal is to continue connecting people and technology, creating a community, delivering expert-level education, that all drive to advancing the future of manufacturing – whether we’re in-person or virtual.

While there have been many variations to a virtual event already, not unlike in person events, it is all about the effort and planning that you put into delivering the right experience for your customer segments. Our goal with The Best of SMX is to provide manufacturing professionals with as many features as we can in the virtual event, that they would typically experience at our in-person events. Many features you’re used to will be included such as networking, education sessions, keynotes, panel discussions, exhibit hall booths, and our SME ZONE. The biggest positive about attending a virtual event is that you can do it from the comfort and safety of your own home.

Illustration courtesy of SME
Illustration courtesy of SME

AMazing®: John, with businesses facing a myriad of daunting challenges in today’s global economy, why is it important for small and medium businesses to stay current on smart technologies?

John E. Barnes: These highly digital and agile technologies take a bit more investment of time to fully get the value out. I think that is one reason the applications aren’t evolving faster. When companies take a more “all-in” approach, they get better economic results. The Pandemic made a swift and sudden shift to digital in all facets of our lives. Conferences went virtual, but if all you did was expect people to stare at a screen for the same format, you likely lost out as other stimuli competing for those minutes and hours. Design has slowly moved into the digital realm and with it comes nearly infinite options but each company needs to appreciate if those options have actual value to them. 

Design in AM and newer tools like topological optimization and generative design afford us the ability to use math and physics to design the lightest weight part given the loads or a series of requirements. Changing the design is really the only path to lighter weight as material substitution has been employed for decades. It’s a long way of saying that digital begets more digital so unless you get in the game, it will be easier and easier to get left out of the game.

AMazing®: AMazing has featured a number of inspiring additive manufacturing (AM) stories in response to the COVID-19 pandemic from the rapid development of critical supplies like nasopharyngeal swabs and face shields to ventilators. As additive manufacturing is defined as a digital technology, what do businesses need to understand about the digital movement and ability to be agile, innovative and quick-to-react?

John E. Barnes: Understanding AM via an organized way is the best way to understand when, how and why you would want to use it. Employing a consultant is an obvious answer, but training or a structured learning event is useful. The path of choosing a part to trial rarely succeeds. It leads to more questions. AM is also sufficiently diverse, so choosing the right process is important. We ascribe to a Maturity Model approach based on product requirements and as you escalate or increase the requirements you need to meet that with people skills and knowledge and tools.

AMazing®: Julie, what event strategies and tips would you suggest to attendees to this year’s SMX to maximize their virtual experience? 

Julie Pike: Great question! The Best of SMX team is working very hard to deliver an easy to use, intuitive, virtual event. Be sure take in the welcome videos to get a sense of things happening in each area of the event. A few things to remember – register early so that you are all set for the big day – October 29. Attendees will also have the ability to chat with our exhibitor sponsors, as well as our speakers during our Live Q&A sessions so take advantage of these opportunities to connect throughout the day. From a technology standpoint, our virtual event will work on every browser and connected device, however we suggest you do not use Internet Explorer when attending.

This concludes our interview. Thank you Julie and John for your participation. We are very grateful for the opportunity to learn about this year’s SMX.  

About SME and AMT
SME and AMT have partnered on regional manufacturing events designed to meet the needs of manufacturers in key manufacturing hubs across the U.S. As the leading manufacturing industry organizations producing events, SME and AMT provide regional venues that manufacturing professionals rely on to experience the latest technology and develop business opportunities.

About SME
SME offers resources for manufacturers, promotes advanced manufacturing technologies and works to develop a skilled workforce. We connect the most prestigious, experienced and innovative professionals in the industry. Learn more at, follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or

About AMT
AMT – The Association For Manufacturing Technology represents and promotes U.S.- based manufacturing technology – those who design, build, sell and service the continuously evolving technology that lies at the heart of manufacturing. Learn more at

Event Contacts
[email protected]

Source: SME/AMazing

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