Will Engaging Students Revitalize Advanced Manufacturing?

Partners of the Smartforce Student Summit Challenges at IMTS 2016 sure think so.


Mechatronics students assemble a water jet in the WARDJet Build It! Challenges at the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS 2016.

WARDJet gave away two water jets totaling $200,000 in value. WARDJet founder and owner, Rich Ward said, “We are excited about the impact this event (organizer of the Student Summit’s Build It!) had on educating students and professionals alike. Our team is confident we will continue to have an active role in supporting the revitalization of manufacturing in the coming years.”

The Gene Haas Foundation (GHF) used the Student Summit to announce its $100,000 in scholarships to 100 high schools that applied and attended the summit. The GHF offers scholarships to high schools, community colleges and special education programs that help build skills within the machining industry and is dedicated to countering the misperceptions around careers in manufacturing and reducing the skills gap of a qualified workforce.

Advanced manufacturers and organizations engaged 17,000+ visitors during the summit.

Challenge Partners

“We are eternally grateful to the Smartforce Student Summit partners. They invested considerable time and money underscoring their commitment to help prepare young people for dynamic careers in advanced manufacturing as well as promoting the industry’s state-of-the-art work places, excellent compensation, and opportunities to enhance one’s quality of life and the economy. The large amount of engaged visitors in the summit affirms the satisfaction people gained from making complicated things and hopefully will contribute to a surge in students pursuing STEM education and careers,” said Greg Jones, AMT Vice President, Smartforce Development.

More about the WARDJet’s Build It! Challenge
This event attracted more than 200 students and industry professionals to compete in a water jet cutting machine build-off competitions for a chance to win a WARDJet water jet. Abuzz with activity all week long, neighboring exhibitors called security to corral WARDJet visitors closer to their booth space!

Over the course of the show, school teams assembled the WARDKit 5×5 water jet six times and professional teams put together the E-1515 waterjet five times As the waterjet machines were completed, WARDJet’s experts scored the machines based on assembly precision, mechanical and electrical skills, overall build quality, and machine motion.

The Winners
Rich Ward enthusiastically announced the winners: Missouri University of Science and Technology machining lab led by Jeff Heniff and John Mullett of Laureate Machine and Automation. All water jets need a pump and AMT member, IMTS exhibitor and WARDJet partner Hypertherm provided the HyPrecision™ 30 pump and is included in the prize for Missouri S&T.

Jeff Heniff, a research engineering technician at the university’s Rock Mechanics and Explosives Research Center, said, “We are ecstatic! This new machine will replace outdated equipment and bring us to the forefront of water jet technology. Having worked with waterjet technology since 1968 and advancing its many uses, we understand and appreciate the value of this gift. Our students are looking forward to incorporating it into national design competitions.”

Located in Leipsic, Ohio, Laureate Machine and Automation offers fabrication for a variety of industries and is looking forward to adding abrasive water jet to their list of capabilities.

Find out more about the competition at WARDJet’s website.

Categories: Smartforce

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