Smart Manufacturing Training

New technologies are quickly changing the face of manufacturing, with experts predicting the global Smart Manufacturing market to reach nearly $400 billion by 2025. However, it’s no surprise that many companies are still intimidated by advanced technologies and are just now starting—or thinking about starting—their digital journey. The good news is that making the switch is easier than you think.

Our team can assist you in designing a learning plan to upskill your workforce and prepare for the latest technology. Contact us today to set up a consultation and check out the resources below to learn more about our Smart Manufacturing products, services, and expertise.

What Is Smart Manufacturing?

For any industry to evolve and thrive, its members must work together to create standards, guidelines, and common methodologies for use by everyone. In manufacturing, much of that collaboration is currently focused on Smart Manufacturing innovation, led by The Smart Manufacturing Institute, known as CESMII, which is headquartered in Los Angeles. This collaboration of researchers, architects, and practitioners, including Tooling U-SME, is working to democratize Smart Manufacturing, starting with the following common definition:


Smart Manufacturing is the information-driven, event-driven, efficient and collaborative orchestration of business, physical and digital processes within plants, factories, and across the entire value chain. ​

In Smart Manufacturing, resources and processes are integrated, monitored, and continuously evaluated with the sensing, information, process modeling, predictive analytics, and workflow needed to automate routine actions, and prescribe action for non-routine situations. ​

In Smart Manufacturing, organizations, people, and technology work in synergy via processes and technology-based solutions that are secure​, scalable​, flat and real-time​, open and interoperable​, proactive and semi-autonomous​, orchestrated and resilient​, and sustainable​.

Smart Manufacturing is transformational, radically impacting the performance of the manufacturing ecosystem through measurable improvements in areas such as: speed, agility, quality, throughput, costs/profitability, safety, asset reliability and energy productivity. ​ Consequently, improving profitability which in turn accelerates investments in innovation.

Smart Manufacturing Online Classes

Tooling U-SME is the leader in online manufacturing training. With over 500 titles, our classes are content rich, with animations, videos, vocabulary, quizzes, and tests that facilitate engagement and retention. Over 50 of our current classes focus on Smart Manufacturing, with more in development.


Extended Reality Technology

Also known as XR Tech, this form of mixed reality environment includes many types of hardware and software. In the coming months, Tooling U-SME will be debuting a new learning product that utilizes XR Technology. The development of this new type of learning has been made possible through a grant from the Department of Defense. Read more about it in these press releases:

Tooling U-SME Awarded DoD Workforce and Education Grant

Tooling U-SME Partners with NCDMM and TPMA to Support a New DoD Manufacturing Engineering Initiative

Extended Reality Technologies in Manufacturing Training


Additive Manufacturing Certifications

The Additive Manufacturing Fundamentals Certification and Additive Manufacturing Technician Certification are the first and only certifications validating an individual’s knowledge in additive manufacturing, as defined by hundreds of leaders in the industry.


Smart Manufacturing White Papers


SME Media

SME’s Smart Manufacturing Magazine focuses on advanced manufacturing technologies and tools that are driven or enhanced by integrated information technology. Smart Manufacturing is available free of charge to qualified subscribers in the US.


Smart Manufacturing Industry Events

RAPID + TCT is North America’s largest and most important additive manufacturing event.

Smart Manufacturing Experience is an immersive event focused on interactive learning and technology demonstrations, plus visionary keynotes.

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Smart Manufacturing Vocabulary

Of Tooling U-SME’s over 500 online classes, more than 50 are categorized within the Smart Manufacturing Functional Area, with more being added quarterly. Within our current classes, we have defined thousands of vocabulary terms dealing with additive, robotics, and the Internet of Things.

Do you think you know Smart Manufacturing? Below are 50 common Smart Manufacturing terms. How many are new to you?

Vocabulary Term Definition

3D printing

The process of producing a 3D object using a specialized tool that creates successive layers of material. 3D printing must technically involve the use of a print head or nozzle, but the term is often used interchangeably with additive manufacturing (AM).

activation function

A logical rule that determines how nodes in a neural network calculate inputs and produce outputs. Activation functions determine a neural network's level of complexity.

additive manufacturing

AM. The process of successively layering materials to make an object based on a three-dimensional (3D) computer model. Additive manufacturing allows for rapid prototyping, mass customization, and increased part complexity.


A mathematical process designed to systematically solve a problem. Complex digital algorithms allow machine learning to predict and regulate operations.

augmented reality

AR. A technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a view of the real world. Augmented reality methods maybe be used with smart safety goggles to visually alert the wearer to potential hazards.

Big Data

A valuable collection of information from the devices or assets in an operation. Big Data can be analyzed to reveal patterns and make calculations.


A growing list of digital records, called blocks, that are linked. Blockchain technology is a decentralized, distributed ledger that records the origin of a digital asset.

capacitive proximity sensors

A proximity sensor that detects a target based on changes in an electrostatic field. Capacitive proximity sensors can detect targets made of any material with a higher dielectric constant than air.

coefficient of thermal expansion

The degree to which a material increases in size as temperatures increase. Coefficient of thermal expansion is an important material physical property.

collaborative robotics

A subset of robotics that focuses on enabling robots to work closely with human operators. Collaborative robotics is often a cost-effective alternative to traditional automation.

computer tomography

A scanning procedure that utilizes specialized X-ray equipment to generate detailed geometric information about an object. Computer tomography can be used to gather information about the internal features of a part as well as its external features.

computer-aided design

CAD. Computer software used to create a digital model of a part before it goes into prototyping or production. Computer-aided design models are converted to an STL format for use by additive manufacturing (AM) machines.

computer-aided manufacturing

CAM. The use of computer software that facilitates the development of part programs to produce a part. Computer-aided manufacturing software applications create an image of the workpiece and develop the program code from information that the programmer inputs.


Cyber-physical system. A hardware device that links physical objects and processes with virtual objects and processes in an interconnected network. A CPS increases the capabilities of a device.

deep learning

An advanced form of machine learning that uses neural networks with multiple hidden layers. Deep learning algorithms can enable machines to exhibit advanced, human-like behaviors but require significant amounts of data.

design for manufacturing

DFM. The methodology of planning, testing, and creating a part that functions correctly and is easy to manufacture. Design for manufacturing, also known as design for manufacturability, involves considering part functionality and the limits of the manufacturing process.

digital light processing

DLP. A vat photopolymerization process that uses a specialized device to create an entire part layer in one flash of light. Digital light processing builds parts more quickly than some other vat photopolymerization processes.

digital supply chain

DSC. A web-based network of computers, companies, and systems that exchange resources to deliver products to customers. A digital supply chain connects suppliers and stakeholders throughout the entire product lifecycle.

digital thread

An integrated view of all the data and information about a part or product throughout its lifecycle. The digital thread connects information from all aspects of a product into one seamless network.

digital twin

A virtual representation of a physical object, such as a part or machine. A digital twin evolves with the object throughout its lifecycle.


Direct metal laser sintering. A powder bed fusion (PBF) process that uses a laser to fuse successive layers of metal powder. DMLS can produce complex metal parts, though they often require extensive post-processing.

edge computing

The practice of using software and storing data on multiple local devices located at the data source. Edge computing distributes processing tasks across multiple edge devices at the data source.

edge detection

An image processing technique that identifies the boundaries of objects in images. Edge detection assists machines in better handling parts.

edge devices

A computing device that processes data near the source that created it. Edge devices may include routers, gateways, and smart devices that process data.

end effector

A device attached to the end of the robot arm in order to interact with a part, component, or material. The end effector, also known as an end-of-arm tool (EOAT), may be a gripper that allows the robot to pick up objects and place them down, or it may be a welding torch or tool, such as a grinder, that performs a manufacturing task.

evil twin attack

The process of tricking a wireless internet user into connecting to a rogue AP set up by a hacker. Evil twin attacks often occur on open wireless local area networks.

face-centered cubic

FCC. The metal crystal structure that contains one atom in the center of the six sides of a cube and one atom in each corner of the cube. Face-centered cubic metals are often ductile.

fused deposition modeling

FDM. An additive manufacturing (AM) process that builds parts through extruding successive layers of material. Fused deposition modeling is one of the most accessible and affordable types of additive manufacturing, though it creates parts with poor surface finish and has relatively low build speed.


A device used to join two incompatible hardware components or protocols on a network. Gateway devices are available as preconfigured or configurable.


A virtual geographic boundary that triggers a response when a person with wearable technology or a smart device enters or leaves an area. A geofence can be used to monitor safety.


Identifies the real-world geographic location of a person or object. Geolocation trackers make it possible to monitor the position of inventory in real time.

human-machine interface

HMI. A device connected to the control system that allows personnel to monitor and control a machine or process. A human-machine interface can vary widely in size or complexity based what is being controlled.

image sensor

A device that detects the light gathered from a lens and converts it into an electrical signal. Image sensors collect the object's shape and surface information as pixels.

Industrial Internet of Things

IIoT. A network of physical devices used in manufacturing that contain computing systems that allow them to send and receive data. The Industrial Internet of Things allows devices to exchange data and automate processes without any human intervention.

Industry 4.0

A stage in manufacturing that uses connected devices and digital technologies. Industry 4.0 uses automation and data exchange to achieve advancements in a variety of industries.

Internet of Things

IoT. A network of devices that contain sensors that allow them to send and receive data. The Internet of Things is the network on which devices other than computers exchange data.

lost-wax casting

A casting process that creates intricate shapes using an expendable wax pattern and mold. Lost-wax casting is also called lost-wax casting and precision casting.


A communication standard that works as a universal translator between computer software and thousands of different machine and device languages. MTConnect is open source and can be easily modified or adapted to a specific task.

object recognition

The ability of an artificial intelligence system to identify specific objects using machine learning algorithms. Object recognition is considered a computer vision capability.

programmable logic controllers

PLCs. A processor-driven device that uses logic-based software to provide electrical control to a machine or process. Programmable logic controllers are used in factory automation.

qualitative data

Measuring the descriptive characteristics of a thing such as height, weight, or gender. Qualitative typically describes any non-numeric data.

quantitative data

Measuring an amount or number. Quantitative data typically includes anything that can be counted or measured numerically.

radio-frequency identification

RFID. A technology that uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. Radio-frequency identification requires a scanner and a tag.


A set of steps and calculations used to analyze or predict how input or independent variables impact an output or dependent variable. Regression algorithms can be used in supervised machine learning models.


A type of software that acts as a framework, translator, and interface between different individual operational software package languages. SAP stands for systems, applications, and products in data management.

server clustering

A system backup strategy in which contents of a primary server are duplicated and constantly updated on a group of synchronized servers. Server clustering helps prevent data loss and slower processing speeds when the volume of data being transferred is high.

smart manufacturing

Technologically integrated manufacturing that creates and uses data in real time to address the needs of the factory, supplier, and customer. Smart manufacturing is an advancement of traditional manufacturing automation.

smart sensor

A device equipped with software that can detect physical inputs, process them as data, and output digital signals. Smart sensors are more advanced than normal digital sensors since they can process data internally rather than simply sending digital signals to an external system to be processed.

supervised machine learning

A process in which a human operator labels data inputs for a machine learning model and defines the desired outputs the model should produce. Supervised machine learning typically requires extensive human labor in order to prepare and label data sets.

Turing Test

A test designed by Alan Turing that could theoretically be used to rate the intelligence of a computer. The Turing Test essentially rated a computer's responses to text-based questions on whether the computer's response could be differentiated from a human's response.

Need help transitioning to Smart Manufacturing? We can help.

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