Manufacturing Brighter Futures

That’s the slogan on the door of the Smartforce Rally Fighter, a collaboratively developed car that will appear at an April 16 event dedicated to raising awareness of what manufacturing careers have to offer.


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An upcoming event dedicated to promoting manufacturing careers will treat attendees to a first-hand look at what the field has to offer before they even set foot in the door. Fresh off an appearance at the MFG Meeting, the Smartforce Rally Fighter will make its way to Big Kaiser Precision Tooling’s Chicagoland facility, where students and parents from the area surrounding Interstate 90 will gather on April 16 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. for technology demonstrations, presentations and conversations with manufacturing professionals.

Hosted in concert with the Golden Corridor Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, the event is designed to showcase what advanced manufacturing really means in today’s economy—and in my view, the Rally Fighter is a superb example. As the world’s first open-source production vehicle, the car was designed and developed through collaboration between Local Motors and a global community consisting of thousands of designers, fabricators, engineers and auto enthusiasts. “It’s high-tech, locally made, crowd-sourced and fuel-efficient,” says Douglas K. Woods, president of AMT—The Association For Manufacturing Technology, which designed the “skin” of the Smartforce Rally Fighter to support its Smartforce campaign. “The car’s ‘cool factor’ will help persuade students and parents to take a closer look at what manufacturing careers have to offer.”

The event at Big Kaiser won’t be the first time AMT has used the rally fighter as a backdrop to local and national conversations about STEM education and careers in manufacturing—and it won’t be the last, either. Attendees to the 2012 iteration of IMTS - The International Manufacturing Technology Show might recall seeing a Rally Fighter built live on the show floor by a five-man team, and that car has since been all over the country. And, the Smartforce iteration of the vehicle will appear at this year’s show to promote the Smartforce Student Summit. The summit aims to provide students, parents and educators with an interactive view of high-tech manufacturing industry as well as the opportunity to hear from some of the nation’s top STEM experts and other engaging keynote speakers. IMTS 2014 is scheduled for September 8-13 at Chicago’s McCormick Place.