Demo New Immersive Virtual Labs at IMTS

September 14, 2022
  • Jeannine Kuntz
    By Jeannine Kunz
    Chief Workforce Development Officer
    Tooling U-SME

We are packing up our virtual reality (VR) goggles and hitting the road. After a four-year hiatus, we are excited to gather with our manufacturing industry friends again at The International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in Chicago, Sept. 12-17.

This is where the creators, the builders, the sellers, and the drivers of manufacturing technology come to connect and be inspired.

At SME, we are absolutely inspired by the future. This year, we are celebrating our 90th year of providing strategic impact to the manufacturing industry and we have much to share with you at IMTS.

We invite you to visit SME’s interactive exhibits, exploring manufacturing education, workforce development and career advancement.

We believe manufacturing is key to economic growth and prosperity, and we look forward to talking with you about how we can help you strengthen your organization.

Demo Virtual Labs

There is one particular innovation I want to share with you that we’ll be highlighting at the event: Tooling U-SME’s new Virtual Labs, our new virtual reality (VR) training curriculum.

This new, immersive technology for the manufacturing industry bridges the gap between learning and doing, accelerating upskilling, and increasing retention.

Virtual Labs are the centerpiece of our Applied Learning Model, a three-pronged, blended learning approach based on the concept of Learn-Practice-Perform. The Virtual Labs are an efficient way to safely build knowledge that contributes to confidence and proficiency. 

Learners start by taking online classes to gain a base of knowledge and understanding of foundational concepts through standard instruction. Then learners move into practice mode in a safe, repeatable, virtual environment, where they apply the knowledge learned in their courses. Finally, through on-the-job training, they perform each task on the job or in the classroom. (We even provide Skills Guides to help instructors evaluate performance.)

Our Tooling U-SME team will demo the technology at three different locations, and we hope you’ll stop by to don a Meta Quest 2 headset for a virtual reality adventure of your own.

Here are three areas where you can try the VR technology:

Tooling U-SME: West Hall - Booth 431679

At the Tooling U-SME exhibit area, you will learn about — and experience — Virtual Labs. Manufacturers and educators tell us they really like this idea of a practice space between learning and performing. You’ll see how easy it is to acclimate to the virtual world, regardless of any previous “gaming” experience. Benefits of the new Virtual Labs? This training enhances productivity, increases safety, lowers costs, and engages a younger workforce. Your teams will be clamoring for training!

Virtual Reality Technology Hub: North Hall - Booth 236900

The SME Virtual Reality Technology Hub provides an immersive environment for emerging best practices in technology-driven blended learning solutions. It will feature hands-on experiences for attendees from Tooling U-SME and our partners Sify and Lincoln Electric to explore emerging technologies and see firsthand the impact these technologies have on companies as they transition to Advanced and SMART Manufacturing technologies. This is an exciting place to demo Tooling U-SME’s new Virtual Labs and other emerging technologies.

Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS: Hall C - Booth 215100

Learning can — and should — be fun. For many young people, the best way to make learning fun is to make it interactive, hands-on, and applicable to real situations — and real jobs. At the Smartforce Student Summit at IMTS, Tooling U-SME and Stratasys will present an immersive environment, again sharing emerging best practices in technology-driven blended learning solutions. We will deliver industry-developed content, providing educators and students with fun and engaging learning experiences centered around our industry's vision of the manufacturing technology classroom of the future. Students will engage in VR experiences via Virtual Labs, interact with robots, experience additive manufacturing/3D-printing demonstrations, and more. Come meet our next generation of manufacturing talent.

Manufacturing Training Technology

Just as the manufacturing industry is embracing technology to move better and faster into the future, we can also optimize training and its effectiveness and scalability through leveraging technology like virtual reality.

At SME, we believe that true innovation comes to companies, communities, and countries when those people and technology are in sync.

The immersive experience of Virtual Labs helps train our people so that they rise to the level of our technology and help manufacturers thrive.

Visit one of these three exhibit areas at IMTS and we’ll show you how. Safe travels!

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