Manufacturing | See STEM in Action

If you want to see STEM in action, visit a manufacturing facility.

Why? Every single day, manufacturers use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) in ways both familiar and dazzling.

When you participate in Manufacturing Day, you have a chance to experience this in person. For now, let’s take a quick virtual tour.


In the US, manufacturers conduct nearly two-thirds of all research and development activities. This research encompasses every conceivable arena, from the composition of metals and materials to machining fluids, coolants and green cleaning compounds. Research involves ground-breaking innovations, such as composites and nanomaterials, as well as incremental improvements, such as advanced coatings that boost tool performance and extend tool life.

Technology is integral to every facet of manufacturing from the front office to the shopfloor, paint booth and loading dock. Technology drives material acquisition. Supply chain management. Order taking. Shipping and billing. Production planning and tracking. CAD design. Rapid prototyping and 3D printing. Multi-axis machine tools. Automatic tool changers. Coolant sprayers, pumps and filtering systems. Electrostatic painting. Fanuc robots. Part transfer systems. Quality control. And much, much more.

Manufacturing and industrial engineers design and make things: aircraft, automobiles, appliances, bottles, building products, bushings, computers and electronics, engines, fasteners, guitars, industrial materials, machinery, medical devices, oil rigs, packaging, textiles and toys. The list is endless. A single manufacturing facility may house engineers specializing in chemistry, design, computers, electronics, electrical systems, environmental impact, mechanics, machining, packaging and more.


Math is integral to manufacturing. Basic math, algebra, geometry, trig, calculus, logic, probability, statistics and all their subsets and specialties weave through key functions ranging from business management and human resources to research, design, materials testing, production, quality control, sales and transport. (Perhaps, if you're lucky, you'll find the answer to that age-old question: Why does algebra matter?)

Bottom Line

Visit  a manufacturing facility, and you'll see real people, doing real work, making real things that make a real difference. You'll also discover the wonders of STEM in action.

Note: Originally published July 2012. Republished by request.


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