Dr. Scott Smith to Speak at 2023 Nagib-Kalpakjian Lecture

Scott SmithThe Nagib and Kalpakjian Annual Lecture on Manufacturing will be held on Friday, November 17, 2023, from 1:45–2:45 p.m. in room 104 (auditorium) of the John T. Rettaliata Engineering Center. We welcome Dr. Scott Smith who will present, “The Story of Thin.” After the lecture, in the first-floor atrium, the department will honor the Department of Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering faculty emeriti. A reception will immediately follow.

Please RSVP here by Friday, November 10th, 2023. The lecture will be streamed for view only. If you wish to view the lecture via YouTube, click here: https://youtube.com/live/GX-AZ_itTjk?feature=share.

For more information, email Lee Stein at lstein1@iit.edu.


In recent years, monolithic machined aluminum components have rapidly replaced sheet metal assemblies throughout the aerospace industry. The monolithic structures are lighter, less expensive, and stronger than their sheet metal counterparts. Monolithic structures require less special tooling, fewer hand operations, and less assembly time. This presentation describes the research activities and breakthroughs that led to the rise of monolithic components. The story starts with testing of high-speed machining theories in the 1970s. In this time frame, it became clear that solid carbide tools would be quite capable of surviving the cutting temperatures in aluminum machining, and that a new class of machine tools would be required to support them. In the 1980s, as the design of spindles and machine tools advanced into the high-speed range, the development of reliable chatter prediction tools began to dominate high speed machining research, and the drive to simplify the techniques for shop floor chatter avoidance became a powerful force. In the 1990s it became clear that there was growing value in the ability to produce very thin structures by machining, and research shifted to the cutting tool geometries and machining strategies required to manufacture thin components in the 1990s. By the late 1990s and early 2000s, the ability to produce very thin structures allowed the dramatic replacement of sheet metal assemblies by monolithic machined components. The trend is still underway, and machined monolithic components are still on the rise. This paper reviews the research history and the coupled business changes that radically changed aerospace manufacturing.


Scott Smith is the section head for Precision Manufacturing and Machining and the group leader for intelligent machine tools at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Prior to joining ORNL in 2019, Smith was professor and chair of mechanical engineering at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. During 2012–2013 he served as the assistant director for technology at the United States Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office in Washington D.C. His research areas include high-speed machining, process optimization, and machine dynamics. He has taught numerous industrial short courses.

Smith is a fellow of the International Academy for Production Engineering (CIRP), and he is a fellow of both American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) and Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME). Smith served as the chair of the Manufacturing Engineering Division of ASME, and as president of the North American Manufacturing Research Institute of SME. He is author of more than 100 technical papers, and is the co-author of books, Machining Dynamics: Frequency Response to Improved Productivity and Mechanical Vibrations: Modeling and Measurement. He holds 14 patents.

Smith has received numerous awards including the ASME/SME M. Eugene Merchant Manufacturing Medal, the ASME William T. Ennor Manufacturing Technology Award, the ASME Blackall Machine Tool and Gage Award, the NAMRI/SME S.M. Wu Research Implementation Award, the SME Education Award, the AMT Charles F. Carter Advancing Manufacturing Award, the American Helicopter Society Pinckney Award, a Federal Laboratory Consortium Technology Transfer Impact Award, two R&D 100 Awards, the University of Florida MAE Outstanding Alumnus Award, and the NAMRI/SME Lifetime Service Award.