By Sherry DiBari

In celebration of National Manufacturing Day, October 6, Old Dominion University’s Department of Engineering Technology will host an Open House for the new Smart Manufacturing Lab.

Visitors are invited to tour the lab, located in Kaufman Hall, room 115, from 12 to 2 p.m. and learn more about the department’s Manufacturing Engineering Technology program (MfgET).

In 2022, ODU announced Virginia's first four-year program in manufacturing engineering technology. The program will be offered on Old Dominion’s Norfolk campus, a satellite campus based at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research in Danville, and other institutional partner locations, beginning in fall 2024.

Patrick & Henry Community College, based in Martinsville, also launched a corresponding associate degree in manufacturing engineering technology that serves as a pipeline to both the workforce and pathway to ODU’s four-year degree.

The lab and manufacturing educational pathways are the result of a years’ long collaborative multi-agency effort aimed at creating a manufacturing workforce pipeline in Virginia. This initiative received a $5 million grant from the Department of Defense, administered by the Virginia Office of Veterans and Defense Affairs-led Virginia Maritime Industrial Base Consortium (VMIBC).

The state-of-the-art lab features a scaled-down manufacturing assembly line with a programmable logic controller (PLC), a crucial skill for workers in modern manufacturing, often referred to as Industry 4.0.

One section of the lab, dedicated to metrology instruments, includes a Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM), for ultra-precise measurements. Additionally, the lab has areas dedicated to small logistics systems, robotics, hydraulics, and a self-driving car research studio for autonomous vehicles.

More information on ODU’s Manufacturing Engineering Technology program can be found here.

For information about the Open House or to RSVP, contact Afi Anuar at