Practice experimentation that integrates the manufacturing processes and cutting-edge technologies of smart manufacturing (SM) is essential for future academic and applied engineering personnel. The broadening efficacy of hands-on experience in SM engineering education has been manifested. In this regard, a reference practical system is proposed in this study for hands-on training in SM crucial advancements. The system constructs a mobile robot-based production line (MRPL) to increase participants’ interest in theoretical learning and professional skills. The MRPL-based reference system includes the comprehensive principles and processes involved in modern SM factories from warehousing to logistics, processing, and testing. With key features of modularity, integrability, customizability, and open architecture, this system has a threefold objective. First, it is an interdisciplinary subject that enables students to translate classroom learning into authentic practices, thus facilitating knowledge synthesis and training involvements. Second, it offers effective support to cultivate the attributions and behavioral competencies of SM talents, such as perseverance, adaptability, and cooperation. Third, it promotes students’ capacities for critical thinking and problem solving so that they can deal with the difficulties that physical systems have and motivates them to pursue careers with new syllabi, functions, and process technologies. The received positive evaluations and assessments confirm that this MRPL-based reference system is beneficial for modern SM talent training in higher engineering education.