Cloud manufacturing, is a form of industrial production of goods, developed from classic and advanced manufacturing methods, such as external manufacturing and ASP, in combination with and with the support of operational information systems, cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), virtualization and service-oriented technologies as well as advanced computer technologies.
Cloud Manufacturing is based on a networked system and links production factors, production capacities and production techniques and transforms them into a concentrated range of manufacturing services that can be managed and operated intelligently and uniformly to achieve full utilization as well as to enable easy communal use. It provides safe, reliable, high-quality, cost-effective and on-demand manufacturing services for the entire manufacturing lifecycle. The goal is the intelligent management and needs-based use of manufacturing services as well as the provision of solutions for all persons and companies involved in the life cycle of manufacturing.
The concept of cloud manufacturing was originally proposed in 2009 by a research group in China. In the Manufacturing Cloud, various production factors, production capacities and production techniques can be intelligently recorded, connected to the Internet and automatically managed and controlled using IoT technologies (e.g. RFID, wired and wireless sensor network). This information is then virtualized and encapsulated into various cloud manufacturing services that can be accessed using virtualization technologies, service-oriented technologies, and cloud computing technologies to retrieve the information and services provided.
What Are the Types of Cloud Manufacturing?
Cloud manufacturing can be divided into two categories:
- The first category concerns the deployment of manufacturing software in the cloud, i.e. a “manufacturing version” of computing. CAx software can be deployed as a service in the Manufacturing Cloud (MCloud).
- The second category has a broader scope and includes the production, management, design and engineering skills in a manufacturing company. Unlike computers and data storage, manufacturing includes physical devices, monitors, materials, etc. In this type of cloud manufacturing system, both material and non-material facilities are implemented in the manufacturing cloud to support the entire supply chain. Costly resources are shared across the network. This means that the utilization of rarely used devices increases and the cost of expensive equipment decreases. According to the concept of cloud technology, there will be no direct interaction between cloud users and service providers. The cloud users should neither manage nor control the infrastructure and manufacturing applications the former can be considered part of the latter.
Four types of cloud deployment models (public, private, community, and hybrid clouds) are ubiquitous as a single point of access.
- Private cloud refers to a centralized administrative overhead where manufacturing services are shared within a company or its subsidiaries. Mission-critical and core business applications are often stored in a private cloud.
- Community Cloud is a collaborative effort in which manufacturing services are shared by multiple organizations in a particular community with common concerns.
- Public Cloud implements the key concept of sharing services with the public in a multi-tenant environment.
- Hybrid cloud is a combination of two or more clouds (private, collaborative, or public) that remain different entities but are also interconnected and offer benefits of multiple deployment modes.
What Are the Resources?
From a resource perspective, any type of manufacturing capacity requires the support of the appropriate manufacturing resources. For each type of manufacturing, the associated manufacturing resource comes in two forms, soft resources and hard resources.
- Software: Software applications throughout the product lifecycle, including design, analysis, simulation, process planning.
- Knowledge: Experience and know-how to perform a production task, such as engineering knowledge, product models, standards, evaluation procedures and results, customer feedback and manufacturing in the cloud, offer manufacturing executives as many solutions as questions in finding the best possible decision.
- Ability: Knowledge in performing a specific manufacturing task.
- Personnel: Personnel involved in the manufacturing process, such as designers, machine operators, managers, technicians, project teams, customer service, etc.
- Experience: performance, quality, customer rating, etc.
- Business network: Business relationships and contacts that exist in a company.
- Manufacturing equipment: Equipment needed to perform a manufacturing task, e.g. machine tools, milling cutters, testing and monitoring equipment, and other manufacturing tools.
- Monitoring/Control Resources: Devices used to identify and control other manufacturing resources, e.g. RFID (Radio-Frequency IDentification), WSN (Wireless Sensor Network), virtual managers, and remote controls.
- Computer resources: Computer devices to support the production process, e.g. servers, computers, storage media, ECUs, etc.
- Materials: Inputs and outputs in a production system, e.g. raw material, a product in progress, finished product, electricity, water, lubricants, etc.
- Storage: automated stacker cranes, logical controls, location of warehouses, volume capacity and planning/optimization methods.
- Transport: Transport of production inputs/outputs from one place to another. It includes the modes of transport, e.g. air, rail, road, water, cable, pipeline and space, as well as the associated price and time required.