Cloud manufacturing is an emerging business model that allows manufacturing companies to “virtualize” manufacturing resources and offer them as consumable cloud-based services over the Internet. It enables the transformation of traditional, production-oriented manufacturing to a concerted, integrated and service-oriented manufacturing paradigm. Cloud manufacturing incorporates but moves beyond the data handling focus of cloud computing, to facilitate the management of distributed resources in a centralized way, building scale, maximizing resource utilization and increasing productivity. Cloud manufacturing may be defined as:
A model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable manufacturing resources (e.g. manufacturing software tools, manufacturing equipment, and manufacturing capabilities) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.
As a service-oriented networked manufacturing model, cloud manufacturing which bears some traces of cloud computing, requires and relies on a number of other key technologies such as Internet of Industrial Things (IoIT), Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and manufacturing data management. Cloud manufacturing extends some of the existing advanced manufacturing models and technologies such as agile manufacturing, Web-based manufacturing, and manufacturing grid. Cloud manufacturing adopts the “Manufacturing-as-a-Service (MaaS)” concept.
Since its first inception in 2010, cloud manufacturing has attracted attention from both the academia world and industrial section. The former contributes to the development of a raft of cloud manufacturing architecture, methodologies, platform technologies, ontologies and etc. The latter tries to gauge the commercial potentials as well as awaits opportunities and effective tools to uptake the technology. Dialogues and collaborations between these two different groups are not just necessary but also essential for the uptaking of technology.