Discussions on the Definition and Connotation of Cloud Manufacturing and its Relationship with Other Pertinent Concepts

The concept of “cloud manufacturing” was introduced in 2010 [1], and has so far brought about a wave of research interest of people from both the academia and industry [2,3] (for the overall research advances please go to http://www.i4sm.org/statistics-of-cloud-manufacturing-publications/). Within the academia, the definition and connotation of cloud manufacturing have been intensively studied, and several definitions have been proposed. In spite of this, thus far there has been no standardized definition that can comprehensively capture the essence of cloud manufacturing, and thus has been accepted by the entire cloud manufacturing community [4].

Meanwhile, many other pertinent concepts such as Industry 4.0 [5], service-oriented manufacturing [6], networked manufacturing [7], collaborative manufacturing [8], manufacturing grid [9], Internet-based manufacturing [10], smart (or intelligent) manufacturing [11], ubiquitous manufacturing [12], wireless manufacturing [13], social manufacturing [14], Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) [15], cloud computing [16], and the Internet of Things (IoT) [17] have also arisen. What is the connotation of cloud manufacturing? What are the similarities and differences between cloud manufacturing and these concepts? These are questions that have to be answered for further research and implementation of cloud manufacturing in the future.

This post aims to carry out a wide and in-depth discussion on the definition and exact connotation of cloud manufacturing, as well as its relationship with the aforementioned pertinent concepts in order to reach an international consensus so as to promote its development and implementation.

Please feel free to give your opinion on these issues by posting your comments at the bottom of this page (the “LEAVE A REPLY” area).



  1. Li B H, Zhang L, Wang S L, et al. Cloud manufacturing: a new service-oriented networked manufacturing model. Computer integrated manufacturing systems, 2010, 16(1): 1-7.
  2. Xu X. From cloud computing to cloud manufacturing. Robotics and computer-integrated manufacturing, 2012, 28(1): 75-86.
  3. Zhang L, Luo Y, Tao F, et al. Cloud manufacturing: a new manufacturing paradigm. Enterprise Information Systems, 2014, 8(2): 167-187.
  4. Adamson G, Wang L, Holm M, et al. Cloud manufacturing–a critical review of recent development and future trends. International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 2015, DOI: 10.1080/0951192X.2015.1031704.
  5. Liu Y, Xu X. Industry 4.0 and Cloud Manufacturing: A Comparative Analysis. Journal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, 2017, 139(3): 034701.
  6. Gao J, Yao Y, Zhu V C Y, et al. Service-oriented manufacturing: a new product pattern and manufacturing paradigm. Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing, 2011, 22(3): 435-446.
  7. D’Amours S, Montreuil B, Lefrancois P, et al. Networked manufacturing: The impact of information sharing. International Journal of Production Economics, 1999, 58(1): 63-79.
  8. McClellan M. Collaborative manufacturing: using real-time information to support the supply chain. CRC Press, 2002.
  9. Tao F, Zhao D, Hu Y, et al. Resource service composition and its optimal-selection based on particle swarm optimization in manufacturing grid system. IEEE Transactions on industrial informatics, 2008, 4(4): 315-327.
  10. Tian G Y, Yin G, Taylor D. Internet-based manufacturing: A review and a new infrastructure for distributed intelligent manufacturing. Journal of intelligent manufacturing, 2002, 13(5): 323-338.
  11. Kang H S, Lee J Y, Choi S S, et al. Smart manufacturing: Past research, present findings, and future directions. International Journal of Precision Engineering and Manufacturing-Green Technology, 2016, 3(1): 111-128.
  12. Chen T, Tsai H R. Ubiquitous manufacturing: Current practices, challenges, and opportunities. Robotics and Computer-Integrated Manufacturing, 2016, 10.1016/j.rcim.2016.01.001.
  13. Huang G Q, Wright P K, Newman S T. Wireless manufacturing: a literature review, recent developments, and case studies. International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing, 2009, 22(7): 579-594.
  14. JIANG P, DING K. Social manufacturing: a new way to support outsourcing production. Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Innovative Design and Manufac-turing. National Taiwan Universlty. 2012.
  15. Wang L, Gao R, Ragai I. An integrated cyber-physical system for cloud manufacturing. ASME 2014 International Manufacturing Science and Engineering Conference collocated with the JSME 2014 International Conference on Materials and Processing and the 42nd North American Manufacturing Research Conference. American Society of Mechanical Engineers, 2014: V001T04A029-V001T04A029.
  16. Buyya R, Yeo C S, Venugopal S, et al. Cloud computing and emerging IT platforms: Vision, hype, and reality for delivering computing as the 5th utility. Future Generation computer systems, 2009, 25(6): 599-616.
  17. Gubbi J, Buyya R, Marusic S, et al. Internet of Things (IoT): A vision, architectural elements, and future directions. Future Generation Computer Systems, 2013, 29(7): 1645-1660.



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3 Responses

  1. mengdl says:

    Dr Liu has explained the origin of Cloud Manufacturing clearly. And I also agree with Dr. Zhong about the concept and issues of Cloud Manufacturing. However as the firms in current market become more specialized, the available resources(e.g. machine, robot and worker) will become increased. The surplus of these capacity needs to be consumed by other enterprise that is lack of the production ability. In that case, Cloud Manufacturing will bring benefits to an organization.
    In my view, Industry 4.0 is broader than Cloud Manufacturing. I think it focuses on big data and intelligent manufacturing. It will help to utilize the limited resources fully in an organization’s superior businesses and products by big data analysis. And it will increase productivity and quality by intelligent manufacturing. Industry 4.0 has a solid basis and is relatively easy to implement.

  2. zhongzry says:

    I think Cloud Manufacturing is a great idea for stimulating the circulation and sharing of services of various heterogeneous production facilities and manufacturing resources. One critical point is that how to convert these phisical resources into services. It is extremely difficult in a real life implementation. In theory, we can have the assumption that a milling machine is a device with the capacity of **. However, which models or strategies could be used when a company contemplates Cloud Manufacturing?

    Internet of Things (IoT) and Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) may be possible solutions for real-life implementation of Cloud Manufacturing. Hence, a real case which could demonstrate the Cloud Manufacturing is significant so that practitioners may take actions on this manufacturing paradigm rather than adopting ‘wait-and-see’ strategy at current stage.

  3. Yongkui Liu says:

    When it comes to cloud manufacturing, it is inevitably to mention cloud computing. In fact, it is the transplant of the cloud idea and business model of cloud computing into the manufacturing field that gives rise to the concept of cloud manufacturing. In this sense, cloud is at the heart of cloud manufacturing, and all other technologies such as the Internet of Things, Cyber-Physical Systems, virtualization technology, and service-oriented technologies are employed to support the construction of cloud services. In contrast to cloud computing, cloud manufacturing focuses on manufacturing and embraces the concept of “Manufacturing-as-a-Service”, i.e. all manufacturing resources, capabilities, systems, processes, etc. are provided as services.
    With respect to the relationship between cloud manufacturing and other manufacturing models such as application service provider, agile manufacturing, and manufacturing grid, it also roots in the cloud principle and business model. These two points make the enabling technologies of cloud manufacturing and preceding manufacturing models different.
    No matter what technologies cloud manufacturing encompasses, the ultimate aim of cloud manufacturing should be enabling ubiquitous, convenient, and on-demand access to a shard pool of standardized, configurable manufacturing services (encompassed in the entire lifecycle of products) in a pay-as-you-go fashion.

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