Cloud manufacturing refers to running a manufacturing facility’s software systems and platforms on the cloud. The cloud refers to servers that are housed in a provider’s data center, and allows other businesses and organizations to run and store their own software and databases on those servers. A company’s software and data are then accessible via the internet, and the company doesn’t have to have physical server equipment at its own physical facility.
Today, many businesses across various sectors house their software and databases on the cloud. It provides full-service security, flexibility for growth, enhanced quality control, and advanced loss prevention and disaster recovery capabilities. The cloud provider has to manage the costs of infrastructure, maintenance, and day-to-day running of the server equipment, while the company that is conducting cloud computing on those servers has to pay only for the server time or space that they use. Cloud computing is an optimized, efficient way to run the technological backend of any type of company, and the use of cloud computing in manufacturing is becoming increasingly widespread.
How does cloud-based manufacturing work?
Cloud-based manufacturing means that a company runs its manufacturing software systems and databases on the cloud, accessed via the internet. This way, the company’s information, and software systems are not tied physically to any network server – everything is available to be accessed from anywhere, anytime, as long as there is an internet connection. This is certainly an added convenience for managers of a manufacturing facility, who can also control permissions and access to the systems on the cloud.
Furthermore, a cloud manufacturing platform is designed to handle the ‘big data’ associated with manufacturing operations, as well as complex computational capacities in a secure, protected environment. In addition, when different systems are running on the cloud, they can be synced to communicate automatically with each other, streamlining the overall business management and operations. Like other manufacturing technology systems available, cloud manufacturing software can be tailored to meet the needs of a specific industry and company.
As the industrial sector moves toward digital manufacturing, and as the capabilities and scale of the cloud are evolving quickly, cloud manufacturing is becoming increasingly prevalent across manufacturing segments. Cloud MES systems are an example of this shift, with many small and medium-sized businesses opting for cloud-based manufacturing execution systems, which can be more affordable and less disruptive to replace than in-house custom solutions.