Nowadays, with the rapid development of science and technology, you must have heard of the conception of Cloud manufacturing, whatever you work in the manufacturing industry or others. Therefore, there’re lots of reasons to get acquainted with it from comprehensive viewpoints.
How does it work? How does it help the producers? Why will it bring the great transformation of the manufacturing industry? Let’s explore it together here.
What is Cloud Manufacturing?
Cloud manufacturing is a new concept based on the opinion of “manufacturing as service”, which borrows the idea of cloud computing. Cloud manufacturing is the cross-integrate product of advanced information technology, manufacturing technology, and the emerging Internet of Things technology, which is the embodiment of the concept of manufacturing as service. Cloud manufacturing adopts cutting-edge concepts of contemporary information technology, to support the manufacturing industry to provide high value-added, low-cost, and global manufacturing of products in extensive network resource environments.
Who Puts forward the Conception?
In 2009, Bohu Li Chinese, an academician of Chinese Academy of Engineering, and Professor Lin Zhang, the Vice Dean of School of Automation Science and Electrical Engineering, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics leading the research team, were keenly aware of the deep integration of advanced information technology and manufacturing industry, such as cloud computing, IoT would bring profound change to the modern manufacturing industry, and took the lead in the international arena to put forward the concept of “cloud manufacturing”.
With the conception of cloud manufacturing being introduced, it immediately attracts great attention in the area of academic and business circles. It seems to bring hope to the Chinese manufacturing industry stuck in the hardships. People ponder over its significances for how Chinese manufacturing moves from a big manufacturing country to a manufacturing power while expecting it will bring deep influence on the pattern and format of the Chinese manufacturing industry.
How Cloud Manufacturing Works
Cloud manufacturing aims to avoid the waste of resources, taking over the idea of cloud manufacturing, using information technology to attain the manufacturing resources sharing to a high degree. Companies don’t have to spend high costs on purchasing the machine equipment and consulting on leasing manufacturing capabilities through public platforms to purchase manufacturing.
If there weren’t more barriers, cloud manufacturing would integrate all full life cycle-related resources such as product development, production, uses, and selling, etc, and provide standard, specific, and sharable manufacturing modes. This kind of manufacturing mode enables manufacturing customers to use various services as easily as water, electricity, and gas.
7 Typical Features of Cloud Manufacturing
Nowadays, there is a wide range of cloud manufacturers. Therefore, it’s necessary to find a reliable partner that has all the features that can demand your factory’s production needs. It sounds fine if you happen to find a company that has done a project or work for similar companies when you want to make a prototype. At this time, you can directly visit the factory and check their production equipment & facility, and warehouse. It helps you to avoid some trivial things and focus on production.
Cloud manufacturing greatly enhances the efficiencies of instant quotes and optimizes resource allocation. You don’t have to spend more time sitting in front of computers waiting for a quote via email. It helps engineers to shorten the time spent on communication and making engineering drawings. All you need to do is just find a manufacturer who offers real quotes online, and uploading your all files, and clarify the requirements you’d like. For example, may directly ask your potential partner to demonstrate the prototype management and quoting and management software. Engineers can put their energy into value-adding activities.
Meanwhile, the intelligent quoting systems are constantly accumulating precise data to improve the pricing process further.
Transparent Online Project Management Tracking
Thanks to cloud manufacturing, the status of your project can be completely visible. You may easily make some changes and review the results at any time. The powerful reporting can help you to evaluate the vendors, which is easy to use and available on any device.
Inventory Storage and Management
Some cloud manufacturing companies also provide inventory storage and management services. Once your product is set up, your partner will keep it for you You don’t have to worry about the storing space until it is delivered while it can track your stockings in the long distances.
Cloud manufacturing brings a great variety of capabilities to one place according to different manufacturing platforms.
The parts usually will be distributed to manufacturers who are equipped with carrying out the jobs. Therefore, a supply chain is highly configured and not stable, reducing the reliance on some connections and partnerships.
Besides, automatic systems can select the best production partner in terms of quality, and shorten goods delivery to minimize the costs and the environmental influence.
Quality is one of the most countable factors when the customers are looking for manufacturing. However, it’s not easy to find excellent suppliers. Some cloud manufacturing is just gathering more partners together. On the contrary, others try to make some surveys and do lots of order tests.
Providing instant quotes only needs a complex system that can evaluate the uploading files. It also means that the platform can provide a quote for the parts that are impossible to machine.
Some parts are easily manufactured in CAD，but are impossible to get by bending.
Evaluating the manufacturability needs to consider the geometry. When the results are positive, the platform can only show the price.
In the current development stage, cloud manufacturing still has some limitations. Above the problems that appeared are not the final answers.
Anyone can have free access to procurement information. In traditional back-and-forth emailing workflows, the information is not transparent for every related person. However, when we have a cloud manufacturing system, anyone involved in the project can see the projects at any time.
This allows the entire team members to work on one project without keeping each other constantly updated.
The Pros and Cons of Cloud Computing for Manufacturing
Is it worth moving the cloud manufacturing platform? Of course, there are not 100% accurate answers, because each company has its own unique needs and goals. So, before we make the final decision, let’s get to know its benefits and risks.
- A third-party provider can maintain the online store elsewhere
- Safe storing can avoid unpredictable fire or other physical threats
- Don’t have to employ specified IT employers to supervise the network
- Data can be shared and accessible at any time, anywhere and on any device
- No trouble or worries for cross time zones and geographic locations
- Ability to get instant data no matter where you are in the factory or the front of the computer
- Bypassing the trivial tasks of evaluating data demands, investing in data centers, and maintaining systems
- Almost without unlimited capacity
- Only requires payment can demand what you want or need
- Can add extra storage even if it’s during the offseason
- Customers can pay by the month
- Don’t have to invest extra energy on maintaining it, or rely on inner technical employment
- Low energy consumption and reduced carbon footprint.
Long Using Lifetime
- You won’t lose your data when you want to move your company
- The providers will constantly upgrade their latest technology
Security and Recovery
- Your all-important files or information have backup copies at a remote location and don’t worry that it will suddenly disappear
- With the development of new technology, the providers sometimes will add up the price of the system, which cause the costing is far more than on-premise data
- The internet is full of danger and cannot guarantee 100% safety for your data.
- Unavoidable malwares’ appearance and sensitive data are not completely exposed to the third-party provider
- The local internet connectivity is not always fast. If it’s slow, it would influence the customer’s experience
Risks of Unexpected Downtime
- Suddenly outage may cause costly halt production and influence deliverables
- Everyone has their tempers, sometimes it cannot demand everyone’s needs
- Some firmware sometimes will control your limiting when the software update
- Vendors also will be locked in-you cannot freely switch between services
Applications of Cloud Computing in Manufacturing
Cloud manufacturing enables to offer of a great variety of solutions to the process of each part ( from marketing to production ) in the manufacturing industry. Incorporating cloud computing in multiple operational areas can increase its merits. Here, let’s look at the common applications of cloud manufacturing in the manufacturing industry as follows:
Marketing in the Clouding
As we know, cloud manufacturing has a noticeable feature of comprehensive leads to easily promote the development of complicated marketing campaigns. The manufacturers use the app is based in the cloud to assist in the planning, carrying out, and managing of marketing activities. The manufacturers also track the effectiveness of the marketing activities through the data uses of production and sales.
Generally speaking, product planning and development are closely related to production. Manufacturers can make better operation preparations for full production through integrating product development and planning into the supply chain data and communication. By full integration, products can shift from creative ideas to engineering to prototype to low volume production and the last large batch production and faster shipping.
Production and Stocking Tracking
Once production starts, cloud manufacturing can bring huge conveniences to the process of product production and stocking products. With the company’s ERP software, cloud manufacturing can match the production level with the stocking goods that are available for sales. This software can manage quotations, order receipts, and customer requests. By the use of standard products to track, it can minimize errors, and reduce the order cycle times.
Not all manufacturers can maintain the same production level of all products all year round. To meet the constant change needs of the market, manufacturers can spy when the production changes by the apps based in the cloud. Besides, those software solutions allow communication throughout the supply chain, ensuring the manufacturers can check the numbers of required raw materials and easily update the orders to match with the future production level.
Who Needs Cloud Manufacturing
The traditional manufacturing method is okay for those large-scale companies who need over 100 thousand pieces of products. However, it’s not applied to small businesses, enterprises, engineers, and hobbyists. This new method of hardware manufacturing opens a prosperous path for the previous groups.
Small and expanding businesses generally don’t have the requirements to get reasonable pricing from large companies. They often also bear the financial pressures, making the large stocks be a big problem while timely delivery is necessary. Cloud manufacturing can support the needs of small businesses and the transporting fees are also affordable. The best way to solve the problem is by providing the services of storing transporting, and API to realize the fully automatic order. Customers can purchase the goods without depending on the companies’ deliberate arrangement. This creates an excellent good experience, reducing the costs and team co-workers can more focus on strategic business needs. In shorts, for small and medium enterprises, business growth is based on cloud manufacturing is very crucial.
It’s well-known that cloud manufacturing has a striking feature in reducing the go-to-markets. Today, some people sole with an idea can bring it into reality without having a complex relationship with the previous industry. They can easily find the best pre-vetted suppliers nearby or long distances, depending on the final product delivery destination. Manufacturing in the cloud has somewhat helped you to sell products worldwide from the get-go. It makes it possible for to everyone can easily set up their online shops. They don’t have to build up large stocks and start transporting those things from a faraway warehouse anymore. The way to make the customers quickly get the products is to let enterprises nearby and close the idea of renting a warehouse. These modes cover the slightly higher costs of lower-volume production, as well as reducing the risks of large stocks.
Cloud manufacturing can support both final prototyping and product delivery, which enables today’s enterprises to have access to a cheaper and timely way to bring their creative design to life.
Sometimes, it is also harder for large institutions to manufacture prototypes that want great results with low costs when they have created new product ideas. Similarly, some engineers are also faced with such a headache and have to take care of the manufacturing outsourcing work. If you had only ordered one unit even if you are Foxconn, Google, and Apple, some large-scale operations also would ignore you. However, manufacturing in the cloud can solve and avoid problems. It’s because the quotation system- pay-as-you-go system without “going anywhere” in the cloud manufacturing is free, and helps companies and engineers to optimize the design costs to reduce the costs when comparing the materials, thickness, and different layouts.
Most cloud manufacturers would be glad to help you deal with the issues until you get the results you want.
The Make movement makes everybody possibly become an inventor, a designer, and a creator in all walks of life. Countless new and innovative ideas have turned into realities due to 3D printing. Likewise, cloud manufacturing helps hobbyists to improve their projects to reach a new level and makes their automatic assembly works possible.
They only can seek help from a supplier who can guarantee quality for only a small one-time order.
Cloud manufacturing as a core part of the Industrial Internet of Things, the industrial cloud platform can flexibly achieve the deployment and delivery of cross-regional industrial information services. It has gradually become the focus of modern mechanical engineering competition. Some of the large manufacturing companies have extended their business into many areas of the industrial Internet field.
As a professional rapid prototype manufacturer, WayKen will utilize advanced manufacturing technology to better serve your machining projects.