Cloud manufacturing / Manufacturing-as-a-Service (MaaS) / Distributed production

Cloud manufacturing is a modern production concept which transforms traditional manufacturing resources into services using cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as virtualization and makes them available over the Internet. The available manufacturing services are controlled by an intelligent, cloud-based platform and can be used in a cost-optimized manner where required. The Cloud manufacturing concept covers the entire life cycle of a product, from the development and design through production and testing to maintenance during operation.

Cloud manufacturing is a modern production concept which transforms traditional manufacturing resources into services using cloud computing, the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as virtualization and makes them available over the Internet. The available manufacturing services are controlled by an intelligent, cloud-based platform and can be used in a cost-optimized manner where required. The Cloud manufacturing concept covers the entire life cycle of a product, from the development and design through production and testing to maintenance during operation. 

Cloud manufacturing can be understood as a parallel, networked and distributed system of production resources which can be used by anyone at any time. Production resources in the form of machines and software packages as well as knowledge-based competencies are offered as services (Manufacturing as a Service - MaaS) in the cloud. Based on CAD data and knowledge-based machine and material databases, the ideal services are determined, capacities are planned and orders planned and controlled. That way, many customers can optimally access many, even locally distributed providers, plan their own control and management layer (cloud layer) and control production capacities, manufacturing processes, operations and transactions.

A number of challenges remain when it comes to the practical implementation:

  • Development of suitable description possibilities for a knowledge-based mapping of existing resources and capabilities
  • Development of methods and algorithms for the ideal distribution of partial orders to conneced production sites and companies based on knowledge-based process descriptions.
  • Integration of existing enterprise software
  • Development of mechanisms for efficient coordination of comprehensive distributed resources, services and processes
  • the necessary complete automation of the processes
  • Control of access to physical production resources
  • Implementation of learning methods to optimize control and distribution

In order to find answers to some of these questions, the research center Digital Factory Vorarlberg cooperates with a number of partners from Salzburg and around Vienna in two projects funded by the FFG. Among other things, demonstrators will be set up in these projects to test the concept of cloud manufacturing on the basis of real scenarios from industry and to demonstrate its advantages.