UK economic prosperity increasingly depends on maintaining and further developing a resilient and sustainable manufacturing sector that is based on sophisticated technologies, relevant knowledge and manufacturing framework, that has the ability to produce a variety of products faster, better and more affordable. High labour cost economies will require an infrastructure that can quickly respond to consumer and producer requirements, that will minimise the use of materials, energy, transport and resources while maximising environmental sustainability, safety and economic competitiveness.
We address these needs with a research programme centred on the concept of ‘Cloud Manufacturing’. The programme is a radical departure from the current philosophy of manufacturing ICT – it creates a framework for manufacturing entities to participate and contribute information and support services to the consumers and the users of the products.
The principle aim is to define and validate the informatics and manufacturing architecture, to support theoretical models, methods and algorithms for cloud manufacturing. To enable the provision of resilient, cost effective, environmentally friendly and knowledge-intensive distributed manufacturing capabilities, encompassing the whole cycle of design, production use and recycling.
- Define the vision, conceptual framework, reference architecture, and service models for cloud manufacturing;
- Create models and simulation methodologies for the manufacturing cloud as complex networked service system;
- Build cloud manufacturing specific data mining, processing and optimisation methods and algorithms;
- Prototype selected instances of the reference architecture, integrating the developed models and methodologies;
- Generate scenarios and prototype demonstrators for evaluation and validation of the developed models.
The research will benefit the international research community by establishing a long-term research agenda in cloud manufacturing as a multidisciplinary research theme at the interface between computer science, human factors and operations management.
The project targets two key beneficiary groups: The commercial private sector (large OEM’s and supply chain organisations) and the wider community.
Our work benefits the national and international commercial private sector that has particular focus on UK manufacturing companies, through supply chain networks who have the potential to engage with new manufacturing partners. Our close collaboration with the industry stakeholders ensures direct impact across multiple manufacturing sectors.
The wider public profit from the research by increased competence of organisations to respond to customer needs, reduced product cost due to the ability of companies to source optimal supplies in a timely manner, and swifter development of new products that take advantage of emerging improvements in science and engineering.