The portability, flexibility, efficiency and productivity provided by the cloud enable businesses to perform optimally with an eye on tomorrow. However, SMEs have yet to embrace manufacturing cloud solutions that help them work smarter by providing cost-effective, on-demand access to technology and information. The EU-funded CAPP-4-SMEs (Collaborative and adaptive process planning for sustainable manufacturing environments) project set out to develop a cloud manufacturing environment to facilitate the process plans of SMEs. Project partners designed and developed a cloud manufacturing platform to provide monitoring, planning, optimisation and execution control services. They introduced a monitoring service for real-time machine availability and use. This helps to ensure that decisionmaking for planning and optimisation is resource-aware and well informed. The service continuously checks job execution status for each machine. Together with execution control, machine availability monitoring makes cloud manufacturing services practical and useful for real-world applications and adaptable to unforeseen changes. The CAPP-4-SMEs team developed a web-enabled and knowledge-based tool for collaborative process planning by using cloud manufacturing services. The tool effectively copes with issues such as machine breakdown, missing fixtures, job delays and rush orders in a timely fashion. Team members also provided an integrated process and setup simulation environment to optimise parameters for reduced cycle time and resource consumption, and increased quality and productivity. Researchers then integrated process planning and process simulation to prepare and generate the optimal setup plans that best fit the capabilities of the available machines identified by the real-time monitoring service. CAPP-4-SMES designed intelligent and sustainable solutions for the manufacturing industry. Cloud manufacturing should reduce product life cycle times in factories by simplifying processes and systems. Ultimately, this will boost the competitiveness and efficiency of manufacturing SMEs. Watch the project’s video here.
Cloud computing, CAPP-4-SMEs, process planning, sustainable manufacturing, cloud manufacturing