Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Cloud manufacturing as a sustainable process manufacturing route

Fisher, Oliver; Watson, Nicholas; Porcu, Laura; Bacon, Darren; Rigley, Martin; Gomes, R.L.


Oliver Fisher

Laura Porcu

Darren Bacon

Martin Rigley

Professor of Water & Resource Processing


Cloud Manufacturing (CM) is a service oriented business model to share manufacturing capabilities and resources on a cloud platform. Manufacturing is under pressure to achieve cost and environmental impact reductions, as manufacturing becomes more integrated and complex. Cloud manufacturing offers a solution, as it is capable of making intelligent decisions to provide the most sustainable and robust manufacturing route available. Although CM research has progressed, a consensus is still lacking on the concepts within CM as well as applications and scope beyond discrete manufacturing.

The aim of this paper is to demonstrate how CM offers a more sustainable manufacturing future to the industry as a whole, before focusing specifically on the application to process manufacturing (e.g. food, pharmaceuticals and chemicals). This paper details the definitions, characteristics, architectures and previous case studies on CM. From this, the fundamental aspects of the CM concept are identified, along with an analysis of how the concept has progressed. A new, comprehensive CM definition is formulated by combining key concepts drawn from previous definitions and emphasizes CM potential for sustainable manufacturing.

Four key methods of how CM increases sustainability are identified: (1) collaborative design; (2) greater automation; (3) improved process resilience and (4) enhanced waste reduction, reuse and recovery. The first two key methods are common to both discrete and process manufacturing, however key methods (3) and (4) are more process manufacturing specific and application of CM for these has yet to be fully realised. Examples of how CM’s characteristics may be utilised to solve various process manufacturing problems are presented to demonstrate the applications of CM to process manufacturing. Waste is an important consideration in manufacturing, with strong sustainability implications. The current focus has been on using CM for waste minimisation; however, process manufacturing offers waste as a resource (valorisation opportunities from diversifying co-products, reuse, recycle and energy recovery). Exploring CM’s potential to characterise and evaluate alternative process routes for the valorisation of process manufacturing waste is considered for the first time. The specific limitations preventing CM adoption by process manufacturers are discussed. Finally, CM’s place in the future of manufacturing is explored, including how it will interact with, and complement other emerging manufacturing technologies to deliver a circular economy and personalised products.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 1, 2018
Journal Journal of Manufacturing Systems
Print ISSN 0278-6125
Electronic ISSN 0278-6125
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 47
APA6 Citation Fisher, O., Watson, N., Porcu, L., Bacon, D., Rigley, M., & Gomes, R. (2018). Cloud manufacturing as a sustainable process manufacturing route. Journal of Manufacturing Systems, 47,
Keywords Cloud manufacturing; Circular economy; Process manufacturing; Resilient manufacturing; Waste valorization
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf


CM as a Sustainable Process Manufacturing Route - author accepted.pdf (977 Kb)

Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

You might also like

Downloadable Citations