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All about connectivity – Cloud Computing in electronics manufacturing

The market’s requirements for the electronics industry are in constant growth and change. This entails shorter development cycles as well as less time for manufacturing. Therefore, Cloud-systems are contemporary getting implemented into manufacturing. Especially the Internet of Things has been offering new possibilities of automation and efficiency for some time now. Industry 4.0 and Smart Factory have been considered as the revolution of manufacturing systems – for a reason! Connecting processes with the help of Cloud Computing not only offers more possibilities of controlling automated machines but also far more encompassing process optimizations. Due to permanently collecting data of every single process step, potentials can be identified easily and quickly. Ideally, supply chains and data streams are connected within all steps and as well between each other completely. The unbeatable advantage of Cloud Computing, therefore, is the overview and vision that can be achieved when data coming from a great network are collected in one place to analyze them. But where can these advantages lead to and how can this be exploited in electronics development?

Optimization with Cloud Computing

The need for electronics will rise and the developing process, as well as the manufacturing industry, has to adapt. With connected sensors that measure different values of machines, a network is created, an Internet of Things (IoT). This helps a company to track every process step and its energy consumption, which allows the manufacturing to be optimized to maximal efficiency. Moreover, cost-savings are an important aspect due to growing complexity: Particularly concerning PCBs in electronics, the prices should not increase to the same extent as their complexity.

Every optimization is based on collected data. Cloud-based working enables higher currency than manually collected data that must be laboriously compiled and evaluated. High computing power allows the data to be analyzed by automated algorithms that can recognize patterns much faster than humans would be able to. This encompassing evidence is also a solid base for decision-making and can help to make better and future-oriented decisions.

Meeting the requirements of dynamic electronics cloud manufacturing

One special requirement of electronics development is the high dynamic within this industry field. Developments have to be completed and processed by a manufacturer as fast as possible. The designs are evaluated manually as well as by software to avoid mistakes. From time to time, such mistakes in the design file are only identified during the production process, which leads to time delay and therefore higher costs, which is especially critical for high quantities. Then it is particularly important to act quickly. Feedback and detailed information about the problem have to be processed as fast as possible from manufacturing to the development team. Without a cloud-based system, the employees would need to send screenshots of the design file back and forth by mail, which is very time-consuming and tedious. A simpler and more elegant solution for manufacturers is to insert comments or suggested changes directly into the design file – which requires the application of a cloud. This allows the design team to work and adapt the project accordingly right in the file, without any unnecessary steps.

However, changes in the design however can lead to further coordination with suppliers, for example when a new building component is needed. Supply chain management is another opportunity to be revolutionized with cloud computing technology leading. Using cloud manufacturing, electronics developers can upload the latest version directly into the database and keep it up-to-date. Therefore, Cloud Computing enables closer collaboration between the design team, manufacturing firms and suppliers – it is all about connectivity.

„Cloudy“ infrastructures

Once committed to the usage of Cloud Computing, there are several ways to manage the infrastructure. Depending on the cloud platform, it can be scaled well to supply (and pay) computing and server resources on demand. On the one hand, there is no problem to receive more capacity on a short-notice and on the other hand, no unused infrastructure and IT-equipment is left standing. Resources are available on-demand.

As their customer, your cloud provider may be able to take care of any security-related issues – from updates to encryption. In most cases, these measures are much more effective than a single enterprise could offer, both for financial and know-how reasons. An overview of different types of opportunities for cloud computing hosting can be found here. The security of a cloud is also reinforced by the fact that employees know the cloud as a "single source of truth" and are thus better armed against scam or spam.

Traditional manufacturing can be transformed by creating smart factory networks that are secure, foster effective collaboration and make the best use of resources. Are you convinced of the possibilities that Cloud Computing offers to your enterprise? Then we recommend you to take a look at our Webinar “Computing Power with the help of Cloud solution”, which our CTO Alexander Pohl prepared for you. Take your next giant step into the future and optimize your electronics development with the CELUS Engineering Platform.