Current manufacturing software applications are predominantly large, manufacturer-centric, general-purpose programs with the universal applicability needed to justify their development, marketing and acquisition costs. They usually have broad capabilities, but are cumbersome to learn and often require expert intervention. There is an opportunity for researchers to pursue research and educational efforts to accelerate the creation of an interoperating, cross-process manufacturing service layer that enables the rapid, bottom-up transformation of access to manufacturing services. Such a service layer can allow creative entrepreneurs and companies to both furnish and access manufacturing apps that span the full spectrum from ideation to physical realization, giving rise to an era of “cybermanufacturing.”
The Cybermanufacturing Systems (CM) Program supports fundamental research to enable the evolution of a wide range of network-accessed manufacturing services that:
- employ applications (or “apps”) that reside in the “cloud” and plug into an expansible, interactive architecture;
- are broadly accessible, guarantee reliable execution and have capabilities that are transparent to users; and
- are accessible at low cost to innovators and entrepreneurs, including both users and providers.