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The Scoop on Edge vs. Cloud for Deploying Smart Manufacturing

Category: Manufacturing Technology Jan 9, 2019

Smart manufacturing revenue is predicted to grow substantially during the next eight years, from $4.5 billion this year to $51.5 billion in 2026. Is your firm on track to become a smart manufacturing facility? AMT News reported that balancing edge and cloud computing have the potential to cost-effectively transform job shops and manufacturing firms into smart facilities.

Here are three things to consider:

  1. The difference between edge and cloud computing.
    Edge computing is data processing at the edge of a network. Cloud computing is holding the data processing in a central warehouse.
  2. How edge and cloud computing work together.
    Edge computing allows workloads to be consolidated onto edge gateways and servers processing streams of data on-premise and feeding it to the cloud for further storage, analytics, and training models. Edge solutions can deal with multiple devices and augment the cloud to increase the capacity of data processing while decreasing the volume of data sent to the cloud­ – lowering the total cost of ownership.

    The stream processing of edge computing empowers the user to catch anomalies in the data that batch data to the cloud misses which means stream processing is more effective for executing predictive maintenance and quality control.
  3. When considering a balance of edge and cloud computing, look for solutions that:
  • Implement architectures with stream processing on-premise that take advantage of the low latencies of edge computing. Deploying models at the edge means catching failure predictions and detecting defects earlier, and more ease in finding their root cause.
  • Give the end user the freedom to control what is published to the cloud and what stays at the edge.
  • Extract data from equipment on the factory floor and merge data flows from different OEMs.
  • Adapt and leverage existing infrastructure and protocol translation.
  • Use code-free application development and logic configuration that can be deployed at the edge. By minimizing the need for custom code, development scalability and deployment will speed up allowing for more innovation from more people, not just the people who know how to code.

Following this strategic guidance should enable job shops and manufacturers to optimize the balance of edge and cloud computing to implement scalable and cost-efficient solutions for processing data. 

Adapted by Kathy K. Webster, AMT- Exhibitions Content Manager – Correspondence, from Smart Manufacturing’s Balancing Act Between Edge and Cloud Computing, an article in the November AMT News by Pierce Owen, Principal Analyst at market foresight advisory firm ABI Research.

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