The Internet has facilitated the development of e-businesses using web-based services leveraging back-end database systems, inventory systems and payment processing systems. Online retail businesses can be set up in a relatively short period of time. In contrast, set-up of a manufacturing system takes much longer; the system design involves various stages from gaining an understanding of the product and its market to machine selection, layout, control logic, part flow analysis and so on. Cyberinfrastructure has the potential to revolutionize the design and operation of manufacturing systems by creating a collaborative environment distributed across a number of physical locations through web-based virtual communities, thereby simplifying and streamlining the manufacturing system design and integration. This paper describes how current technologies could facilitate the implementation of a cyberinfrastructure for manufacturing. A case study describing a current manufacturing system architecture and how a future one would use cyberinfrastructure is used to describe major gaps that exist and standards that need to be developed.

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