Cloud manufacturing is emerging as a new promising business paradigm as well as an integrated technical approach, contributing to the shaping of a highly-collaborative, knowledge-intensive, service-oriented and eco-efficient manufacturing industry. The following research issues concerning cloud manufacturing platform, what users can achieve with the platform, what the platform can do, and how to design it, play crucial roles in this new area. This paper proposes a cloud manufacturing paradigm that depicts a typical scenario which can provide an explanation for the concept of cloud manufacturing and makes the mysterious “cloud” transparent. Then the functional requirements of cloud manufacturing platform are investigated to specify design objectives. Based on these, the paper presents the design of MfgCloud, a cloud manufacturing platform prototype. In discussion of the main components of MfgCloud, the specific concepts different from those corresponding terms in IT area are also defined and given their implementation mechanisms. Consequently, this paper proposes a new point of view for the concept of cloud manufacturing, and accordingly presents a reference design of cloud manufacturing platform.

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