Industrial cloud applications: Manufacturing organizations look to embrace the cloud

With major automation vendors increasingly offering turn-key cloud-enabled applications, operational technology (OT) professionals can more easily leverage the benefits of the industrial cloud.

By Bryon Hayes September 5, 2023
Courtesy: Brett Sayles


Learning Objectives

  • Learn how OT professionals can begin leveraging the benefits of the industrial cloud.
  • Learn how some companies’ platforms are working to utilize the cloud’s capabilities.

Industrial cloud insights

  • A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey indicates 72% of manufacturing companies are investing in cloud-based platforms and applications.
  • Many major automation platform providers offer cloud-enabled applications that can allow end-users to tap the benefits of the cloud.
  • Operational technology (OT) professionals can leverage the benefits of the cloud the way the information technology (IT) world has for decades.

As manufacturing organizations adopt the tenets of Industry 4.0 across the enterprise, they are turning to cloud computing as a major pillar to support their efforts. A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) survey indicates 72% of manufacturing companies are investing in cloud-based platforms and applications as support for their Industry 4.0 strategies.

But how does a maintenance manager or controls engineer begin to leverage the cloud to enhance their day-to-day operations? Most of the major automation platform providers are already there, waiting with cloud-enabled applications to help.

For example, Rockwell Automation’s FactoryTalk Design Studio software is bringing programmable logic controller (PLC) programming to the cloud. The design studio is designed as a multi-user, multi-controller platform. It leverages the object-oriented programming concepts from the software world to enhance modularized automation application development and uses the Git platform under the hood.

AVEVA System Platform enables collaboration and enterprise-wide scalability with its cloud and hybrid-cloud development tools.

Inductive Automation’s Ignition Cloud Edition looks to leverage the cloud’s elasticity to drive user scalability.

Cloud solution providers such as AWS and Microsoft Azure are responding to the growing needs of the manufacturing space by enhancing their ability to provide safe and secure infrastructure on top of which the industrial automation platform providers can deploy these innovative solutions.

The information technology (IT) world has embraced the cloud for decades, and now operational technology (OT) professionals are able to realize the flexibility and scalability of the cloud. As adoption penetrates further down the ISA-95 stack, from Level 4 and Level 3 down to Level 2, the operational and financial benefits for manufacturers will keep increasing.

Bryon Hayes, director of consulting – life sciences, Grantek. Edited by David Miller, Content Manager, Control Engineering, CFE Media and Technology,


Keywords: Industrial Cloud, digital transformation


What potential use-cases can you find in your facility for cloud-enabled applications?

Author Bio: Bryon Hayes, director, consulting - life sciences, Grantek.