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VW taps Siemens, Amazon Web Services to link factories to the cloud

The open platform could be shared with other manufacturers in the future.

Volkswagen Wolfsburg factory
Volkswagen's factory in Wolfsburg, Germany.

With 122 plants all around the world making countless engines, components and entire cars, the Volkswagen Group has a lot of machinery to keep track of. The German automaker announced this week it's taking steps to consolidate all of that data into one cloud-based system called Industrial Cloud.

One of VW's partners on Industrial Cloud is Amazon Web Services, which will create the virtual system for managing all of the company's production data worldwide. VW says the technology will allow it to consolidate all of its inventory and production planning under one system, whereas today there are multiple IT systems used at different factories around the world.

A high-level map of the Volkswagen Industrial Cloud.


The goal of having all production data in one place is to improve manufacturing efficiencies: identifying slowdowns or other bottlenecks, material distribution of materials and even track delivery vehicles. Because the Industrial Cloud is an open platform, VW plans to eventually enable some of its 1,500 suppliers to be integrated into the system.

The other half of the Industrial Cloud announcement is VW's partnership with Siemens, which will work on networking the machines and equipment at the automaker's 122 plants. Siemens' Internet of Things and industrial automation tech will be what connects the cloud with physical machines. The company also says that its MindSphere technology can predict when machines will need maintenance proactively and schedule it accordingly.

VW intends to put Industrial Cloud into action before the end of 2019.