In an environment with fluctuating demand and unpredictable parts mix compositions, the efficiency of cellular systems necessitates the use of virtual cells. Virtual cellular manufacturing systems (VCMSs) are based on a highly flexible manufacturing concept designed to improve the performance of classical cellular manufacturing systems (CMSs) and job shop manufacturing environment by creating virtual grouping the resources temporarily in the production planning and control system. The underlying concept is particularly valuable during high demands variety and variability and with increase in machines types required by parts for processing. Whereas researches on VCMSs are still in a preliminary stage, this concept has gained momentum during the last decade and a wide and diverse variety of solution techniques have been applied for solving part-machine cell formation problems in these systems. The aim of this paper is to provide a review on recent efforts and developments in the VCMSs area to make required comparisons among the published works and determine future research issues and high-impact research scopes to search more. In this study, the overview was on various criteria in detail. While already a few researchers tended to make surveys over VCMSs, some important criteria were neglected to review and consider, which this paper tried to cover them as a complementary and an updated version.
Key words: Cell formation, survey, virtual cellular manufacturing system.
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