The layout design in reconfigurable manufacturing systems: a literature review

  • Isabela MaganhaEmail author
  • Cristovao Silva
  • Luis Miguel D. F. Ferreira


The layout is an important issue in the design of manufacturing systems. In conventional systems, the layout rarely changes after the initial design. However, as the market demands are changing more frequently, layout configurations must be capable of reconfiguring the arrangement of resources to suit new production requirements, while minimising material handling and relocation costs and maximising savings in material flow and inventory costs. This paper presents a literature review on the layout design of reconfigurable manufacturing systems (RMS), focusing on reconfigurable layouts, which have been attracting increasing attention in recent years. A systematic literature network analysis was applied to identify trends, evolutionary trajectories and key issues that are influencing the development of knowledge in this field of study. The results are analysed and discussed using a bibliometric and a chronological citation network analysis. The major findings of this research includes (1) the layout design of RMS must be integrated in the process of RMS design, which, in turn, should be considered as a cyclic process, instead of divided into phases. (2) The core characteristics of reconfigurability and the layout design cannot be dissociated. (3) Operational performance measures are rarely considered in the reconfigurable layout problem, despite their importance. (4) Optimisation approaches have been widely used to solve the reconfigurable layout problem. However, they might not be the most suitable approach to deal with the uncertainty and variability present in manufacturing environments in which reconfigurable layouts are required. Finally, this paper identifies gaps in the literature and suggests directions for future research.


Reconfigurable manufacturing system Layout design Choice of machines Layout problem Systematic literature network analysis 


Funding information

This research was supported by the Portugal 2020 project DM4Manufacturing POCI-01-0145-FEDER-016418 by UE/FEDER through the program COMPETE2020.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CEMMPRE, Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal
  2. 2.CEMMPRE-CeBER, Department of Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of CoimbraCoimbraPortugal

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