Virtual manufacturing cells: A taxonomy of past research and identification of future research issues

  • Gert NomdenEmail author
  • Jannes Slomp
  • Nallan C. Suresh


This paper reviews prior research in the area of virtual manufacturing cells. A virtual manufacturing cell (VMC) is a group of resources that is dedicated to the manufacturing of a part family, though this grouping is not reflected in the physical structure of the manufacturing system. Distinguishing such groups in the production control system offers the possibility of achieving the advantages of cellular manufacturing in non-cellular manufacturing systems. The advantages may include improved flow performance, higher efficiency, simplified production control, and better quality. The paper reviews the previous publications on virtual manufacturing cells, to determine the methods and scope of present research. This results in a comprehensive framework which identifies the underlying principles of VMCs and classifies the different VMC concepts. It is shown that virtual manufacturing cells can significantly improve the performance of manufacturing systems. Based on the comprehensive review, many future research issues and high-impact research areas are also identified.


Virtual cellular manufacturing Group technology Flexible manufacturing systems Cell design 


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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Management & OrganizationUniversity of GroningenGroningenNetherlands
  2. 2.School of ManagementState University of New YorkBuffaloUSA

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