Loading in flexible manufacturing systems (FMSs) is affected by the characteristics of the FMS under analysis, by the type of plant where the FMS is introduced, and by the production planning hierarchy where the loading module operates. We propose an analysis of the various aspects that influence the prob- lem formulation, identifying the alternatives available in real systems and possible future evolutions. We then provide a survey of different approaches proposed in the literature to tackle the loading problem. Articles are classified according to the type of FMS analyzed, the objective function, and the constraints. Finally, based on our analysis, we suggest some problem issues which need to be addressed, and also directions for future research.
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