Background: The manufacturing sector has observed dynamic changes during the last
few years, from the product-oriented local economy to the customer-driven global economy. In
this environment, manufacturing systems have been required to deliver highly flexible, demanddriven
and customized products. Hence, the Multi-Agent System (MAS) technology can play an
important role in making highly responsive production scheduling systems in order to meet dynamic
and uncertain changes in demand.
Methods: This paper offers a review of MAS for production scheduling problems in manufacturing
systems. The objective of the paper is twofold. First, it describes traditional and MAS based approaches
for different production scheduling problems and presents the advantages of MAS over
traditional approaches. Second, it aims to review different MAS platforms and evaluate some key
issues involved in MAS based production scheduling.
Results: A variety of different MAS applications in the production schedule is reviewed in four
categories of key issues: agent encapsulation, agent organization, agent coordination & negotiation
and agent learning.
Conclusion: Finally, this review presents a conceptual framework to implement MAS in production
scheduling and also highlights future research opportunities as well as challenges.