Deadlock control of automated manufacturing systems based on petri nets-a literature review

Zhiwu Li, Naiqi Wu, Mengchu Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

285 Scopus citations


Deadlocks are a rather undesirable situation in a highly automated flexible manufacturing system. Their occurrences often deteriorate the utilization of resources and may lead to catastrophic results in safety-critical systems. Graph theory, automata, and Petri nets are three important mathematical tools to handle deadlock problems in resource allocation systems. Particularly, Petri nets are considered as a popular formalism because of their inherent characteristics. They received much attention over the past decades to deal with deadlock problems, leading to a variety of deadlock-control policies. This study surveys the state-of-the-art deadlock-control strategies for automated manufacturing systems by reviewing the principles and techniques that are involved in preventing, avoiding, and detecting deadlocks. The focus is deadlock prevention due to its large and continuing stream of efforts. A control strategy is evaluated in terms of computational complexity, behavioral permissiveness, and structural complexity of its deadlock-free supervisor. This study provides readers with a conglomeration of the updated results in this area and facilitates engineers in finding a suitable approach for their industrial scenarios. Future research directions are finally discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6035992
Pages (from-to)437-462
Number of pages26
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics Part C: Applications and Reviews
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Deadlock avoidance
  • Petri net
  • deadlock prevention
  • discrete-event system
  • flexible manufacturing system (FMS)


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