Integrated performance prediction and quality control in manufacturing systems
Predicting the condition of a degrading dynamic system is critical for implementing successful control and designing the optimal operation and maintenance strategies throughout the lifetime of the system. In many situations, especially in manufacturing, systems experience multiple degradation cycles, failures, and maintenance events throughout their lifetimes. In such cases, historical records of sensor readings observed during the lifecycle of a machine can yield vital information about degradation patterns of the monitored machine, which can be used to formulate dynamic models for predicting its future performance. Besides the ability to predict equipment failures, another major component of cost effective and high-throughput manufacturing is tight control of product quality. Quality control is assured by taking periodic measurements of the products at various stages of production. Nevertheless, quality measurements of the product require time and are often executed on costly measurement equipment, which increases the cost of manufacturing and slows down production. One possible way to remedy this situation is to utilize the inherent link between the manufacturing equipment condition, mirrored in the readings of sensors mounted on that machine, and the quality of products coming out of it. The concept of Virtual Metrology (VM) addresses the quality control problem by using data-driven models that relate the product quality to the equipment sensors, enabling continuous estimation of the quality characteristics of the product, even when physical measurements of product quality are not available. VM can thus bring significant production benefits, including improved process control, reduced quality losses and higher productivity. In this dissertation, new methods are formulated that will combine long-term performance prediction of sensory signatures from a degrading manufacturing machine with VM quality estimation, which enables integration of predictive condition monitoring (prediction of sensory signatures) with predictive manufacturing process control (predictive VM model). The recently developed algorithm for prediction of sensory signatures is capable of predicting the system condition by comparing the similarity of the most recent performance signatures with the known degradation patterns available in the historical records. The method accomplishes the prediction of non-Gaussian and non-stationary time-series of relevant performance signatures with analytical tractability, which enables calculations of predicted signature distributions with significantly greater speeds than what can be found in literature. VM quality estimation is implemented using the recently introduced growing structure multiple model system paradigm (GSMMS), based on the use of local linear dynamic models. The concept of local models enables representation of complex, non-linear dependencies with non-Gaussian and non-stationary noise characteristics, using a locally tractable model representation. Localized modeling enables a VM that can detect situations when the VM model is not adequate and needs to be improved, which is one of the main challenges in VM. Finally, uncertainty propagation with Monte Carlo simulation is pursued in order to propagate the predicted distributions of equipment signatures through the VM model to enable prediction of distributions of the quality variables using the readily available sensor readings streaming from the monitored manufacturing machine. The newly developed methods are applied to long-term production data coming from an industrial plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) tool operating in a major semiconductor manufacturing fab.