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Open AccessArticle

Monitoring Mixing Processes Using Ultrasonic Sensors and Machine Learning

Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham, NG7 2RD, UK
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Sensors 2020, 20(7), 1813; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20071813
Received: 19 February 2020 / Revised: 20 March 2020 / Accepted: 24 March 2020 / Published: 25 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Physical Sensors)
Mixing is one of the most common processes across food, chemical, and pharmaceutical manufacturing. Real-time, in-line sensors are required for monitoring, and subsequently optimising, essential processes such as mixing. Ultrasonic sensors are low-cost, real-time, in-line, and applicable to characterise opaque systems. In this study, a non-invasive, reflection-mode ultrasonic measurement technique was used to monitor two model mixing systems. The two systems studied were honey-water blending and flour-water batter mixing. Classification machine learning models were developed to predict if materials were mixed or not mixed. Regression machine learning models were developed to predict the time remaining until mixing completion. Artificial neural networks, support vector machines, long short-term memory neural networks, and convolutional neural networks were tested, along with different methods for engineering features from ultrasonic waveforms in both the time and frequency domain. Comparisons between using a single sensor and performing multisensor data fusion between two sensors were made. Classification accuracies of up to 96.3% for honey-water blending and 92.5% for flour-water batter mixing were achieved, along with R2 values for the regression models of up to 0.977 for honey-water blending and 0.968 for flour-water batter mixing. Each prediction task produced optimal performance with different algorithms and feature engineering methods, vindicating the extensive comparison between different machine learning approaches. View Full-Text
Keywords: food and drink manufacturing; industry 4.0; digital manufacturing; mixing; ultrasonic sensors; machine learning; convolutional neural networks; long short-term memory neural networks; wavelet transform food and drink manufacturing; industry 4.0; digital manufacturing; mixing; ultrasonic sensors; machine learning; convolutional neural networks; long short-term memory neural networks; wavelet transform
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Bowler, A.L.; Bakalis, S.; Watson, N.J. Monitoring Mixing Processes Using Ultrasonic Sensors and Machine Learning. Sensors 2020, 20, 1813.

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