Accurate and real-time quality prediction to realize the optimal process control at a competitive price is an important issue in Industrial 4.0. This paper shows a successful engineering application of how smart soft sensors can be combined with machine learning technique to significantly save human resources and improve performance under complex industrial conditions. Ensemble learning based soft sensors succeed in capturing complex nonlinearities, frequent dynamic changes, as well as time-varying characteristics in industrial processes. However, local model regions under traditional ensemble modelling methods are highly dependent on labeled data samples and, hence, their prediction accuracy might get affected when labeled samples are limited. A novel active learning (AL) framework upon the ensemble Gaussian process regression (GPR) model is proposed for smart soft sensor design in order to overcome this drawback. Firstly, to iteratively select the most informative unlabeled samples for labeling with hierarchical sampling based AL strategy, to then apply Gaussian mixture model (GMM) technique to autonomously identify operation phases, to further construct local GPR models without human involvement, and finally to integrate the base predictors by applying the Bayesian fusion strategy. Comparative studies for the penicillin fermentation process demonstrate the reliability and superiority of the recommended smart soft sensing. The cost of human annotation can be dramatically reduced by at least half while the prediction performance simultaneously keeps high.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited