This work addresses the problems of uniquely specifying and robustly achieving user-specified product quality in a complex industrial batch process, which has been demonstrated using a lab-scale uni-axial rotational molding process. In particular, a data-driven modeling and control framework is developed that is able to reject raw material variation and achieve product quality which is specified through constraints on quality variables. To this end, a subspace state-space model of the rotational molding process is first identified from historical data generated in the lab. This dynamic model predicts the evolution of the internal mold temperature for a given set of input move trajectory (heater and compressed air profiles). Further, this dynamic model is augmented with a linear least-squares based quality model, which relates its terminal (states) prediction with key quality variables. For the lab-scale process, the chosen quality variables are sinkhole area, ultrasonic spectra amplitude, impact energy and shear viscosity. The complete model is then deployed within a model-based control scheme that facilitates specifying on-spec products via limits on the quality variables. Further, this framework is demonstrated to be capable of rejecting raw material variability to achieve the desired specifications. To replicate raw material variability observed in practice, in this work, the raw material is obtained by blending the matrix resin with a resin of slightly different viscosity at varying weight fractions. Results obtained from experimental studies demonstrate the capability of the proposed model predictive control (MPC) in meeting process specifications and rejecting raw material variability.
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