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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Handling Constraints and Raw Material Variability in Rotomolding through Data-Driven Model Predictive Control

Department of Chemical Engineering, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada
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Processes 2019, 7(9), 610; https://doi.org/10.3390/pr7090610
Received: 29 July 2019 / Revised: 3 September 2019 / Accepted: 5 September 2019 / Published: 10 September 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Methods for Polymers)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: subspace identification; polymer processing; model predictive control; rotational molding; batch process modeling and control subspace identification; polymer processing; model predictive control; rotational molding; batch process modeling and control
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MDPI and ACS Style

Garg, A.; Abdulhussain, H.A.; Mhaskar, P.; Thompson, M.R. Handling Constraints and Raw Material Variability in Rotomolding through Data-Driven Model Predictive Control. Processes 2019, 7, 610.

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