In this work, a supervised machine learning (ML) model was developed to detect flow disturbances caused by the presence of a dissimilar material region in liquid moulding manufacturing of composites. The machine learning model was designed to predict the position, size and relative permeability of an embedded rectangular dissimilar material region through use of only the signals corresponding to an array of pressure sensors evenly distributed on the mould surface. The burden of experimental tests required to train in an efficient manner such predictive models is so high that favours its substitution with synthetically-generated simulation datasets. A regression model based on the use of convolutional neural networks (CNN) was developed and trained with data generated from mould-filling simulations carried out through use of OpenFoam as numerical solver. The evolution of the pressure sensors through the filling time was stored and used as grey-level images containing information regarding the pressure, the sensor location within the mould and filling time. The trained CNN model was able to recognise the presence of a dissimilar material region from the data used as inputs, meeting accuracy expectation in terms of detection. The purpose of this work was to establish a general framework for fully-synthetic-trained machine learning models to address the occurrence of manufacturing disturbances without placing emphasis on its performance, robustness and optimization. Accuracy and model robustness were also addressed in the paper. The effect of noise signals, pressure sensor network size, presence of different shape dissimilar regions, among others, were analysed in detail. The ability of ML models to examine and overcome complex physical and engineering problems such as defects produced during manufacturing of materials and parts is particularly innovative and highly aligned with Industry 4.0 concepts.
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