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The use of neural networks in statistical process control charts

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Abstract

Neural networks (NNs) are massively parallel computing mechanism emulating a human brain. It has been proved that they had a satisfactory performance when they were used for a wide variety of applications. In the recent years, the efficiencies that provided the NNs also began to be applied in statistical process control (SPC). SPC charts have become one of the most commonly used tools for monitoring process stability and variability in today's manufacturing environment. These tools are used to determine whether the process is statistically under or out of control but in some cases such as the presence of autocorrelation as well as the presence of a specific pattern in the data do not provide the possibility of correctly and quickly detecting and classifying the existing fault. These problems have led many researchers to propose alternative methods for monitoring processes such as the use of NNs. In this paper, we discuss issues concerning the combination of both tools. Specifically, we study the NNs for the detection and determination of mean and/or variance shifts as well as in pattern recognition in the SPC charts. Furthermore, the use of NNs when the data are correlated is discussed. Finally, the use of NNs in multivariate control charts is addressed. The networks architectures that were used for each case, the way of operation and the performance of the proposed NNs applications are pointed out. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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