Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Mulrennan, Konrad and Munir, Nimra and Creedon, Leo and Donovan, John and Lyons, John G. and McAfee, Marion
NIR-Based Intelligent Sensing of Product Yield Stress for High-Value Bioresorbable Polymer Processing
Optional Fields
PLA (polylactide) is a bioresorbable polymer used in implantable medical and drug delivery devices. Like other bioresorbable polymers, PLA needs to be processed carefully to avoid degradation. In this work we combine in-process temperature, pressure, and NIR spectroscopy measurements with multivariate regression methods for prediction of the mechanical strength of an extruded PLA product. The potential to use such a method as an intelligent sensor for real-time quality analysis is evaluated based on regulatory guidelines for the medical device industry. It is shown that for the predictions to be robust to processing at different times and to slight changes in the processing conditions, the fusion of both NIR and conventional process sensor data is required. Partial least squares (PLS), which is the established ’soft sensing’ method in the industry, performs the best of the linear methods but demonstrates poor reliability over the full range of processing conditions. Conversely, both random forest (RF) and support vector regression (SVR) show excellent performance for all criteria when used with a prior principal component (PC) dimension reduction step. While linear methods currently dominate for soft sensing of mixture concentrations in highly conservative, regulated industries such as the medical device industry, this work indicates that nonlinear methods may outperform them in the prediction of mechanical properties from complex physicochemical sensor data. The nonlinear methods show the potential to meet industrial standards for robustness, despite the relatively small amount of training data typically available in high-value material processing.
Grant Details