The main concept of intelligent materials processing systems is to have online control during processing. Successful implementation of on-line control of materials processing from the total manufacturing point of view involves full integration of design, procurement, control of incoming components, manufacture, assembly, handling, packaging, and distribution.
There are three primary concerns if on-line control of materials processing is to be successful:
1. Definitive understanding of the process. Process models need to be developed which will bring forth an understanding of the processing variables.
2. Sensors that can interrogate the processes in a manner that allows for process control. Sensing is needed throughout the processing steps so that one can determine and measure various indices and the significant parameters … as borne out by physical and mathematical modeling.
3. Armed with the above, process controls are established to compare the on-line feedback obtained from sensors with the process models. When deviations are observed, measures are taken to change the processing variables so that the operation will yield a “quality” product. Intrinsic to process control is a clear definition of the properties required at the end of individual steps and the relation of the intermediate properties to those specified for the material when the total processing is completed. In fact, only in the light of a definition of the properties and the processes is it possible to define the parameters that can be monitored for on-line control.