A method, controller, and system for monitoring a manufacturing process are described. Measured values of multiple variables, including dependent variables, manipulated variables, or both, are received. Future values of the manipulated variables, future values of the dependent variables, or both, are predicted. A multivariate analysis is performed on a combination of the measured values of the variables and the future values of the manipulated variables, the future values of the dependent variables, or both, to generate multivariate statistics.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The invention generally relates to data analysis and monitoring of a batch manufacturing process, and particularly to multivariate predictive monitoring of a batch manufacturing process.

BACKGROUND

Massive data sets can be collected during manufacturing processes and in connection with research and development activities. Manufacturing processes are sometimes categorized as either “batch” manufacturing processes or “continuous” manufacturing processes. In a batch manufacturing process, a series of steps are performed on a set of raw and/or processed materials over a finite duration to produce a product with desired properties. In some batch processes, processing occurs at a single workstation (e.g., a chamber or container) involving one or more process tools (e.g., process tools within the chamber or container). Examples of batch manufacturing processes include semiconductor wafer processing (e.g., processing a single wafer results in a set of chips), pharmaceutical processing (e.g., the process results in an intermediate or final output set of chemicals or drugs), or biotechnology processing (e.g., the process results in a particular biological fermentation or cell culture process). In contrast, in continuous manufacturing processes, materials are manufactured, processed or produced substantially without interruption.

As an example, in the semiconductor device manufacturing industry, as device geometries shrink to the nanometer scale, complexity in manufacturing processes increases, and process and material specifications become more difficult to meet. For example, a typical process tool used in current semiconductor manufacturing can be described by a set of several thousand process variables. The variables are generally related to physical parameters of the manufacturing process and/or tools used in the manufacturing process. In some cases, of these several thousand variables, several hundred variables are dynamic (e.g., changing in time during the manufacturing process or between manufacturing processes). The dynamic variables (e.g., gas flow, gas pressure, delivered power, current, voltage, and temperature) can change, sometimes non-linearly, based on a variety of factors, including, for example, a specific processing recipe, the particular step or series of steps in the overall sequence of processing steps, errors and faults that occur during the manufacturing process or changes in parameters.

Generally, process variables associated with a manufacturing process can be divided into two different types, X-type variables (also known as X-variables or observation-level variables) and Y-type variables (also know as Y-variables). X-type variables are indicative of factors, predictors, or indicators and are used to make projections or predictions about the manufacturing process or results of the manufacturing process. Y-type variables are indicative of yields or responses of the manufacturing processes. X-type variables and Y-type variables are generally related to each other. Often, the exact relationship between the X-type variables and Y-type variables is uncertain or difficult or impossible to determine. The relationship can, in some instances, be approximated or modeled by various techniques, such as linear approximation, quadratic approximation, polynomial fitting methods, exponential or power-series relationships, multivariate techniques (e.g., principal component analysis or partial least squares analysis), among others. In such cases, the relationship between X-type variables and Y-type variables can be inferred based on observing changes to one type of variables and observing responses on the other type of variables.

There are several existing approaches for monitoring a manufacturing process. However, these methods are difficult to apply to a batch manufacturing process. This is because an operator of a batch process is unlikely to know the quality of the product until the batch is finished, by which time it is too late to adjust the process to improve product quality. Even for those methods that can monitor a batch evolution in real time, the methods do not evaluate the effect of past and current behavior of the manufacturing process on its future behavior or troubleshoot the process using predicted process data. Therefore, existing methods make it difficult for an operator to detect future faults and develop avoidance strategies accordingly during process execution.

SUMMARY

Therefore, there is a need for improved methods and systems for monitoring a manufacturing process in real time or in near real time, especially in a batch manufacturing process, and determining useful information related to the manufacturing process. Instead of waiting until the end of a batch run to assess process operation, the present invention describes methods and systems for assessing the performance of a batch process in real time at various time points throughout the execution of the batch process, thus capturing the behavior of the batch as it evolves in time. In addition, to capture the impact of past and current process events on the remainder of the batch process, the present application describes systems and methods for predicting future trajectories of process variables and incorporating the predicted values in the monitoring scheme.

In one aspect, a computer-implemented method is provided for monitoring a manufacturing process. The method includes receiving, via a computing device, measured values of a plurality of variables of the manufacturing process. The variables include at least one of manipulated variables or dependent variables. The method also includes determining, with the computing device, future values of the manipulated variables or future values of the dependent variables, or a combination thereof. The manipulated variables represent process parameters whose values are directly assignable during the manufacturing process and the dependent variables represent process parameters whose values are dependent on process conditions. The method further includes performing multivariate analysis, via the computing device, on a combination of (1) the measured values of the variables and (2) at least one of the future values of the manipulated variables or the future values of the dependent variables to generate multiple multivariate statistics.

In another aspect, a multivariate monitor is provided for a batch-type manufacturing process associated with a finite duration. The monitor includes one or more sensors for measuring values of a plurality of variables of the manufacturing process up to a current maturity point of the finite duration. The variables include at least one of manipulated variables or dependent variables. The monitor includes a prediction module for computing future values of the dependent variables after the current maturity point. The dependent variables represent one or more process parameters whose values are not directly assignable. The monitor also includes an analysis module for performing multivariate analysis on the measured values of the variables and the future values of the dependent variables to generate multiple multivariate statistics, which represent a trajectory of estimated past, current and future behavior of the batch-type manufacturing process over at least a portion of the finite duration.

In some embodiments, the prediction module determines future values of the manipulated variables representative of a set of known values for setting the manipulated variables at one or more future points in time. The manipulated variables can be directly assignable during the manufacturing process. The analysis module can perform multivariate analysis on a combination of the measured values of the variables, the future values of the manipulated variables and the future values of the dependent variables to generate the multivariate statistics.

In some embodiments, the trajectory includes predicted future behavior of the batch-type manufacturing process from the current maturity point to the end of the finite duration. In some embodiments, the monitor includes a fault detection module for predicting a future fault of the manufacturing process based on the trajectory.

In another aspect, a system is provided for monitoring a manufacturing process. The system includes a receiving means for receiving measured values of a plurality of variables of the manufacturing process. The variables include at least one of manipulated variables or dependent variables. The system includes a determination means for determining future values of the manipulated variables, future values of the dependent variables, or a combination thereof. The manipulated variables represent process parameters whose values are directly assignable during the manufacturing process and the dependent variables represent process parameters whose values are dependent on process conditions. The system also includes an analysis means for performing multivariate analysis on a combination of (1) the measured values of the variables and (2) at least one of the future values of the manipulated variables or the future values of the dependent variables to generate multiple multivariate statistics.

In other examples, any of the aspects above can include one or more of the following features. The manufacturing process can be a batch-type manufacturing process associated with a finite duration. In some embodiments, the multivariate analysis is performed based on at least one unfolded data matrix established using observation-wise unfolding of a batch data array, such that each row of the unfolded matrix includes observation of the variables at a unique time sample within the finite duration. In some embodiments, the variables are measured or known up to a current maturity point within the finite duration of the batch-type manufacturing process. In some embodiments, the estimated future values of the dependent variables span from after the current maturity point to the end of the finite duration.

The multivariate statistics can represent a trajectory of estimated past, current and future behavior of the manufacturing process. This trajectory can be used to predict a future fault of the manufacturing process. In some embodiments, the multivariate statistics are compared with a time-varying reference model of the manufacturing process to detect a fault in the manufacturing process.

In some embodiments, the dependent variables are not directly assignable during the manufacturing process. The values of the dependent variables can be dependent on at least one of: (1) past values of the dependent variables, (2) past values of the manipulated variables, or (3) future values of the manipulated variables.

In some embodiments, the future values of the manipulated variables represent known values for setting the manipulated variables at one or more future points in time subsequent to the maturity point.

In some embodiments, the future values of the dependent variables are predicted using at least one of an imputation method or a regression method based on the measured values of the plurality of variables and optionally, the future values of the manipulated variables.

In some embodiments, each of the multivariate statistics comprises at least a multivariate score, a Hotelling's T

^{2 }value, a DModX value, or any combination thereof. In some embodiments, a multivariate score comprises a principal components analysis t-score or a partial least squares analysis t-score.

In some embodiments, a second set of future values of the manipulated variables is received, which represent hypothesized values for setting the manipulated variables. A multivariate analysis is performed on a combination of (1) the measured values of the variables, (2) the second set of future values of the manipulated variables and (3) the future values of the dependent variables to generate a second set of multivariate statistics. The second set of multivariate statistics can predict an effect of the second set of future values of the manipulated variables on the manufacturing process.

Some implementations include any of the above-described aspects featuring any of the above embodiments or benefits thereof.

These and other features will be more fully understood by reference to the following description and drawings, which are illustrative and not necessarily to scale. Although the concepts are described herein with respect to a manufacturing process, particularly a semiconductor process, it will be apparent to one of skill in the art that the concepts have additional applications, for example, pharmaceutical or biotechnical applications, metallurgic and mining applications, financial data analysis applications, or other applications involving a large number of data points or observations.

The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages will be apparent from the following more particular description of the embodiments, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings in which like reference characters refer to the same parts throughout the different views. The drawings are not necessarily to scale, emphasis instead being placed upon illustrating the principles of the embodiments.

FIG. 1 shows a block diagram of a system that embodies aspects of the invention.

FIG. 2 shows techniques for unfolding batch data.

FIG. 3 shows an exemplary set of data matrices generated for monitoring a batch manufacturing process.

FIG. 4 shows another exemplary set of data matrices generated for monitoring a batch manufacturing process.

FIG. 5 shows a flow chart illustrating a method for monitoring operating parameters of a manufacturing process.

FIGS. 6A and 6B show exemplary trajectories for a batch manufacturing process.

FIG. 1 shows an exemplary system

**100**that includes a processor

**105**and a user interface

**110**. The user interface

**110**can include a computer keyboard, mouse, other haptic interfaces, a graphical user interface, voice input, or other input/output channel for a user to communicate with the processor

**105**in response to stimuli from the processor

**105**(e.g., to specify values for constraints). The user interface

**110**can include a display such as a computer monitor. The processor

**105**is coupled to a processing facility

**115**. The processing facility

**115**performs manufacturing or processing operations. For example, in the context of the semiconductor industry, the processing facility performs processing functions on a wafer

**120**and outputs a processed wafer

**120**′. The wafer

**120**and processed wafer

**120**′ are illustrative only, and can represent any input and/or output of a batch manufacturing process (e.g., a pharmaceutical granulation or blending or other unit processing step, or biotechnology fermentation, cell culture, or purification process). The processing facility

**115**can include tools or processes (not shown) for performing tasks such as cleaning, purification, depositing material, mixing materials or chemicals, dissolving materials or chemicals, removing materials, rinsing materials, and/or performing other functions within the processing facility

**115**.

In some embodiments, the tools or processes include multiple stations or units within the facility

**115**. The functions of the facility

**115**can be characterized by variables that represent various physical parameters of the manufacturing process, including, for example, gas pressure, gas flow rate, temperature, time, and/or plasma or chemicals or biochemical concentrations, among many others. In addition, physical parameters corresponding to the variables can be monitored and measured to produce outputs

**125**. In some embodiments, the outputs

**125**include measurements of the process parameters sampled at one or more instances from the beginning of a batch manufacturing process up to a current time (known as a maturity point) of the batch process. The set of measured values for one or more process variables up to the current maturity point can be denoted as X

_{k}. In general, a maturity point represents the amount of completion in time of a batch process.

In some embodiments, the variables measured during the batch manufacturing process are X-type variables. These X-type variables can be further divided into subsets or sub-types. One subset of X-type variables are manipulated variables. Another subset of X-type variables are dependent variables. Therefore, the set of measured variable data X

_{k }includes both measured values of manipulated variables and measured values of dependent variables. Manipulated variables represent physical parameters that can be directly assignable such as, for example, setpoints for temperature, chemical concentrations, pH, gas pressure, supplied power, current, voltage, or processing time. In some embodiments, the system

**100**specifies setpoint or target values assignable to one or more manipulated variables at certain future points in time (i.e., beyond the current maturity point). These future setpoint or target values of the manipulated variables can be denoted as X

_{mv}.

Dependent variables represent physical parameters that are not assignable during a manufacturing process. Generally, values of dependent variables are dependent on one or more process conditions. In some embodiments, values of dependent variables are related to, associated with, or dependent on values of one or more manipulated variables, either via known relationships or unknown relationships, which may or may not be empirically determinable and/or modeled. In some embodiments, current or future values of dependent variables depend on at least one of: 1) past values of dependent variables, 2) past values of manipulated variables, or 3) future values of manipulated variables. Examples of dependent variables include chamber temperature, gas pressure, temperature or pressure gradients, impurity levels, spectral and/or chromatographic profiles, and others.

As shown in FIG. 1, the processing facility

**115**is coupled to the processor

**105**by a data acquisition module

**130**. The data acquisition module

**130**receives the outputs

**125**, including the measured variable data X

_{k}, from the processing facility

**115**. In some embodiments, the data acquisition module

**130**performs buffering, multiplexing, signaling, switching, routing, formatting, and other functions on the data to put the data in a format or condition for suitable communication or retransmission to other modules of the processor

**105**.

The system

**100**also includes a monitoring module

**135**configured to receive data from the data acquisition module

**130**, e.g., via communication links

**140**. In some embodiments, the data acquisition module

**130**relays the output

**125**from the processing facility

**115**to the monitoring module

**135**. The monitoring module

**135**includes a prediction component

**150**and an analysis component

**155**. The prediction component

**150**uses a time-varying model to predict future values of one or more dependent variables at different future points in time until, for example, the end of a batch manufacturing process. The predicted future values of one or more dependent variables are herein denoted as X

_{D-future}. The X

_{D-future }data reflect the effect of the dependent and manipulated variables measured up to the current maturity (X

_{k}) and, optionally, future values of the manipulated variables (X

_{mv}) on the values of the dependent variables for the remainder of the process. The analysis component

**155**determines the quality of a batch process by computing a trajectory that illustrates the time-varying difference between (a) measured and predicted values of various process variables and (b) ideal values of the variables. Based on the trajectory, an operator can predict future faults for the remainder of the batch.

The system

**100**also includes a memory

**160**. The memory

**160**can be used to store different data sets generated at each maturity point. For example, at a current maturity point, the memory

**160**can store the measured past and present values of the process variables X

_{k}, predicted values of the manipulated variables X

_{mv}, and predicted values of the dependent variables X

_{D-future}.

To facilitate mathematical analysis of a batch process for the purpose of monitoring the process, three-dimensional data related to the batch process can be unfolded and stored in a two-dimension matrix using a number of different approaches. FIG. 2 illustrates an observation-wise unfolding technique used to represent three-dimensional batch data

**200**as a two-dimensional matrix

**208**. The three-dimensional batch data

**200**includes values of multiple process variables

**202**either measured or predicted for one or more time samples

**206**and associated with one or more batches

**204**. In some embodiments, the process variables

**202**are X-type variables. The resulting two-dimensional matrix

**208**shows that each row includes measured and predicted values (i.e. observations) of the process variables

**202**corresponding to a unique point in time. A batch-wise unfolding approach may also be used to unfold the batch data

**200**. The resulting two-dimensional matrix

**210**shows that each row includes values of the variables

**202**over time corresponding to a unique batch. In some applications, using the observation-wise unfolding technique to unfold batch data is advantageous because the resulting batch control charts of multivariate metrics generated (not shown) are similar to typical univariate control charts that are familiar to operators and scientists alike, thus allowing time-dependent process events to be visualized intuitively.

FIG. 3 shows exemplary data matrices generated at a current maturity point in a batch manufacturing process for the purpose of monitoring the batch process. The data matrix

**314**, which includes sub-matrices X

_{k }

**302**and X

_{D-future }

**304**, is generated using the observation-wise unfolding technique. Based on the data matrix

**314**, multivariate metrics can be generated to approximate the behavior of the batch process, including predicting future behavior of the batch process subsequent to the current maturity point

**312**. The multivariate metrics include, for example, a multivariate scores matrix

**306**, a DModX matrix

**308**, a Hotelling T

^{2 }matrix

**309**, or a combination thereof.

In some embodiments, the sub-matrix X

_{k }

**302**stores measurements of physical parameters corresponding to a set of process variables

**310**of the batch process. The physical parameters can be sampled at one or more time instances from the beginning of the batch manufacturing process up to the current maturity point

**312**. Due to the use of the observation-wise unfolding technique, each column of the sub-matrix X

_{k }

**302**captures the trajectory of a single variable as it progresses with time up to the current maturity point

**312**. Measurements of the physical parameters can be performed by the physical facility

**115**, the data acquisition module

**130**or the monitoring module

**135**, or a combination thereof.

In some embodiments, the sub-matrix X

_{D-future }

**304**stores predicted values of a set of dependent variables at one or more time samples subsequent to the current maturity point

**312**. Due to the use of the observation-wise unfolding technique, each column of the sub-matrix X

_{D-future }

**304**approximates a future trajectory of a single dependent variable as it progresses with time. In some embodiments, values of the dependent variables at various future points in time are computed by the prediction component

**150**of the monitoring module

**135**. The prediction component

**150**can predict the future values of the dependent variables based on the measured variable values X

_{k }

**302**. The prediction component

**150**can compute the future trajectory of a dependent variable using one or more methods including: 1) imputation using a principal component analysis model or a partial least squares multivariate model and 2) a regression model.

The multivariate scores matrix

**306**, the DModX matrix

**308**and the Hotelling T

^{2 }matrix

**309**are computed based on the data matrix

**314**, which includes the sub-matrix X

_{k }

**302**for storing measured values of both dependent and manipulated variables and the sub-matrix X

_{D-future }

**304**for storing predicted future values of the dependent variables. In some embodiments, the analysis component

**155**of the monitoring module

**135**is configured to compute the multivariate scores matrix

**306**, the DModX matrix

**308**and/or the Hotelling T

^{2 }matrix

**309**. In general, each value of the multivariate scores matrix

**306**, the DModX matrix

**308**or the Hotelling T

^{2 }matrix

**309**summarizes process performance, at a particular point in time based on actual or estimated batch behavior (represented by the data matrix

**314**). Each of the matrices can be compared to a desired batch behavior (e.g., represented by a multivariate model) to identify deviations. Specifically, the multivariate scores matrix

**306**includes multivariate score values

**306**

*a*quantifying the deviations associated with past and current times of a batch run and multivariate score values

**306**

*b*predicting the deviations associated with future times of the batch run. Similarly, the DModX matrix

**308**includes DModX values

**308**

*a*quantifying the deviations in the correlation structure of X

_{k }up to the current maturity

**312**and DModX values

**308**

*b*predicting the deviations associated with future times of the batch run. The Hotelling T

^{2 }matrix

**309**includes Hotelling T

^{2 }values

**309**

*a*quantifying the deviations in the correlation structure of X

_{k }up to the current maturity

**312**and Hotelling T

^{2 }values

**309**

*b*predicting the deviations associated with future times of the batch run. In some embodiments, the predicted future values of the dependent variables in the sub-matrix X

_{D-future }

**304**makes it possible for the analysis component

**155**to estimate the future multivariate score values

**306**

*a*, the future DModX values

**308**

*b*and/or the future Hotelling T

^{2 }values

**309**

*b.*

Generally, each value in the multivariate statistics matrix

**308**, the DModX matrix

**308**or the Hotelling T

^{2 }matrix

**309**can be computed using regression analysis based on one or more projection methods such as principle component analysis or partial least squares analysis or using other types of multivariate analysis approaches. Using multivariate analysis is advantageous in many applications because it can extract important information from a large data set and present the results as interpretable plots based on the principle of projection.

In some embodiments, each multivariate score in the multivariate scores matrix

**306**is a principal component analysis score, a partial least squares score (sometimes called projection to latent structures), or any combination thereof.

In some embodiments, the analysis component

**155**performs a Hotelling calculation or a DModX calculation on the data matrix

**314**by means of a principal components or partial least squares analysis to determine a T

^{2 }or DModX value, respectively. A T

^{2 }value can be calculated according to the following equation:

where:

- σ=standard deviation for a particular variable, based on data acquired for previous batches,

measured value of variables, for p variables,

mean value of variables based on previous batches, for p variables,

- S
^{−1}=an inverse covariance or correlation matrix, which is the inverse of the covariance or correlation matrix, S, illustrated below:

where:

where indices i and j identify the matrix element for both S and x in a generalized k×n matrix.

In the multivariate modeling example above, the X-variables in the above equations usually are score vectors of a principal components or partial least squares model usually with mean values (μ

_{0}) equaling zero. Because these score vectors are orthogonal, the matrices S and S

^{−1 }are diagonal with the variances and respective inverse variances of each component score vector as diagonal elements.

A t-score value can be thought of as a projection onto a line (e.g., a principal components or partial least squares model axis) in a p-dimensional space that provides an acceptable approximation of the data (e.g., a line that provides an acceptable least squares fit). A second t-score can be used (e.g., a projection onto a line orthogonal to the first line) in some embodiments. In general, a T

^{2 }value is a calculation of the weighted distance of manufacturing process variables for an output (e.g., the wafer

**120**′) of the manufacturing process relative to an output produced under normal process operation or based on predicted values of dependent variable data and/or manipulated variable data. One way to understand the meaning of the T

^{2 }value is to consider it in terms of a geometric description. A normal manufacturing process is a cluster of data points in a p-dimensional space, where p is the number of measured manufacturing process variables. The pertinent space can also be the reduced dimensionality space of the scores. Hotelling's T

^{2 }value is the squared distance of a new output from the center of this cluster of data points weighted relative to the variation output of the in the normal process condition. The variation is often illustrated as a p-dimensional hyper-ellipse that bounds the cluster of data points. In general, Hotelling-type calculations can be used to, for example, determine whether a particular point is an outlier (e.g., outside the hyper-ellipse) with respect to the remainder of the data set. More specifically, a Hotelling calculation can be used to determine whether a particular measured parameter is outside an alarm limit or outside the knowledge space, as determined by a mathematical model for the process parameters being observed.

Another example of a multivariate statistic is a DModX calculation or residual standard deviation calculation. A DModX calculation involves calculating the distance of a particular data point from a location in a p-dimensional space that represents a preferred location (e.g., a location associated with an ideal batch). The DModX value is calculated using a principal components or partial least squares analysis that maps the p-dimensional variable to a lower order (e.g., less than order p) dimensional variable (e.g., a score space). Mathematically, the DModX value is the orthogonal component (or residual) resulting from the principal components or partial least squares analysis. A DModX value can be indicative of a range of values (e.g., a “tolerance volume”) about one or more variables (e.g., data points) in the mathematical model.

FIG. 4 shows another set of exemplary data matrices generated at a current maturity point in a batch manufacturing process for the purpose of monitoring the batch process. Data matrix

**414**can be generated using the observation-wise unfolding technique described above. In some embodiments, the sub-matrices X

_{K }

**402**and X

_{D-future }

**404**of the data matrix

**414**are substantially the same as the corresponding sub-matrices X

_{K }

**302**and X

_{D-future }

**304**of FIG. 3. In addition to sub-matrices X

_{K }

**402**and X

_{D-future }

**404**, the data matrix

**414**includes another sub-matrix X

_{mv }

**403**, which represents the known future setpoint or target values for the manipulated variables of the batch process. These setpoint or target values are assigned by the facility

**115**to the manipulated variables at one or more future points in time. These values thus represent desired values for the manipulated variables, which are distinguished from the actual measurements of the manipulated variables included in the matrix X

_{K }

**402**. In some embodiments, the future values of the dependent variables X

_{D}

_{_}

_{future }are computed based on a combination of the measured variable data X

_{K }

**402**and the future values of the manipulated variables X

_{mv }

**403**.

According to FIG. 4, the multivariate statistics (e.g., the multivariate scores, DModX, T

^{2}) are estimated based on a combination of known values X

_{MV }(e.g., future values of manipulated variables), estimated values X

_{D}

_{_}

_{future }(future values of dependent variables), and measured values X

_{K }(known past and present values of manipulated and dependent variables). Specifically, using the data matrix

**404**, the analysis component

**155**can generate a multivariate scores matrix

**406**, a DModX matrix

**408**, and/or a Hotelling T

^{2 }matrix

**409**to capture the difference over time between actual or predicted batch behavior (represented by the matrix

**414**) and desired batch behavior (specified by a multivariate model). In some embodiments, the matrices

**406**,

**408**and

**409**are more accurate than the corresponding matrices

**306**,

**308**and

**309**, respectively, due to the incorporation of extra information in the sub-matrix X

_{mv }

**403**.

FIG. 5 is a flow chart

**500**illustrating a method for monitoring operating parameters of a batch manufacturing process. The method depicted in the flow chart

**500**can be implemented by, for example, the monitoring module

**135**of FIG. 1 using the monitoring scheme of FIG. 3 or FIG. 4. In step

**504**, measured values of a set of process variables X

_{k }is received from one or more sensors used in the batch manufacturing process, or from other measuring devices. In step

**508**, future values of the manipulated variables X

_{MV }are received, if these values are known. These future values of the manipulated variables can represent setpoint or target values assignable to the manipulated variables at one or more future points in time. From the measured variable data X

_{k }received at step

**504**and optionally, future values for the manipulated variables X

_{MV}, future values of one or more dependent variables X

_{D}

_{_}

_{future }are computed at step

**512**. Such computation can be performed by the prediction component

**150**of the monitoring module

**135**.

Based on the data sets X

_{D}

_{_}

_{future }and X

_{k }(and optionally X

_{MV}), multivariate statistics are determined, including determining multivariate scores at step

**516**and/or determining DModX or Hotelling T

^{2 }values at step

**520**. In some embodiments, the multivariate statistics are calculated by a multivariate analytical approach. In general, the multivariate statistics computed at steps

**516**and

**520**can include Hotelling T

^{2 }values, DModX values, principal components scores, partial least squares scores, some combination of these, or all of these statistics. In some embodiments, the statistics are constrained by, for example, user-specified constraints, tolerance levels, or threshold values.

The predicted multivariate scores from step

**516**, the DModX values and/or the Hotelling T

^{2 }values from step

**520**indicate whether future batch behavior is likely to deviate from a desired batch trajectory or outside of a tolerance range of the desired batch trajectory. If it is the case, certain operating parameters corresponding to one or more manipulated variables can be adjusted during a batch run to prevent the deviation. In some embodiments, these operating parameters are determined by performing a search for manipulated variable values that satisfy one or more objectives, such as minimizing an amount of deviation in the multivariate scores, DModX values and/or Hotelling T

^{2 }values from a desired trajectory. In some embodiments, to achieve the desired batch behavior, the values of one or more manipulated variables are adjusted so as to change the values of one or more dependent variables. As explained above, dependent variables can be a function of manipulated variables such that the value of a particular dependent variable functionally depends on the value of one or more manipulated variables (e.g., X

_{D}=ƒ(X

_{MV})). The functional relationship can be known or empirically inferred, determined, or modeled. In embodiments in which dependent variables are functionally related to the manipulated variables, a closed-loop process can be used to adjust values of the operating parameters associated with the manipulated variables to more closely approximate the desired values of the dependent variables.

If required, adjustments to the values of one or more manipulated variables are determined at step

**524**. In some embodiments, the adjustments are represented by a new set of manipulated variable data X

_{MV}

_{_}

_{new}, which specify new setpoint or target values for setting the manipulated variables. These new values can recalibrate or encourage one or more dependent variables to converge on desirable values. At step

**530**, the proposed adjustments are evaluated to determine whether process performance will improve as a result. To accomplish this, the new manipulated variable data X

_{MV}

_{_}

_{new }is supplied to the monitoring module

**135**. Based on a combination of the new manipulated variable data X

_{MV}

_{_}

_{new}, the measured variable values X

_{K}, and the future values of dependent variables X

_{D}

_{_}

_{future}, the monitoring module

**135**computes another set of multivariate statistics (e.g., multivariate scores, DModX, Hotelling T

^{2}) using the approach described above with reference to FIG. 4. The new multivariate statistics and/or predicted scores allows an operator to determine the likely effect of the new manipulated variable data X

_{MV}

_{_}

_{new }on the future behavior of the remaining batch process before any actual implementation takes place.

Therefore, at step

**534**, if the new manipulated variable data X

_{MV}

_{_}

_{new }do not enable batch quality to converge to an ideal batch trajectory or to within a tolerance range from the ideal batch trajectory, steps

**524**and

**530**are repeated so that another set of manipulated variable values X

_{MV}

_{_}

_{new }can be determined and tested. On the other hand, if the new manipulated variable values X

_{MV }are likely to improve batch quality, the new values are implemented at step

**538**by, for example, communicating them to one or more process tools. The process tools can be automatically or manually adjusted based on the determined values. Exemplary control actions for adjusting certain operating parameters include, for example, adjusting a recipe based on raw materials (e.g., initial conditions), a mid-process adjustment in response to a variation or change in operating conditions, an update of setpoint values at periodic intervals in the process, or combinations of these.

FIGS. 6A and 6B illustrate exemplary trajectories for a batch manufacturing process, which has a finite duration of 400 hours and the trajectories are computed at the maturity point of about 170 hours from the beginning of the process. In FIG. 6A, trajectory

**602**captures the behavior of predicted variable values over Y

_{pred }the finite duration of the batch process. The predicted variable values Y

_{pred }can represent multivariate scores, Hotelling T

^{2 }values, or DModX values. The trajectory

**602**can be computed based on a combination of measured values of manipulated and dependent variables X

_{k}, predicted future values of the dependent variables X

_{D}

_{_}

_{future }and, optionally, future values of the manipulated variables X

_{MV}. The trajectory

**602**can be decomposed into two segments: segment

**602**

*a*, which shows the past and present Y

_{pred }behavior up to the current maturity point, and segment

**602**

*b*, which shows the predicted future Y

_{pred }behavior from the current maturity point to the end of the process. Specifically, segment

**602**

*b*illustrates the likely effect of past and present batch behavior on the future batch behavior if no adjustments are made to the future manipulated variable values. FIG. 6A also shows an ideal Y

_{pred }trajectory

**604**for the batch process as well as acceptable deviations

**606**and

**608**from the ideal trajectory

**604**. As shown, the predicted trajectory

**602**

*b*for the batch process is outside of the acceptable deviations

**606**and

**608**, thus indicating that the batch process is likely to deviate from normal behavior and is at risk of producing products with less than expected quality.

In response, an operator can choose to manually or automatically adjust the values of certain operating parameters at the current maturity point to improve batch quality, such as supplying a new set of values for the manipulated variables X

_{MV}

_{_}

_{new}. For example, as shown in FIG. 6B, after selecting a new set of values for the manipulated variables X

_{MV}

_{_}

_{new}, the operator can evaluate the effect of X

_{MV}

_{_}

_{new }on the remainder of the batch by estimating a new future Y

_{pred }trajectory

**610**from the maturity point to the end of the batch. The new trajectory

**610**is computed from a combination of the hypothesized future values of the manipulated variables X

_{MV}

_{_}

_{new}, the measured values of manipulated and dependent variables X

_{k}, and the predicted future values of the dependent variables X

_{D}

_{_}

_{future}. As shown in FIG. 6B, the new trajectory

**610**is within the acceptable deviations

**606**and

**608**, thus indicating that the new set of manipulated variables X

_{MV}

_{_}

_{new }can be implemented at various process tools to improve batch quality.

The above-described techniques can be implemented in digital electronic circuitry, or in computer hardware, firmware, software, or in combinations of them. The implementation can be as a computer program product, e.g., a computer program tangibly embodied in an information carrier, e.g., in a machine-readable storage device, for execution by, or to control the operation of, data processing apparatus, e.g., a programmable processor, a computer, or multiple computers. A computer program can be written in any form of programming language, including compiled or interpreted languages, and it can be deployed in any form, including as a stand-alone program or as a module, component, subroutine, or other unit suitable for use in a computing environment. A computer program can be deployed to be executed on one computer or on multiple computers at one site or distributed across multiple sites and interconnected by a communication network.

Method steps can be performed by one or more programmable processors executing a computer program to perform functions of the technology by operating on input data and generating output. Method steps can also be performed by, and apparatus can be implemented as, special purpose logic circuitry, e.g., an FPGA (field programmable gate array) or an ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit). Modules can refer to portions of the computer program and/or the processor/special circuitry that implements that functionality.

Processors suitable for the execution of a computer program include, by way of example, both general and special purpose microprocessors, and any one or more processors of any kind of digital computer. Generally, a processor receives instructions and data from a read-only memory or a random access memory or both. The essential elements of a computer are a processor for executing instructions and one or more memory devices for storing instructions and data. Generally, a computer will also include, or be operatively coupled to receive data from or transfer data to, or both, one or more mass storage devices for storing data, e.g., magnetic, magneto-optical disks, or optical disks. Data transmission and instructions can also occur over a communications network. Information carriers suitable for embodying computer program instructions and data include all forms of non-volatile memory, including by way of example semiconductor memory devices, e.g., EPROM, EEPROM, and flash memory devices; magnetic disks, e.g., internal hard disks or removable disks; magneto-optical disks; and CD-ROM and DVD-ROM disks. The processor and the memory can be supplemented by, or incorporated in special purpose logic circuitry.

The terms “module” and “function,” as used herein, mean, but are not limited to, a software or hardware component which performs certain tasks. A module may advantageously be configured to reside on addressable storage medium and configured to execute on one or more processors. A module may be fully or partially implemented with a general purpose integrated circuit (“IC”), FPGA, or ASIC. Thus, a module may include, by way of example, components, such as software components, object-oriented software components, class components and task components, processes, functions, attributes, procedures, subroutines, segments of program code, drivers, firmware, microcode, circuitry, data, databases, data structures, tables, arrays, and variables. The functionality provided for in the components and modules may be combined into fewer components and modules or further separated into additional components and modules. Additionally, the components and modules may advantageously be implemented on many different platforms, including computers, computer servers, data communications infrastructure equipment such as application-enabled switches or routers, or telecommunications infrastructure equipment, such as public or private telephone switches or private branch exchanges (“PBX”). In any of these cases, implementation may be achieved either by writing applications that are native to the chosen platform, or by interfacing the platform to one or more external application engines.

To provide for interaction with a user, the above described techniques can be implemented on a computer having a display device, e.g., a CRT (cathode ray tube) or LCD (liquid crystal display) monitor, for displaying information to the user and a keyboard and a pointing device, e.g., a mouse or a trackball, by which the user can provide input to the computer (e.g., interact with a user interface element). Other kinds of devices can be used to provide for interaction with a user as well; for example, feedback provided to the user can be any form of sensory feedback, e.g., visual feedback, auditory feedback, or tactile feedback; and input from the user can be received in any form, including acoustic, speech, or tactile input.

The above described techniques can be implemented in a distributed computing system that includes a back-end component, e.g., as a data server, and/or a middleware component, e.g., an application server, and/or a front-end component, e.g., a client computer having a graphical user interface and/or a Web browser through which a user can interact with an example implementation, or any combination of such back-end, middleware, or front-end components. The components of the system can be interconnected by any form or medium of digital data communications, e.g., a communications network. Examples of communications networks, also referred to as communications channels, include a local area network (“LAN”) and a wide area network (“WAN”), e.g., the Internet, and include both wired and wireless networks. In some examples, communications networks can feature virtual networks or sub-networks such as a virtual local area network (“VLAN”). Unless clearly indicated otherwise, communications networks can also include all or a portion of the PSTN, for example, a portion owned by a specific carrier.

The computing system can include clients and servers. A client and server are generally remote from each other and typically interact through a communications network. The relationship of client and server arises by virtue of computer programs running on the respective computers and having a client-server relationship to each other.

Various embodiments are depicted as in communication or connected by one or more communication paths. A communication path is not limited to a particular medium of transferring data. Information can be transmitted over a communication path using electrical, optical, acoustical, physical, thermal signals, or any combination thereof. A communication path can include multiple communication channels, for example, multiplexed channels of the same or varying capacities for data flow.

Multiple user inputs can be used to configure parameters of the depicted user interface features. Examples of such inputs include buttons, radio buttons, icons, check boxes, combo boxes, menus, text boxes, tooltips, toggle switches, buttons, scroll bars, toolbars, status bars, windows, or other suitable icons or widgets associated with user interfaces for allowing a user to communicate with and/or provide data to any of the modules or systems described herein.

While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to specific embodiments, it should be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and detail may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as defined by the appended claims.

1. A computer-implemented method for monitoring a manufacturing process in a processing facility, the method comprising:

receiving, via a computing device from the processing facility, measured values of a plurality of variables of the manufacturing process, the plurality of variables including at least one of manipulated variables or dependent variables, the plurality of variables representing physical parameters of the manufacturing process;

determining, with the computing device, future values of the manipulated variables or future values of the dependent variables, or a combination thereof, wherein the manipulated variables represent process parameters whose values are directly assignable during the manufacturing process and the dependent variables represent process parameters whose values are dependent on one or more process conditions;

creating, with the computing device, an unfolded data matrix using observation-wise unfolding of a batch data array, such that each row of the unfolded matrix includes observation of the plurality of variables at a unique time sample within a finite duration;

performing multivariate analysis, via the computing device, on the unfolded data matrix comprising a combination of (1) the measured values of the variables and (2) at least one of the future values of the manipulated variables or the future values of the dependent variables to generate a plurality of multivariate statistics, the plurality of multivariate statistics represent a trajectory of measured past, current and estimated future behavior of the manufacturing process; and

causing, by the computing device, adjustment to one or more of the physical parameters of the manufacturing process in the processing facility based on the plurality of multivariate statistics to prevent deviation of the trajectory from a desired trajectory.

2. The computer-implemented method of

3. The computer implemented method of

4. The computer implemented method of

5. The computer implemented method of

6. The computer implemented method of

7. The computer implemented method of

8. The computer implemented method of

9. The computer implemented method of

^{2 }value, a DModX value, or any combination thereof.

10. The computer implemented method of

11. The computer implemented method of

12. The computer implemented method of

13. The computer implemented method of

receiving a second set of future values of the manipulated variables, which represent hypothesized values for setting the manipulated variables; and

performing multivariate analysis on a combination of (1) the measured values of the variables, (2) the second set of future values of the manipulated variables and (3) the future values of the dependent variables to generate a second plurality of multivariate statistics.

14. The computer implemented method of

15. A multivariate monitor for a batch-type manufacturing process associated with a finite duration, wherein the batch-type manufacturing process is performed in a processing facility and the monitor is implemented on a computing device in electrical communication with the processing facility, the monitor comprising:

one or more sensors, coupled to the processing facility, for measuring values of a plurality of variables of the manufacturing process up to a current maturity point of the finite duration, the plurality of variables including at least one of manipulated variables or dependent variables, wherein the plurality of variables represent physical parameters of the manufacturing process;

a hardware-based prediction module of the computing device for computing future values of the dependent variables after the current maturity point, wherein the dependent variables represent one or more process parameters whose values are not directly assignable;

a memory of the computing device for storing an unfolded data matrix created using observation-wise unfolding of a batch data array, such that each row of the unfolded matrix includes observation of the plurality of variables at a unique time sample within the finite duration; and

a hardware-based analysis module of the computing device for performing multivariate analysis on the unfolded data matrix comprising measured values of the variables and the future values of the dependent variables to generate a plurality of multivariate statistics, the plurality of multivariate statistics represent a trajectory of measured past, current and estimated future behavior of the batch-type manufacturing process over at least a portion of the finite duration,

wherein the computing device is adapted to cause adjustment to one or more of the physical parameters of the manufacturing process in the processing facility based on the plurality of multivariate statistics to prevent deviation of the trajectory from a desired trajectory.

16. The multivariate monitor of

17. The multivariate monitor of

18. The multivariate monitor of

19. The multivariate monitor of

20. The multivariate monitor of

21. The multivariate monitor of

^{2 }value, a DModX value, or any combination thereof.