An Intrinsic Geometrical Approach for Statistical Process Control of Surface and Manifold Data

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We present a new method for statistical process control (SPC) of a discrete part manufacturing system based on intrinsic geometrical properties of the parts, estimated from three-dimensional sensor data. An intrinsic method has the computational advantage of avoiding the difficult part registration problem, necessary in previous SPC approaches of three-dimensional geometrical data, but inadequate if noncontact sensors are used. The approach estimates the spectrum of the Laplace–Beltrami (LB) operator of the scanned parts and uses a multivariate nonparametric control chart for online process control. Our proposal brings SPC closer to computer vision and computer graphics methods aimed to detect large differences in shape (but not in size). However, the SPC problem differs in that small changes in either shape or size of the parts need to be detected, keeping a controllable false alarm rate and without completely filtering noise. An online or “Phase II” method and a scheme for starting up in the absence of prior data (“Phase I”) are presented. Comparison with earlier approaches that require registration shows the LB spectrum method to be more sensitive to rapidly detect small changes in shape and size, including the practical case when the sequence of part datasets is in the form of large, unequal size meshes. A post-alarm diagnostic method to investigate the location of defects on the surface of a part is also presented. While we focus in this article on surface (triangulation) data, the methods can also be applied to point cloud and voxel metrology data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-312
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Applied Mathematics


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