Ensemble Modelling of in situ Feature Variables for Printed Electronics Manufacturing with in situ Process Control Potential
Aerosol Jet® Printing (AJP) is a direct-write based additive manufacturing process that is capable of printing electronics with fine features and various materials. It eliminates the complex masking process in traditional semiconductor manufacturing, thus enables flexible electronics design and reduces manufacturing cost. However, the quality control of AJP processes is still a challenging problem, primarily due to the lack of understanding of the potential root causes of the quality issues. There is a complex interaction among process setting variables, in situ feature variables, and quality variables in AJP processes. In this research, an ensemble model strategy is proposed to quantify the effect of the process setting variables on the in situ feature variables, and the effect of the in situ feature variables on quality variables in a two-level hierarchical way. By identifying significant in situ feature variables as responses for the process setting variables, as well as predictors for product quality in a joint estimation problem, the proposed models have a hierarchical variable relationship to enable in situ process control for variation reduction and defect mitigation. A real case study is investigated to demonstrate the advantages of the proposed method.