Proceedings of IMEC2004 International Mechanical Engineering Conference December 5-8, 2004, Kuwait


Dr. Ashraf S. Youssef1, Prof. Fatin F. Mahmoud2, Prof. Gamal Nawara3 Industrial & Management Systems Engineering Dept. College of Engineering & Petroleum, Kuwait University P.O. Box 5969 Safat, 13060 Kuwait E-mail:
2 1

Mechanical Design and Production Engineering Dept., College of Engineering, Zagazig University, Egypt. Tel: +202-2406793, Fax: +965-4816137, E-mail: Industrial & Systems Dept., College of Engineering, Zagazig University, Egypt.

Abstract Many researchers have tried to interpret control charts to build a good Decision Support System (DSS) for manufacturing systems. This concept is concerned with how computer technology can be utilized in the quality control area. Researchers are trying to build a new philosophy of quality control based on the computer technology that is available in many systems of manufacturing such as FMS. Many techniques were suggested to build a good DSS, such as: Neural Networks, Expert System (ES), Computer Vision, and Feature-Based Method No computer implementations have been done in the previous works until now. Also the commercial packages did not give the industries a good solution for the quality control decisions. The main objective of the present research is to characterize how the system will identify the causes of the out-of-control situation to take the reasonable corrective action to adjust the process. The other objective is how to reach a decision about process status i.e. “in- or out-of-control”. In this paper, a proposed Expert Diagnostic Quality Control System (EDQCS) for diagnosing problems in flexible manufacturing system will be presented. This system will help quality engineers to identify the possible causes of out-of-control situations. This system depends on the interpretation of the control charts (X-bar and R-charts) using AT&T rules and a pattern recognition technique. A complete case study is also presented. Key words On-line Quality control, Control Charts, Expert Diagnostic System, Variable Control Charts, Flexible Manufacturing Systems

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Introduction The traditional Quality Control method is very difficult to implement effectively in automated manufacturing systems, especially in Flexible Manufacturing Systems (FMS). Quality of the product that is produced in FMS is the result of a cumulative quality. It is not right to wait to check the product quality (characteristics) at the end of the processes. The quality system has to build from the beginning and after each process the Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) system must measure the product quality frequently based on the sampling plan that was defined in the system. This quality system has to be observing the errors in the process earlier and advise the system on-line with the right action(s) to adjust process and the sampling plan immediately. This type of quality system calls on an on-line quality control system. This system consists of two parts, one related to the quality control and the other related to the sampling, Aly (1985). In this paper an integrated quality control system linked with the ES is built to fulfill the requirements of the on-line quality control system. Researchers have developed rules to help constructing a good quality control diagnostic system for automated systems. Their work can be classified into four categories: a framework of ES and ES applications in manufacturing systems, Knowledge-based representations, SQC patterns, and pattern recognition and interpretation through a comprehensive diagnostic systems design. In this paper we focus on developing a quality control system that is based on the ES concept of pattern recognition and reference rules in order to improve the effectiveness of the quality system. The proposed Expert Diagnostic Quality Control System (EDQCS) will help the quality engineer detect bad quality when it happens on time, identify the sources of error, and take appropriate corrective action. The proposed system allows efficient process control; it consists of a systematic procedure, and has a friendly user-interface during analysis. Expert System Applications in Quality Control Evans and Lindsay (1988) had proposed a framework for developing ES for statistical process control applications. The knowledge can be constructed into three sets, domain independent which have analysis rules, interpretive rules that analyze the patterns in the control charts in terms of process changes, and domain-dependent diagnostic rules which assist in determining assignable causes and corrective actions. Hon (1989) presented frameworks of ES for different applications in manufacturing systems. He concentrated on the description, analysis, and assessment of various working and new systems for manufacturing engineering applications. He concluded that, ES have become an acceptable tool as a part of the existing array of techniques available for improving manufacturing performance. Pham and Ozteme (1992) described an online ES for statistical process control called XPC. The XPC produces mean and range charts and interprets them automatically from process capability point of view. The system is based on Leonard’s ES shell. This ES is designed to employ process data and information regarding assignable

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causes and corrective actions in an integrated manner in order to implement the entire problem solving features of statistical process control. Vinod and Joseph (1992) developed a coupled ES to select a proper control chart, optimize the design of the control chart and analyze the chart to identify an out-ofcontrol situation. A coupled ES was developed to automate the various steps used in building control charts. The authors developed the knowledge base for the selection of an appropriate control chart and to identify generic reasons for an out-of-control process. Tomas & Mohamed (1993) built an ES based on a military acceptance sampling military standard. This ES was carried out in four stages. At the first stage, a complete study of the manufacturing process, raw materials and inspection procedure was done. Data collection forms were prepared and trouble areas were located to get more information about the types of problems. At the second stage, inspection procedures for incoming raw materials were established. A pilot computer code was generated to facilitate inspection of raw material based on acceptance quality levels. An analysis of critical variables affecting the product quality and the building of control charts to monitor these variables was the third stage in this work. At the last stage, an ES was developed to automate sampling procedures and establish and monitor statistical process control. An ES for sampling plan selection was presented by Islam, et al, (1994). A knowledge-based system is proposed to fill the gap if the expert is not available when needed. This system advises in selecting a specific sampling plan. The knowledge sources are extracted from the published textbooks, government documents, journal articles and interview with quality professionals. V. Deslandres and Pierreval (1995) focused on the total quality control of a manufacturing process. A knowledgebase for assisting the quality control system is presented. This system is able to select the most suitable quality control methods, according to the problem considered and the characteristics of the production. Information about how to apply these methods in the shop is given as well as indications about the resources that will be required. Twenty-five quality methods are available in the knowledgebase. Hooks, et al, (1995) presented an ES model of a Computer Integrated Manufacturing system (CIM). An ES is included to enhance dimensional tolerance and data analysis in quality control. This ES provides a final data analysis function for control. This ES was designed using forward-chaining strategy. The main objective of this work is to show how to apply the automated inspection system with the CIM. Jury, et al, (1996) described a statistical process control system that can provide operators with the probable causes of process problems before they occur. This system has reduced downtime caused by out-of-control situations. Product waste has declined because projection of product quality has allowed operators to make adjustment before non-conforming parts were produced. New information is always being received from online sensors that measure quality characteristics of the part. Statistics are computed continuously to predict upcoming process conditions

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Knowledge-Based Representation Expert systems have been used in industrial processes with improvements in efficiency. Expert systems rely on rules normally acquired by a knowledge expert. Walburn (1989) described a system for the automated acquisition of knowledge for an expert system for process control. In all process environments, the control exercised by the operators is important for efficient plant operation. This system used forwardchaining. The working memory contains monitored plant variables while the production memory contains a list of rules for establishing controlled variables settings. The most important aspect of the system is the selection of data, which is suitable for the induction of rules. He concludes that, this system is suitable for continuous production systems. Chuen and Norma (1992) concentrated on the important aspects of the ES design and knowledge organization. A new similarity measure, useful in a clustering approach to the knowledge organization is proposed. ES was constructed with the capability of automatically identifying the out-of-control situations revealing the source of variation, and suggesting further actions. This system does not take into account the AT & T rules. It depends only on the pattern definition by defining unnatural pattern (signal out-of-control), and then observing irregularities in the process to define the cause. Walburn and Powner (1995) presented details of the format of the automatically gathered production data and how to identify the variables that are derived from the production data in order to extract knowledge in the form of production rules. The analysis presented concentrates on the number of parts produced in the production process and the relationship of the number of parts produced to a number of other factors derived from the production machine data. Knowledge is extracted from production machine data by processing the data and inducing rules on the process data. They concluded that the induced rules provide extracted knowledge, which facilitates understanding of the production process. Ben-Arieh and Carley (1996) presented an intelligent modeling methodology for modern manufacturing systems, representing the structure, behavior, and functionality of such systems, and emphasizing the cause and effect relation between the components. Modern manufacturing systems exhibit flexibility, and intelligence properties that are hard to model. The modeling methodology presented supports various types of analysis that are important to manufacturing systems, such as rules of consistency. There are many ways to represent the knowledge for ES. James (1991) discussed different modes to represent the knowledge. These modes are, Object-Attribute-Value Triplets (OAV), OAV Network, Semantic Networks, Frames, Propositional Logic, Predicate Logic, and Neural Networks. The proposed EDQCS for FMS consists of four modules as follows: 1. User-interface. This module consists of an interactive user interfacing to facilitate user input and show results; e.g., quality control charts and characteristics, pattern type, and suggested actions for out-of-control

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situations. The user interface may include the most appropriate input data media. 2. Pattern analysis and recognition. This module consists of a proposed framework for pattern recognition. The framework is based on AT&T rules and the features of the patterns. This module takes the user input, identifies the pattern type, and provides the control status (in or out-of-control). Users are not allowed to update this module. This part was developed using Visual Basic (VB) programming language. The status of the process and the pattern identification are the main results of this module. 3. Inference engine. This module receives information from pattern analysis and users, and fire the right action for the described status. It is based on the forward chaining concept as per defined in the expert system shell (Exsys). The inference engine was designed to ask the quality professional some questions related to the production environment to decrease the numbers of fired causes that are related to the out of control situation. 4. Knowledge base. This module consists of all information about the process and personnel for a specific domain of applications. The knowledge base adopts the attribute-value representation. The user is free to modify the content of this module based on the production characteristics and requirements. The suggested approach was modified and implemented. The proposed EQCS may be extended to perform process capability analysis. EDQCS Assumptions The proposed system is developed as a decision support system. The analytical tool part in this system is concerned with the analysis of the control charts for variables (X-bar and R charts). The analysis of these charts is done in two steps. The first one is to apply AT&T rules on the control chart. This test is done after the analytical tool (computer program) computes the characteristics of the charts and plots them. AT&T rules are generally used to increase the sensitivity of the control charts to small process shifts. For example, if a point exceeded a control limit, we would immediately begin to search for the assignable causes, but if two out of three consecutive points exceeded only the 2-sigma warning limits, we might increase the sample frequency, if the process was really out of control it would give us a high probability of detecting this situation more quickly. It is also increases the overall false alarm rate Montgomery (1992). Each of these rules was tested and valid based on the normality assumption of the control charts. The following AT&T rules are applied. 1. One or more points outside the control limits. 2. Two out of three consecutive points plot beyond the two-sigma warning limits. 3. Four out of five consecutive points plot at a distance of one-sigma or beyond the centerline. 4. A run of eight consecutive points on one side of the centerline If any of these states are identified, we conclude that the process is out-of-control. To identify the causes of this situation, a second test is applied. This test is concerned with the interpretation of the control chart pattern. It is done even if none of the AT&T rules is identified. An out-of-control situation could also result from an instability pattern even if all points of the chart lie within the control limits. This

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system defines eight patterns out of fourteen patterns defined by Western Electric Company. The rest of these patterns (6 patterns) are defined as unknown. The defined patterns are normal, increasing and decreasing trend, systematic, mixture, stratification, freaks, sudden shift in level and gradual change in level patterns. The fired decision in this part is identifying the process situation and the pattern name. This part is implemented on computer using VB language. The second part in this decision support system is the ES part. The production rule method is used to build the rules of the ES. The inference engine uses the forwardchaining algorithm. There are two different philosophies of the forward-chaining. In one, all known data is delivered to the ES at the very onset of the consultation session. In the second approach, only the specific data element that is requested during consultation is delivered to the ES. The second approach is used in this work. All the knowledge is collected from statistical handbooks and textbooks that are related to the quality control area. Each pattern has a group of assignable causes. Any one of these assignable causes may cause the pattern. When these causes are represented in the ES rules, equal chance probability is assumed for all causes for each pattern. This probability can be changed when the decision support system is applied on the flexible manufacturing system (FMS). EXSys Professional shell is used to build the ES part. Then, it is linked with the analytical part. All tests are done on the R chart first to detect the process variability, and then on the X-bar chart to detect the process mean. System Framework The proposed system consists of two major parts. The first part analyzes the quality control chart. Users enter the data of the control chart (sample size and sample number and observations) or the data can be entered to this part using a data file. After that, the program computes the quality control chart characteristics and plots these charts (X-bar and R chart). A computer program applies AT&T rules to check whether the process is in or out of control. The next step is a check on the instability of the control charts. The results of this analysis are transferred to the second major part in this work (Knowledgebase). The ES will ask the user some questions about the situation of the process. The process status and the causes that affected it will be fired. Figure 1 shows the whole framework of the Expert Quality Control System. In this work, visual basic was used to build the computer program (analytical part) and EXSys shell 4.1 under windows was used to build the knowledge base. The computer program The Computer program includes the following activities: 1. Computation of the quality control chart characteristics (X-bar and R charts). 2. Plotting the quality control charts. 3. Computation of the process capability. 4. Interpretation of the quality control charts by applying AT&T rules first and then applying pattern recognition procedure. 5. Identifying the process situation in or out-of-control and why.

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Knowledge base for EQCS The knowledge base for the proposed system is represented based on the production rules method. Also, forward-chaining was used for the inference engine. EXSys shell is the ES shell used to report the knowledge base for this system. The knowledge base receives the data from the computer program (out-of-control situation and pattern type if there is a pattern). After that the consultation session is started to fire the final conclusion about the process. Control Chart Interpretation Procedure The interpretation of the control charts is the vital part in this work (analytical part). The procedure is done in two stages. At the first stage, AT&T rules are applied to check whether the process is in or out of control. The second stage is pattern recognition to check for process instability. Based on this procedure the process status will be defined and the possible (assignable) causes will be fired from the knowledge base (ES part). EDQCS Rule - Base Building In this work OAV triplet are used to build a knowledge base. This mode is suitable for production rules. The following procedure is applied to build the knowledge base: 1. Collect data. All assignable causes related to instability patterns are collected. 2. Construct an attribute value table. The collected data is developed and listed in an attribute value table. 3. Develop a rule, in this step a rule base is built using production rule method based on the attribute value table. Production rule is constructed as follows: IF Premise (Attribute = specific value) Then conclusion (Attribute = specific value) 4. Computer implementation. An expert system shell EXYS Professional (EP) was used to write the rules. It is an easy to apply rule-based ES and an excellent tool to develop expert systems. It features backward and forward chaining, black boarding, fuzzy logic, and frames. Also, it links with database, and spreadsheet programs, it is a Windows platform application. Further more, MS-DOSTM, Macintosh TM, UNIX TM, and VAXTM platforms are available. It can link with many Under MS-Windows TM applications. 5. Verification. At the end, validation has to be done to ensure that the ES has reached a correct decision.

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ES Part

Pattern Analysis

Process Information

Knowledge Base I

Patterns Information

Model Base

Statistical Analysis

Status Pattern

Inference Engine

QCS Characteristics Computations

Input Data

User Interface

Figure 1 A Framework of the Quality Control System.

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Case Study The computer implementation of the EDQCS was implemented. Three case studies were tested to verify and validate the EDQS by Youssef (2002). In the present paper, one case study will be demonstrated. This case study was taken from the Western Electric Company (1985). This case consists of 100 measures in 20 samples, each sample has 5 measures. Table 1 shows the historical data, whereas Table 2 shows X-bar and R Charts results and Figure 2 shows these results. Table 1 Data set of the case study Sample No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 11.1 9.6 9.7 10.1 12.4 10.1 11.0 11.2 10.6 8.3 10.6 10.8 10.7 11.3 11.4 10.1 10.7 11.9 10.8 12.4 Sample Size 2 3 9.4 11.2 10.8 10.1 10.0 10.0 8.4 10.2 10.0 10.7 10.2 10.2 11.5 11.3 10.0 10.9 10.4 10.5 10.2 9.8 9.9 10.7 10.2 10.5 10.7 10.8 11.4 10.4 11.2 11.4 10.1 9.7 12.8 11.2 11.9 11.6 12.1 11.8 11.1 10.8 4 10.4 10.8 9.8 9.4 10.1 11.2 11.0 11.2 10.5 9.5 10.2 8.4 8.6 10.6 10.1 9.8 11.2 12.4 9.4 11.0 5 10.1 11.0 10.4 11.0 11.3 10.1 11.3 11.0 10.9 9.8 11.4 9.9 11.4 11.1 11.6 10.5 11.3 11.4 11.6 11.9

Table 2 X-bar and R Charts results Item Center line Control limits UCL LCL R Chart 1.59 3.35 0 X-bar Chart 10.16 11.58 9.74

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Figure 2 Typical R and X-bar charts of the data In this section a demonstration of the features of the program will be presented based on the case study Figure 3 shows the first menu that appears at the start of the program. Figures 4 and 5 show the control charts and the characteristic data corresponding to them. Figure 6 demonstrates the analytical part of the program. The results of the analysis show that the process is out of control due to AT&T rules one and two as shown by the resulting X-bar chart. However the R and X-bar charts are natural patterns. On the other hand, the variability chart (R Chart) was in control. Clicking on the cause and corrective action button, the Knowledge base will be activated and a consultation session will be started as shown in Figure 7. At the end of this consultation the possible causes of the instability pattern will be fired if the instability pattern is present in the control charts. The inferred fact is stated as follows: • AT&T rules were present • No Pattern present for both controls charts (X-bar and R). The results of the consultation are: • Process is out-of-control with certainty factor 100%. • Causes can not be defined The results indicate that rule 34 was fired. Figure 8 shows the result of consultation session (last menu of the program). In this case, the decisions mean that the quality control engineer has to refer to the out-of-control periods and investigate what happen at these points. An explanation feature is added to the program. Figure 9 shows an example of the reason that rule 34 was fired to obtain these results. On the other hand, in order to verify whether the decision about the pattern was correct or not, a normality test is applied graphically. The results of the normality test indicate that, the control charts (X-bar and R-charts) are normal. Figures 10 and 11 show the graphical results of the normality test on both X-bar and R charts.

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Figure 3 First menu of the program

Figure 4 R chart of the case study

Figure 5 X-bar chat

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Figure 6 Analysis results of the control charts.

Figure 7 The first menu of the consultation session

Figure 8 The last menu of the consultation session

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Figure 9 Sample of the rules that were fired
2.5 2 1.5 1 Z(i) 0.5 0 -0.5 -1 -1.5 -2 -2.5 R(i) 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3

Figure 10 Test of normality of R-Chart
2.5 2 1.5 1 Z(i) 0.5 0 -0.5 -1 -1.5 -2 -2.5 X(i) 0 5 10 15

Figure 11 Test of normality of X-bar Chart

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Discussions & Conclusions In this section, the most significant results will be discussed. Namely, we are comparing the control chart characteristics done using the proposed system with those that are obtained using the Traditional methods. Table 3 represents the summarizing results of the demonstrated case study. Table 3 Results Comparison of Results by Proposed and Traditional Methods Item Center line Upper Control Limits Lower Control Limits R Chart No Difference No Difference No Difference X-bar Chart No Difference No Difference No Difference

From the previous table, there are no significant difference between the results of the traditional method and the output of the proposed system. Moreover, the proposed system interprets all instability patterns and gives satisfactory solution. The main contribution of this study is that it gives a comprehensive analysis of the quality control issues and can be summarized as follow: • A new framework of expert system diagnosis suggested and built to take into account the AT&T rules plus instability tests to get the accurate process control decisions and define the possible causes of the out-of-control situation. • Fourteen patterns are classified into nine classes, and the proposed system can be recognized. • The causes of the instability patterns were collected and represented in a knowledge base based on the production rule. • Until now no commercial software includes the identification of control chart patterns. Wise (2000) state that, the last version of the InfinityQS management depends on normality test and process deviation in its decision. It does not give clarification or reasons about its decision, does not give a complete interpretation of the control chart patterns and does not have a supported knowledge base as per the proposed system The results of the program matched those of the handbook with no significant differences. In addition, the program interprets the pattern of the control charts and the results are sent to the expert system to diagnose the process. The inferred facts of this case were the process is out of control due to AT&T rules, and no patterns in both of the control charts. Normality test was used to verify the decisions. The test indicated that the control charts were normal. That means the pattern decision was correct. Also, after investigation of the control charts, the AT&T rules were applied correctly. Further more, these decisions were matched with the decisions that were documented in the handbook, and no difference was noticed. In conclusion, it can be seen that, the proposed system makes an on-line quality control system and the variable sampling plan more effective in the automated manufacturing systems. An integrated statistical quality control package with expert system was produced. This hybrid DSS was applied and verified. Also this package can be

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installed on the host computer of the FMS. The host computer for FMS is now almost similar to the personnel computer and supports most of the software packages under MS-Windows TM. Now, the effective diagnostic ES for FMS can be applied. When the proposed system is applied, the chance of the human error will decrease and quality improvement will increase. Also, the cost of production will decrease by reducing the percentage of nonconforming units. References 1. Aly, Adel A. “Design of On-Line Inspection System for Flexible Manufacturing Cell” Texas Instruments Inc., Report No. 10 EG:85, Dallas, Texas 1985. 2. Ben-Arieh, David and Carley, Eric D., “Qualitative Knowledge-Based Modeling of Manufacturing Systems,” IIE Transactions, vol. 28, pp. 761-772, 1996. 3. Chuen-sheng and Hubele, Norma Faris, “Design of A Knowledge-Based Expert System for Statistical Process Control”, Int. Journal of Computer Ind. Engineering, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 501-517, 1992. 4. Evans, James R. and Lindsay, William M., “A Framework for Expert System Development in Statistical Quality Control”, Int. Journal of Computers Ind. Engineering, vol. 14, no. 3, pp. 335-343, 1988. 5. Hon, K. K. B., “Application of Expert Systems in Manufacturing,” Hong Kong Engineer, pp. 14-17, Feb. 1989. 6. Hooks Kevin, Luis Rabelo and Tomas Velasco, "An Expert System Framework for CIM Based Quality Inspection System", Int. Journal of Computers and Industrial Engineering, vol. 29, no. 1-4, pp. 159-1639, 1995. 7. Islam, Anwar-ul and Liu, Iuing C., “Expert System for Sampling Plan Selections,” Institute of Industrial Engineering, 6th Industrial Engineering Research conference Proceedings, Florida, USA, 1994. 8. James P. Ignizio, “Introduction to Expert Systems. The Development and Implementation of Rule-Based Expert Systems”, Published by McGraw Hill, Inc., International Edition, PP 127-143, 1991. 9. Jury, Rex Woolard James and Clark, Chris, “An Expert System Advises Operators on Process Control Conditions,” TAPPI Journal, vol. 79, no. 4, pp. 137-141, 1996. 10. Pham D. T. and E. Oztemel, "XPC: An On-line Expert System for Statistical Process Control", International Journal of Production Research, vol. 30, no. 12, pp. 2857-2872, 1992. 11. Tomas Velasco and Mohamed Nadeem, "Integration of Automated Identification in A Statistical Quality Control Expert System", 2nd Industrial Engineering Research Conference Proceedings, Florida, USA pp. 689-693, 1993. 12. V. Deslandres and H. Pierreval, "SYSMIQ: A Knowledge-Based System for Assisting Quality Control", Int. Journal of Prod. Research, vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 12011212, 1995. 13. Vinod Lall, Joseph Stanislo, "Applying Expert System to Quality Control Charts", Int. Journal of Computers and Industrial Engineering, vol. 23, no. 4, pp. 401-404, 1992. 14. Walburn, D. H., “Automated Acquisition of Knowledge for an Expert System for Process Control,” IEE Proceedings, vol. 136, Pt. E, no. 6, pp. 548-556, Nov. 1989. 15. Walburn, D. H. and Powner, E. T., “Discovering Knowledge from Automatically gathered production Machine Data,” The Institution of Electrical Engineers,

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printed and published by IEE, Savoy Place, London WC2R OBL, UK, pp. 4/1 – 4/5, 1995. 16. "Western Electrical Company" Statistical Quality Control Handbook, pp. 161179, 1985. 17. Wise Steve, “Hot Charts for Hot Processes”, Quality Progress Journal, 1999 SPC Software, published by American Society for Quality (ASQ), PP 52, June 2000. 18. Youssef, Ashraf S., “ An Expert System for Flexible Manufacturing Systems”, Ph.D. Dissertation, Zagazig University, Egypt, Dec. 2002.

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