Design and Applications of Soft Sensors in Polymer Processing: A Review

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In manufacturing industry, process monitoring is a key to observe
the product quality, operational health, safety and also for
achieving good/satisfactory process control performance. In
polymer processing, the level of control of the process
operational quality is vastly dependent upon the performance of
the process monitoring techniques as it is quite difficult to
observe the inside of an extruder barrel (or processing chamber)
during the process operation. Currently, a number of physical
sensing devices/techniques are widely available for industrial
applications for monitoring of parameters such as melt
temperature, melt pressure, screw/processing speed, product
dimensions, etc in real-time. However, there may be some
limitations in using physical sensors in piratical process
measurements (such as melt viscosity and melt temperature profile)
due to several constraints such as their access requirements,
disruptive effects to the melt flow, fragility, complexity, etc.
Therefore, soft sensing techniques should be highly useful for
improved process monitoring and modelling, and hence for advanced
process control. In this work, a general description is presented
on the state-of-the-art of soft sensor design. Then, a
comprehensive review is made on the use of soft sensing techniques
in polymer processing applications while identifying their
capabilities and limitations. Eventually, the importance of
developing of such soft sensing techniques (together with some
sort of built-on intelligence) for the advancement of process
monitoring is discussed while indicating some of the possible
directions for future industry.
Original languageEnglish
Article number10.1109/JSEN.2018.2885609
JournalSensors Journal, IEEE
Early online date11 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Process monitoring
  • Inferential measurements
  • Soft sensor
  • Intelligent systems
  • Modelling and Control
  • Melt temperature
  • Melt viscosity
  • Melt flow index
  • Torque
  • Polymer processing


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