The discipline of control has had numerous yet sporadic contacts with the manufacturing world over the past few decades, almost always as an afterthought or addendum, and typically in the role of machine and not as process control. Much of this detachment comes from an absence of control techniques that can deal directly with the actual manufacturing process, i.e., a material transformation process that produces a desired object both in terms of specific geometry and internal properties. Instead, most efforts have focused on using existing methods on process independent problems, such as position control and trajectory following, or on straightforward process parameter control, thereby only indirectly influencing the actual process output. This paper presents the reasons behind and the means to eliminate this estrangement, using the author’s own research as an example of a more direct approach to process modeling and control.

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