Additive manufacturing (AM) is a novel fabrication technique capable of producing highly complex parts. Nevertheless, a major challenge is the quality assurance of the AM fabricated parts. While there are several ways of approaching this problem, how to develop informative process signatures to detect part anomalies for quality control is still an open question. The objective of this study is to build a new layer-wise process signature model to characterize the thermal-defect relationship. Based on melt pool images, we propose novel layer-wise key process signatures, which are calculated using multilinear principal component analysis (MPCA) and are directly correlated with the layer-wise quality of the part. The resultant layer-wise quality features can be used to predict the overall defect distribution of a fabricated layer during the build. The proposed model is validated through a case study based on a direct laser deposition experiment, where the layer-wise quality of the part is predicted on the fly. The accuracy of prediction is calculated using three measures (i.e., recall, precision, and F-score), showing reasonable success of the proposed methodology in predicting layer-wise quality. The proposed quality prediction methodology enables online process correction to eliminate anomalies and to ultimately improve the quality of the fabricated parts.

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