Application of unsupervised learning and image processing into classification of designs to be fabricated with additive or traditional manufacturing

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Ördek, Baris; Borgianni, Yuri
Series: ICED
Institution: Free University of Bozen-Bolzano
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 0613-0622
DOI number:


Manufacturing process (MP) selection systems require a large amount of labelled data, typically not provided as design outputs. This issue is made more severe with the continuous development of Additive Manufacturing systems, which can be increasingly used to substitute traditional manufacturing technologies. The objective of this paper is to investigate the application of image processing for classifying MPs in an unsupervised approach. To this scope, k-means and hierarchical clustering algorithms are applied to an unlabelled image dataset. The input dataset is constructed from freely accessible web databases and consists of twenty randomly selected CAD models and corresponding images of machine elements: 35% additively manufactured parts and 65% manufactured with traditional manufacturing technologies. The input images are pre-processed to have the same colour and size. The k-means and hierarchical clustering algorithms reported 65% and 60% accuracy, respectively. The algorithms show comparable performance, however, the k-means algorithm failed to predict the correct subdivisions. The research shows promising potential for MP classification and image processing applications.

Keywords: Computer Aided Design (CAD), Machine learning, Additive Manufacturing, Image Processing, Unsupervised Learning

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