Virtual metrology as an approach for product quality estimation in Industry 4.0: a systematic review and integrative conceptual framework

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Virtual metrology (VM) involves estimating a product’s quality directly from production process data without physically measuring it. This enables the product quality of each unit of production to be monitored in real time, while preserving the process efficiency. Initially developed for the semiconductor industry, VM has recently been examined for use in other industrial fields. VM is enabled by components such as quality estimators and drift detectors. It enhances various industrial applications such as machine control and sampling decision systems. The literature lacks a comprehensive summary and a systematic review of the state of the art in VM. To fill this gap, this study followed a systematic methodology to conduct a complete and structured literature review of VM. This paper presents a detailed analysis of the 199 papers that we identified based on our search and selection criteria. Following our methodological framework, we assigned these papers to categories and highlighted shortcomings. Finally, we discussed VM’s use in various industrial fields, underlining its potential for every manufacturing industry. This study and the proposed framework are useful for both practitioners and academicians since they raise crucial theoretical and managerial questions as well as provide suggestions for further research on this critical topic.

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International Journal of Production Research

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