17th AIAI 2021, 25 - 27 June 2021, Greece

An Automated Machine Learning Approach for Predicting Chemical Laboratory Material Consumption

António João Silva, Paulo Cortez


  This paper address a relevant business analytics need of a chemical company, which is adopting an Industry 4.0 transformation. In this company, quality tests are executed at the Analytical Laboratories (AL), which receive production samples and execute several instrumental analyses. In order to improve the AL stock warehouse management, a Machine Learning (ML) project was developed, aiming to estimate the AL materials consumption based on week plans of sample analyses. Following the CRoss-Industry Standard Process for Data Mining (CRISP-DM) methodology, several iterations were executed, in which three input variable selection strategies and two sets of AL materials (top 10 and all consumed materials) were tested. To reduce the modeling effort, an Automated Machine Learning (AutoML) was adopted, allowing to automatically set the best ML model among six distinct regression algorithms. Using real data from the chemical company and a realistic rolling window evaluation, several ML train and test iterations were executed. The AutoML results were compared with two time series forecasting methods, the ARIMA methodology and a deep learning Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) model. Overall, competitive results were achieved by the best AutoML models, particularly for the top 10 set of materials.  

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