We describe the approach – submitted as part of the 2018 PHM Data Challenge – for estimating time-to-failure or Remaining Useful Life (RUL) of Ion Mill Etching Systems in an online fashion using data from multiple sensors. RUL estimation from multi-sensor data can be considered as learning a regression function that maps a multivariate time series to a real-valued number, i.e. the RUL. We use a deep Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) to learn the metric regression function from multivariate time series. We highlight practical aspects of the RUL estimation problem in this data challenge such as i) multiple operating conditions, ii) lack of knowledge of exact onset of failure or degradation, iii) different operational behavior across tools in terms of range of values of parameters, etc. We describe our solution in the context of these challenges. Importantly, multiple modes of failure are possible in an ion mill etching system; therefore, it is desirable to estimate the RUL with respect to each of the failure modes. The data challenge considers three such modes of failures and requires estimating RULs with respect to each one, implying learning three metric regression functions - one corresponding to each failure mode. We propose a simple yet effective extension to existing methods of RUL estimation using RNN based regression to learn a single deep RNN model that can simultaneously estimate RULs corresponding to all three failure modes. Our best model is an ensemble of two such RNN models and achieves a score of 1:91 X 10^7 on the final validation set..
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Recurrent Neural Networks
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