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A fuzzy Bayesian network-based approach for modeling and analyzing factors causing process variability

Anwesa Kar (Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur, India)
Garima Sharma (Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur, India)
Rajiv Nandan Rai (Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, Kharagpur, India)

International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management

ISSN: 0265-671X

Article publication date: 3 February 2022

Issue publication date: 24 February 2023




In order to minimize the impact of variability on performance of the process, proper understanding of factors interdependencies and their impact on process variability (PV) is required. However, with insufficient/incomplete numerical data, it is not possible to carry out in-depth process analysis. This paper presents a qualitative framework for analyzing factors causing PV and estimating their influence on overall performance of the process.


Fuzzy analytic hierarchy process is used to evaluate the weight of each factor and Bayesian network (BN) is utilized to address the uncertainty and conditional dependencies among factors in each step of the process. The weighted values are fed into the BN for evaluating the impact of each factor to the process. A three axiom-based approach is utilized to partially validate the proposed model.


A case study is conducted on fused filament fabrication (FFF) process in order to demonstrate the applicability of the proposed technique. The result analysis indicates that the proposed model can determine the contribution of each factor and identify the critical factor causing variability in the FFF process. It can also helps in estimating the sigma level, one of the crucial performance measures of a process.

Research limitations/implications

The proposed methodology is aimed to predict the process quality qualitatively due to limited historical quantitative data. Hence, the quality metric is required to be updated with the help of empirical/field data of PV over a period of operational time. Since the proposed method is based on qualitative analysis framework, the subjectivities of judgments in estimating factor weights are involved. Though a fuzzy-based approach has been used in this paper to minimize such subjectivity, however more advanced MCDM techniques can be developed for factor weight evaluation.

Practical implications

As the proposed methodology uses qualitative data for analysis, it is extremely beneficial while dealing with the issue of scarcity of experimental data.

Social implications

The prediction of the process quality and understanding of difference between product target and achieved reliability before the product fabrication will help the process designer in correcting/modifying the processes in advance hence preventing substantial amount of losses that may happen due to rework and scraping of the products at a later stage.


This qualitative analysis will deal with the issue of data unavailability across the industry. It will help the process designer in identifying root cause of the PV problem and improving performance of the process.



Kar, A., Sharma, G. and Rai, R.N. (2023), "A fuzzy Bayesian network-based approach for modeling and analyzing factors causing process variability", International Journal of Quality & Reliability Management, Vol. 40 No. 3, pp. 820-844.



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