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Manufacturing process quality

Predicting process result quality is a common task in manufacturing analytics. Manufacturing plants commonly use quality predictions to gain a competitive edge over their competitors, improve their products or increase their customers satisfaction. MindsDB is a tool that can help you solve quality prediction tasks easily and effectively using machine learning. MindsDB abstracts ML models as virtual “AI Tables” in databases and you can make predictions just using normal SQL commands.

In this tutorial you will learn how to predict the quality of a mining process using MindsDB and PostgreSQL.


Before you start make sure you have:

  1. Access to MindsDB. Check out the installation guide for Docker or PyPi. You can also use MindsDB Cloud.
  2. Access to a PostgreSQL database. You can install locally or use a managed service like Heroku Postgres.
  3. Downloaded the dataset. You can get it from Kaggle.
  4. Access to mysql-client. You can probably get it from your systems package manager. For Debian/Ubuntu check here.
  5. Optional: Access to ngrok. You can check the installation details at the ngrok website.

Setup the database

In this section you will create a PostgreSQL database and a table into which you will then load the dataset.

First connect to your PostgreSQL instance. You can use the CLI based psql or any manager like PgAdmin.

If you have PostgreSQL running locally, you can use the following line to connect.

Remember to change the username if you have a different one set up in PostgreSQL.

psql -h localhost -U postgres

After connecting you can create a database for the project. You can skip this step if you already have the database you want to use.

CREATE DATABASE manufacturing;

Next, you need to create a table for the dataset. To do so, first switch to the database you want to use.

\c manufacturing

Now you can create the table with the following schema.

CREATE TABLE process_quality (
    "date" date,
    "% Iron Feed" decimal,
    "% Silica Feed" decimal,
    "Starch Flow" decimal,
    "Amina Flow" decimal,
    "Ore Pulp Flow" decimal,
    "Ore Pulp pH" decimal,
    "Ore Pulp Density" decimal,
    "Flotation Column 01 Air Flow" decimal,
    "Flotation Column 02 Air Flow" decimal,
    "Flotation Column 03 Air Flow" decimal,
    "Flotation Column 04 Air Flow" decimal,
    "Flotation Column 05 Air Flow" decimal,
    "Flotation Column 06 Air Flow" decimal,
    "Flotation Column 07 Air Flow" decimal,
    "Flotation Column 01 Level" decimal,
    "Flotation Column 02 Level" decimal,
    "Flotation Column 03 Level" decimal,
    "Flotation Column 04 Level" decimal,
    "Flotation Column 05 Level" decimal,
    "Flotation Column 06 Level" decimal,
    "Flotation Column 07 Level" decimal,
    "% Iron Concentrate" decimal,
    "% Silica Concentrate" decimal

You can check if the table was created with the \dt command. You should see a similar output.

              List of relations
 Schema |      Name       | Type  |  Owner
 public | process_quality | table | postgres
(1 row)

When the table is created you can load the dataset into it.

Unfortunately the data comes with commas as a decimal separator. This is not supported with PostgreSQL. A simple way of handling that is to convert all commas in the CSV file to dots and then changing the delimiter to a dot when loading the dataset. You can do this with sed.

sed -i 's/,/./g' MiningProcess_Flotation_Plant_Database.csv

To load the CSV file into the table use the following query.

Remember to change the path to the dataset to match the file location on your system.

COPY process_quality
FROM '/path/to/dataset/MiningProcess_Flotation_Plant_Database.csv'

To verify that the data has been loaded, you can make a simple SELECT query.

SELECT "% Iron Feed", "% Silica Feed", "Starch Flow" FROM process_quality LIMIT 10;

You should see a similar output.

 % Iron Feed | % Silica Feed | Starch Flow
        55.2 |         16.98 |     3019.53
        55.2 |         16.98 |     3024.41
        55.2 |         16.98 |     3043.46
        55.2 |         16.98 |     3047.36
        55.2 |         16.98 |     3033.69
        55.2 |         16.98 |      3079.1
        55.2 |         16.98 |     3127.79
        55.2 |         16.98 |     3152.93
        55.2 |         16.98 |     3147.27
        55.2 |         16.98 |     3142.58
(10 rows)

The last step is to change the table column names so that they don't contain spaces and special characters. This will simplify things later. Use the following queries to change the column names.

ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "% Iron Feed" TO iron_feed;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "% Silica Feed" TO silica_feed;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Starch Flow" TO starch_flow;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Amina Flow" TO amina_flow;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Ore Pulp Flow" TO ore_pulp_flow;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Ore Pulp pH" TO ore_pulp_ph;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Ore Pulp Density" TO ore_pulp_density;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Flotation Column 01 Air Flow" TO floatation_column_01_airflow;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Flotation Column 02 Air Flow" TO floatation_column_02_airflow;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Flotation Column 03 Air Flow" TO floatation_column_03_airflow;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Flotation Column 04 Air Flow" TO floatation_column_04_airflow;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Flotation Column 05 Air Flow" TO floatation_column_05_airflow;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Flotation Column 06 Air Flow" TO floatation_column_06_airflow;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Flotation Column 07 Air Flow" TO floatation_column_07_airflow;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Flotation Column 01 Level" TO floatation_column_01_level;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Flotation Column 02 Level" TO floatation_column_02_level;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Flotation Column 03 Level" TO floatation_column_03_level;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Flotation Column 04 Level" TO floatation_column_04_level;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Flotation Column 05 Level" TO floatation_column_05_level;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Flotation Column 06 Level" TO floatation_column_06_level;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "Flotation Column 07 Level" TO floatation_column_07_level;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "% Iron Concentrate" TO iron_concentrate;
ALTER TABLE process_quality
RENAME COLUMN "% Silica Concentrate" TO silica_concentrate;

You have now finished setting up the PostgreSQL database! 🐘

Connect MindsDB to your database

In this section, you will connect your database to MindsDB.

The recommended way of connecting a database to MindsDB is through MindsDB GUI. If you are using an open-source version, launch MindsDB Studio. In this tutorial we will use MindsDB Cloud that has GUI already.

Since our PostgreSQL instance is local we will use ngrok to make it available to MindsDB Cloud. If you are using a PostgreSQL instance that already has a public address or you have installed MindsDB locally you can skip this step.

First you need to set up an ngrok tunnel with the following command.

If you have used a different port for your PostgreSQL installation, remember to change it here.

ngrok tcp 5423

You should see a similar output:

Session Status                online
Account                       myaccount (Plan: Free)
Version                       2.3.40
Region                        United States (us)
Web Interface       
Forwarding                    tcp:// -> localhost:5432
Now you can copy the forwarded address from the above output. You are interested in the part.

With the address copied, head over to MindsDB GUI.

In the main screen, select ADD DATABASE. Then add your integration details.

MindsDB PostgreSQL integration details

Click Connect, you should now see your PostgreSQL database connection in the main screen.

You are now done with connecting MindsDB to your database! 🚀

Create a predictor

In this section you will connect to MindsDB with the MySql API and create a Predictor. It is in MindsDB terms a machine learning model, but all its complexity is automated and abstracted as a virtual “AI Table”. If you are an ML expert and want to tweak the model, MindsDB also allows you that (please refer to documentation).

Use the following query to create a Predictor that will foretell the silica_concentrate at the end of our mining process.

The row number is limited to 5000 to speed up training but you can keep the whole dataset.

CREATE PREDICTOR process_quality_predictor
FROM process_quality_integration (
    SELECT * FROM process_quality LIMIT 5000
) PREDICT silica_concentrate as quality USING {"ignore_columns": ["date"]};

After creating the Predictor you should see a similar output:

Query OK, 0 rows affected (2 min 27.52 sec)

Now the Predictor will begin training. You can check the status with the following query.

SELECT * FROM mindsdb.predictors WHERE name='process_quality_predictor';

After the Predictor has finished training, you will see a similar output.

| name                        | status   | accuracy | predict            | select_data_query | external_datasource | training_options |
| process_quality_predictor   | complete | 1        | silica_concentrate |                   |                     |                  |
1 row in set (0.28 sec)

As you can see the accuracy of the model is 1 (i.e. 100%). This is the result of using a limited dataset of 5000 rows. In reality when using the whole dataset, you will probably see a more reasonable accuracy.

You are now done with creating the predictor! ✨

Make predictions

In this section you will learn how to make predictions using your trained model.

To run a prediction against new or existing data, you can use the following query.

SELECT silica_concentrate, silica_concentrate_confidence, silica_concentrate_explain as Info
FROM mindsdb.process_quality_predictor
WHERE when_data='{"iron_feed": 48.81, "silica_feed": 25.31, "starch_flow": 2504.94, "amina_flow": 309.448, "ore_pulp_flow": 377.6511682692, "ore_pulp_ph": 10.0607, "ore_pulp_density": 1.68676}';

The output should look similar to this.

| silica_concentrate | silica_concentrate_confidence | Info                                                                                                                                            |
| 1.68               | 0.99                          | {"predicted_value": "1.68", "confidence": 0.99, "confidence_lower_bound": null, "confidence_upper_bound": null, "anomaly": null, "truth": null} |
1 row in set (0.81 sec)

As you can see, the model predicted the silica concentrate for our data point. Again we can see a very high confidence due to the limited dataset. When making predictions you can include different fields. As you can notice, we have only included the first 7 fields of our dataset. You are free to test different combinations.

In the previous example, we have made a prediction for a single data point. In a real scenario, you might want to make predictions on multiple data points. In this case, MindsDB allows you to Join this other table with the Predictor. In result, you will get another table as an output with a predicted value as one of its columns.

Let’s see how to make batch predictions.

Use the following command to create the batch prediction.

    predictions.silica_concentrate_confidence as confidence,
    predictions.silica_concentrate as predicted_silica_concentrate
FROM process_quality_integration.process_quality AS collected_data
JOIN mindsdb.process_quality_predictor AS predictions

As you can see below, the predictor has made multiple predictions for each data point in the collected_data table! You can also try selecting other fields to get more insight on the predictions. See the JOIN clause documentation for more information.

| iron_feed | silica_feed | starch_flow | amina_flow | ore_pulp_flow | ore_pulp_ph | ore_pulp_density | confidence | predicted_silica_concentrate |
| 58.84     | 11.46       | 3277.34     | 564.209    | 403.242       | 9.88472     | 1.76297          | 0.99       | 2.129567174379606            |
| 58.84     | 11.46       | 3333.59     | 565.308    | 401.016       | 9.88543     | 1.76331          | 0.99       | 2.129548423407259            |
| 58.84     | 11.46       | 3400.39     | 565.674    | 399.551       | 9.88613     | 1.76366          | 0.99       | 2.130100408285386            |
| 58.84     | 11.46       | 3410.55     | 563.843    | 397.559       | 9.88684     | 1.764            | 0.99       | 2.1298757513510136           |
| 58.84     | 11.46       | 3408.98     | 559.57     | 401.719       | 9.88755     | 1.76434          | 0.99       | 2.130438907683961            |

You are now done with the tutorial! 🎉

Please feel free to try it yourself. Sign up for a free MindsDB account to get up and running in 5 minutes, and if you need any help, feel free to ask in Slack or Github.

For more tutorials like this, check out MindsDB documentation.