Bearing condition monitoring using acoustic emission and vibration : the systems approach
This thesis proposes a bearing condition monitoring system using acceleration and acoustic emission (AE) signals. Bearings are perhaps the most omnipresent machine elements and their condition is often critical to the success of an operation or process. Consequently, there is a great need for a timely knowledge of the health status of bearings. Generally, bearing monitoring is the prediction of the component's health or status based on signal detection, processing and classification in order to identify the causes of the problem. As the monitoring system uses both acceleration and acoustic emission signals, it is considered a multi-sensor system. This has the advantage that not only do the two sensors provide increased reliability they also permit a larger range of rotating speeds to be monitored successfully. When more than one sensor is used, if one fails to work properly the other is still able to provide adequate monitoring. Vibration techniques are suitable for higher rotating speeds whilst acoustic emission techniques for low rotating speeds. Vibration techniques investigated in this research concern the use of the continuous wavelet transform (CWT), a joint time- and frequency domain method, This gives a more accurate representation of the vibration phenomenon than either time-domain analysis or frequency- domain analysis. The image processing technique, called binarising, is performed to produce binary image from the CWT transformed image in order to reduce computational time for classification. The back-propagation neural network (BPNN) is used for classification. The AE monitoring techniques investigated can be categorised, based on the features used, into: 1) the traditional AE parameters of energy, event duration and peak amplitude and 2) the statistical parameters estimated from the Weibull distribution of the inter-arrival times of AE events in what is called the STL method. Traditional AE parameters of peak amplitude, energy and event duration are extracted from individual AE events. These events are then ordered, selected and normalised before the selected events are displayed in a three-dimensional Cartesian feature space in terms of the three AE parameters as axes. The fuzzy C-mean clustering technique is used to establish the cluster centres as signatures for different machine conditions. A minimum distance classifier is then used to classify incoming AE events into the different machine conditions. The novel STL method is based on the detection of inter-arrival times of successive AE events. These inter-arrival times follow a Weibull distribution. The method provides two parameters: STL and L63 that are derived from the estimated Weibull parameters of the distribution's shape (y), characteristic life (0) and guaranteed life (to). It is found that STL and 43 are related hyperbolically. In addition, the STL value is found to be sensitive to bearing wear, the load applied to the bearing and the bearing rotating speed. Of the three influencing factors, bearing wear has the strongest influence on STL and L63. For the proposed bearing condition monitoring system to work, the effects of load and speed on STL need to be compensated. These issues are resolved satisfactorily in the project.