The application of time encoded signals to automated machine condition classification using neural networks
This thesis considers the classification of physical states in a simplified gearbox using acoustical data and simple time domain signal shape characterisation techniques allied to a basic feedforward multi-layer perceptron neural network. A novel extension to the signal coding scheme (TES), involving the application of energy based shape descriptors, was developed. This sought specifically to improve the techniques suitability to the identification of mechanical states and was evaluated against the more traditional minima based TES descriptors. The application of learning based identification techniques offers potential advantages over more traditional programmed techniques both in terms of greater noise immunity and in the reduced requirement for highly skilled operators. The practical advantages accrued by using these networks are studied together with some of the problems associated in their use within safety critical monitoring systems.Practical trials were used as a means of developing the TES conversion mechanism and were used to evaluate the requirements of the neural networks being used to classify the data. These assessed the effects upon performance of the acquisition and digital signal processing phases as well as the subsequent training requirements of networks used for accurate condition classification. Both random data selection and more operator intensive performance based selection processes were evaluated for training. Some rudimentary studies were performed on the internal architectural configuration of the neural networks in order to quantify its influence on the classification process, specifically its effect upon fault resolution enhancement.The techniques have proved to be successful in separating several unique physical states without the necessity for complex state definitions to be identified in advance. Both the computational demands and the practical constraints arising from the use of these techniques fall within the bounds of a realisable system.