Al-Arbi, Salem (2012) Condition Monitoring of Gear Systems using Vibration Analysis. Doctoral thesis, University of Huddersfield.

It is often impractical to measure vibrations directly at /or close to their sources when condition monitoring gearbox systems. It is common to measure the vibration distant from the source due to limited access to the component which is to be monitored. In addition, operating the gearbox under different loads and speeds also produces vibration signals within different components. Vibration measured in this way may be significantly distorted by the effect of signal transmission paths and interference from other sources. Therefore, suppression of distortions is a key issue for remote measurement based condition monitoring. In this research work, the influences of transducer locations and operating conditions on the vibration signal have been investigated on a typical gearbox transmission system for the detection of faults induced within the gearbox. Vibration signals corresponding to a healthy (baseline) and faulty conditions on two-stage helical gearbox at various load and speed levels were recorded. The baseline vibration data were examined using conventional methods in the time, frequency and the joint time-frequency domains, and are referenced for comparison with more advanced methods. Several parameters have been proposed for monitoring gear condition locally (gearbox casing) including time, frequency, and joint time-frequency domain representation. The results show that traditional signal processing techniques were insufficient for revealing fault detection information due to the low signal to noise ratio (SNR). This research also presents a mathematical model for the simulation of vibration signals in order to further understand the source of the vibration. The model represents a two stage gear system using a suitable stiffness function to represent the forces acting between each pair of gears. Rotational stiffness and damping are also used to simulate the angular motion of the gears and shafts. Results show that the frequency spectrum of acceleration outputs from the model take the expected form with peaks at the meshing frequency and associated harmonics.

Furthermore, if the stiffness function between the first pair of gears is simulated with a broken tooth, and various degrees of damage, outputs from the simulation have similar sideband effects to the signals produced in the experimental investigation.

In addition, the model also demonstrates that variation of load and speed produces a corresponding effect to that seen in the experiments. Consequently, although relatively simple, the mathematical model can be used to explain vibration mechanisms in real gearbox systems used in condition monitoring.

Time synchronous averaging (TSA) has been applied to the vibration signals from the gearbox to remove random noise combined with the raw signal. The angular domain signal, the order spectrum and the order-frequency presentation were used to characterise gearbox vibration in these new domains in more detail. Results obtained following TSA were compared with those obtained through conventional analysis from waveform characteristics, spectrum patterns and corresponding feature parameters under different operating loads and fault conditions. In addition, continuous wavelet transform (CWT) of TSA was also compared with the conventional CWT results of raw signals to further characterise vibrations.

As part of this research study, the vibration transmission path has been estimated using the frequency response function (FRF) technique. A response based estimation method has been developed to revise the base path and adapted to operating conditions for more accurate fault estimation. Both theoretical analysis and test results showed that improved diagnosis when the path information was included in vibration signal processing and feature selection.

Finally, the vibration data recorded from the two accelerometers located on the gearbox casing and motor flange were analyzed using different signal processing methods to investigate the effect of path transmission (transducer location) on the detection and diagnosis of the seeded gear tooth faults. Results from the angular domain, the order spectrum and the order-frequency analysis are presented to demonstrate use of these techniques for fault detection in gearboxes and that the effect of path transmissions can be observed on the vibration signals.

Results showed that CWT of the TSA signal could be used to detect and indicate the severity of the gear damage effectively even if vibration signals originated from a remote motor flange.

Salem_Al-Arbi_-_Final_Thesis.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

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