van Vuuren, Pieter A., Xu, Yuandong, Gu, Fengshou and Ball, Andrew (2017) Monitoring gearbox oil viscosity by means of motor current signal analysis. In: First World Congress on Condition Monitoring - WCCM 2017, 13th-16th June 2017, ILEC Conference Centre, London. (Unpublished)

A number of gearbox failures can be attributed to lubricant related problems. One measure of the condition of gearbox oil is its viscosity. In electrically powered systems, motor current signal analysis allows online estimation of the viscosity of gearbox oil without requiring additional sensors. Previous work on this problem entailed monitoring the power (and change in power) of sidebands of the shaft frequency in the induction motor current spectrum. Sideband frequencies in the current spectrum can however be influenced by other potential problems in the electromechanical system ranging from bearing faults to gearbox teeth damage.

Changes in the lubricant viscosity result in changes in the mechanical and thermal losses in the system. These small deviations in the mechanical and thermal losses in the system become visible in the ratio of the electrical energy demanded by the induction motor to the kinetic energy of the rotating mechanical parts. Speed and load invariance can be ensured by normalizing the measured energy ratio with lookup table values obtained when the system attained thermal equilibrium. Speed or load perturbations in the system give rise to small deviations in the normalized energy ratio curve. The distributions of these deviations are significantly different (in a statistical sense) for different oil viscosity values.

129-Vuuren PV.pdf - Accepted Version

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