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Lecture Note

Fault Analysis

Prepared By Eng. Essam Abdel Halim Mostafa Predictive Maintenance Manager Delta Co. For Electronics E-mail:

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Fault Analysis

Unbalance Misalignment Pulleys faults Bent shaft Shaft crack Mechanical looseness Journal bearing faults Rolling element bearing faults Rotor rub Electrical motor problems Pumps Problems Gear faults

The main advantage of making vibration measurements on rotating machinery, is the possibility to detect faults, before they make the machine break down, and thereby reduce economical losses, such as damaged equipment and production loss. To this the constant percentage band width spectrum has shown to be the most efficient. When a fault is detected, vibration analysis can be used to diagnose the fault. Making diagnosis using vibration analysis requires skill and experience. Additional measurements of FFT spectra and phase measurements is often required. In the following some simple rules for the most common machine faults are drawn up giving the fault type and a characteristic vibration measurements. The spectra in the examples are all made as drawings, in order to emphasize the typical feature of each fault.

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Unbalance Definition
A rotor is not completely balanced when the center of gravity axis does not coincides with the rotational axis as prescribed by construction.

F r S e m u

US u r e m
u r e m 2 Fu U S u r 2
e: r: S: u: m: F:

Specific unbalance or center of gravity eccentricity: Centrifugal force:

The effects of unbalance will be:

Displacement of the center of gravity Centrifugal forces created during rotation

Center of gravity displacement Radius to unbalance mass Center of gravity Unbalance mass Rotor mass Centrifugal force

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Static Unbalance
-If an unbalance is added to a completely balanced rotor in the same radial plane as the center of gravity, this constitutes a static unbalance. This unbalance causes a parallel displacement of the center of gravity axis from the rotational axis. -Equal phase on each bearing -Mainly radial vibration

Typical Typical Unbalance Unbalance Spectrum Spectrum

Please Note: Strong unbalance cause harmonics

T D E E: S: U: D-D: T-T: Center of gravity displacement Center of gravity Unbalance mass Shaft axis Center of gravity axis U S T D

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Couple Unbalance
- If two equal unbalances are added to a completely
balanced rotor at the same radius in two different planes exactly opposite one another, they constitute a couple unbalance. In this case the center of gravity axis is inclined to the rotational axis and intersects it at the center of gravity of the rotor. - Phase changes 180 across bearing -Mainly radial vibration

Typical Typical Unbalance Unbalance Spectrum Spectrum

Please Note: Strong unbalance cause harmonics

D E: S: U: D-D: T-T: Center of gravity displacement Center of gravity Unbalance mass Shaft axis Center of gravity axis T S



U1 = U2

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Quasi-static Unbalance
-A combination of static and couple unbalance existing in most rotors. In this case the center of gravity axis is inclined to the rotational axis and intersects it at a point other than the center of gravity of the rotor. - Phase changes across bearing - Mainly radial vibration
Please Note: Strong unbalance cause harmonics FU1

Typical Typical Unbalance Unbalance Spectrum Spectrum

S D E: S: U: D-D: T-T: Center of gravity displacement Center of gravity Unbalance mass Shaft axis Center of gravity axis T T D


U1 U2

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Dynamic Unbalance
A combination of static and couple unbalance existing in most rotors. In this case the center of gravity axis is inclined to the rotational axis but does not intersects it. -Mainly radial vibration

Typical Typical Unbalance Unbalance Spectrum Spectrum

Please Note: Strong unbalance cause harmonics



E: S: U: D-D: T-T:

Center of gravity displacement Center of gravity Unbalance mass Shaft axis Center of gravity axis


U1 U2

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Results of Unbalance (1)

Higher dynamic bearing loading

Speeds up wear and shortens service life time Makes use of lighter/cheaper constructions of bearing types impossible Makes high service speeds impossible/undesirable

Fatigue fracture
Fracture of housings, associated parts and foundations Breaking of rotating shaft components Makes service speeds near resonance frequencies dangerous

Increased mechanical looseness

Screws, bolts and key couplings loosened by excessive shaking

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Results of Unbalance (2)

Reduction of the utility value

Diminution of the operational accuracy

Reduction of operational safety and comfort

Physical damage to operators and bystanders Increased annoyance and human fatigue Decreased human comfort

Reduced perceived quality

Excessive noise and vibration indicate poor manufacturing quality and/or wear-down

Case Studies\04-Unbalance-coolingtower.ppt

Eastern Tobaco\balancing.ppt

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A. Parallel misalignment
10 3.1 1 0.31 mm/s

Radial Vibration approx. 180 phase shifted 2X often highest peak


mm/s 1X



B. Angular misalignment

3.1 1 0.31




Axial Vibration approx.. 180 phase shifted And in phase in radial direction. 1X , 2X or 3 X highest

Please PleaseNote: Note: Misalignment Misalignmentmay maybe beappears appearson on1X 1X component componentonly only

Misalignment is traditionally associated with a 2nd harmonic component, which according to some sources is due to to 2 times the stress reversal during one rotation. More probably the harmonic occurs due to distortion of the ideal sinusoidal vibration signal. It is quite common that misalignment occurs on the 1st harmonic only in the spectrum. An investigation of the phase relationship across the rotor and across the coupling should therefore always be carried out for distinguishing misalignment from unbalance. A misaligned rotor tend to wear in. That is after a while the bearing will get deformed after the misalignment. In the spectrum this is seen as the 2nd order component will decrease and the third order will increase as wear develops.

Causes of Misalignment Misalignment is typically caused by the following conditions: Inaccurate assembly of components, such as motors, pumps, etc. Relative position of components shifting after assembly Distortion due to forces exerted by piping Distortion of flexible supports due to torque Temperature induced growth of machine structure Coupling face not perpendicular to the shaft axis Soft foot, where the machine shifts when hold down bolts are torqued.

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Misalignment Results (1)


Bearing failure.

Seal Leakage
Seal Manufacturer verifies: 50 times longer machine operation through proper shaft alignment

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Misalignment Results (2)

Coupling Failure, even in flexible types!

Internal heating.

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Misalignment Results (3)

- High energy consumption.

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Bent Shaft


10 3.1 1 0.31

Axial And Radial Vibration 180 Phase shift in Axial Vibration 0 Phase shift in radial vibration



A Bent Shaft to many extents is looking like a misalignment in the spectrum. A phase measurement for axial vibration across the shaft will distinguish between misalignment and bent shaft as the bent shaft will produce a 180 Degrees Phase shift.

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Belt Drive Problem

Mismatched, Worn, or Stretched Belts
Mismatched, worn, or stretched belts, especially Vee belts, will generate vibration at the fundamental belt pass frequency and harmonics of it. Usually the second harmonic is dominant if there are two sheaves in the system. The Fundamental Belt Frequency FBF is given by the following formula. It is always sub-synchronous, meaning it is lower in frequency than 1X.

Fundamental Belt Frequency (FBF) = *D*RPM/L

Vibration Amplitude



3.1 1

2x FBF


Where WhereD D= =Sheave SheaveDiameter Diameter L = Belt Length L = Belt Length RPM RPM= =Turn Turnspeed speedof ofsheave sheaveD D


Variable Definitions: PS = Pulley rpm (PS1 = Driver Pulley Speed, PS2 = Driven Pulley Speed) PD = Pulley diameter (PD1 = Driver Pulley Dia., PD2 = Driven Pulley Dia) SD = Distance between shaft centers BL = Belt Length Belt Length = 1.57 x (PD1 + PD2) + 2(SD)

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Belt Drive Problem Cont.

Sheave Misalignment
Sheave misalignment will generate strong axial 1X components and axial harmonics of the fundamental belt frequency.




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Belt Drive Problem Cont.

Eccentric Sheaves, Sheave Runout
Eccentric sheaves will generate strong 1X radial components, especially in the direction parallel to the belts. This condition is very common, and mimics imbalance. This can be checked by removing the belts and measuring again. 1X vibration of an eccentric sheave or a sheave with run out will usually also show up at the other sheave.
Vibration Amplitude

10 3.1 1 0.31


Motor RPM


Center of rotation different from geometrical center

Vertical an horizontal Phase either equal or 180 different

The Eccentric rotor will produce high vibration at the rotation speed. The Phase will be the same in both horizontal and vertical direction. If you try to balance an eccentric rotor, you may reduce the vibration readings in one direction, but the readings will increase in the other

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Vibration Amplitude

10 3.1 1 0.31

Loose Foundation 2X often high Sub-harmonics

.5X 1X 1.5X 2X




Vibration Amplitude

10 3.1 1 0.31

Loose shaft Often series of sub harmonic Components , 1/3, ... 1/n

.5X 1X 1.5X 2X



Mechanical looseness produce a strongly distorted signal. The inter harmonics (, 1/3 etc.) are attributable to the fact that the loose part bounces and thus does get excited every 2nd or 3rd revolution of the shaft. Looseness between a machine and its foundation will increase the 1X vibration component in the direction if the least stiffness. This is usually the horizontal direction, but it depends on the physical layout of the machine. Low-order 1X harmonics are also commonly produced if the looseness is severe. It is often hard to tell imbalance from foundation looseness or flexibility, especially in vertical machines. If 1X tangential is much greater than 1X radial, looseness is suspected. If 1X tangential is lower than or equal to 1X radial, then imbalance is suspected. Foundation flexibility or looseness can be caused by loose bolts, corrosion, or cracking of mounting hardware.

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Vertical Looseness

Vertical Looseness Mechanical looseness in the vertical plane generates a series of harmonic and half harmonic frequency components. Figure above is a simple example of a vertical mechanical looseness signature. In most cases, the half-harmonic components are about one-half of the amplitude of the harmonic components. They result from the machine-train lifting until stopped by the bolts. The impact as the machine reaches the upper limit of travel generates a frequency component at one-half multiples (i.e., orders) of running speed. As the machine returns to the bottom of its movement, its original position, a larger impact occurs that generates the full harmonics of running speed. The difference in amplitude between the full harmonics and half-harmonics is caused by the effects of gravity. As the machine lifts to its limit of travel, gravity resists the lifting force. Therefore, the impact force that is generated as the machine foot contacts the mounting bolt is the difference between the lifting force and gravity. As the machine drops, the force of gravity combines with the force generated by imbalance. The impact force as the machine foot contacts the foundation is the sum of the force of gravity and the force resulting from imbalance.

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Horizontal Looseness

The Figure illustrates horizontal mechanical looseness, which is also common to machine-trains. In this example, the machine's support legs flex in the horizontal plane. Unlike the vertical looseness illustrated in previous fig (vertical looseness), gravity is uniform at each leg and there is no increased impact energy as the leg's direction is reversed. Horizontal mechanical looseness generates a combination of first (1x) and second (2x) harmonic vibrations. Since the energy source is the machines rotating shaft, the timing of the flex is equal to one complete revolution of the shaft, or 1x . During this single rotation, the mounting legs flex to their maximum deflection on both sides of neutral. The double change in direction as the leg first deflects to one side then the other generates a frequency at two times (2x) the shafts rotating speed.

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Rotor Rub
mm/ 10 3.1 1 0.31

Truncated waveform

.5X 1X 1.5X 2X 2.5X 3X

Symptoms same as Mechanical Looseness Subharmonics ,1/3 etc. Strong Harmonic pattern Caused by truncation

The characteristics of Rotor Rub are very similar to mechanics looseness.

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Shaft Crack
Shaft ShaftCracks Cracksmay maybe bedetected detected by bymonitoring monitoringof of Amplitude Amplitudeand andPhase Phaseof of 1X 1Xfirst firstand and2X 2Xand and second secondharmonic harmonicof ofRPM. RPM. Monitoring Monitoringof ofCoast Coastdown down and andRun Run- -up upcharacteristics characteristics when whenpassing passingthrough through resonance resonance X/Y Position History

Longitudinal Crack

Radial Crack




rpm rpm

Run Up
1X Run Up

Shaft Cracks have been detected by continuously monitoring of 1st and 2nd harmonics, or by comparing run ups and coast down, where a cracked shaft will change the characteristic curve as it passes through the resonance. Shaft Cracks are often mistaken for the far more common misalignment.

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Journal Bearings
Sleeve Bearing Looseness
Wear Clearance Problems
Harmonic Series of Rotation Speed
10 3.1 1 0.31 mm/s

1X 2X 3X 4X 5X 6X 7X 8X 9X 10X...

Sleeve Bearing Looseness Symptoms

The precise symptoms detected and amplitudes recorded on a spectrum will depend on the amount of force being generated by the shaft's rotation, where we are taking the readings and other variables. Even if direct shaft readings are taken, if there is not enough force being generated to cause the shaft to throw itself around, the shaft will simply spin as the bearing continues to wear and the clearances continue to increase. In this case, vibration symptoms of the problem will be minimal or even non-existent. If the readings are taken on the housing instead of the shaft, you may be measuring only 10% or so of shaft movement and the chances are even greater that vibration symptoms of bearing wear will not be generated. Other factors now involved include the relative masses of the rotor and bearing housing / structure (how much can the relatively lightweight shaft move the massive housing ?). It is important to understand that vibration is not monitoring bearing condition as it is with rolling element bearings. It is monitoring a result of the bearing wear - looseness that does not cause vibration. Looseness merely allows the forces present to have more of an effect than they would if everything was properly fastened in place. If there are insufficient forces to throw the rotor around, vibration symptoms are not generated.

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Journal Bearings
Oil Whirl
Oil whirl can be induced by several conditions including:
10 mm/s

Light dynamic and preload forces Excessive bearing wear or clearance A change in oil properties (primarily shear viscosity)

3.1 1 0.31

normally 42 %- 47 % of running speed May appear from 0.3 -0.7X in some occasions Non Synchronous

An increase or decrease in oil pressure or oil temperature; improper bearing design (sometimes an over design for the actual shaft loading) fluid leakage in the shroud of blades and shaft labyrinth seals (so-called aerodynamic force) Change in internal damping (hysteretic, or material damping, or dry friction) gyroscopic effects, especially on overhung rotors with excessive overhang. Any of these conditions can induce oil whirl after a disturbing force induces an initial rotor deflection.

0.43X 1X


wo= 0

wo= ws

Oil Film Within a Journal

Oil Whirl, although unusual, can occur when clearances become excessive. An oil wedge is formed that is held in place by the rotation of the shaft. The friction of the shaft against the wedge then pushes the shaft around the housing. Fortunately (for the analyst), it occurs in a very precise sub-synchronous frequency range.
Some bearing designs may develop instability at certain conditions of oil viscosity and bearing load. In such cases the oil film will pump around the shaft with about the average speed of the oil film speed profile. The speed of such pumping normally appears around 42 % - 47% of the shaft speed though instability has been reported in the range 30% to 70 % of shaft speed. - Sometimes machines exhibit oil whirl intermittently due to external vibratory forces transmitting into the unit or from sources within the machinery itself. In these cases, these vibratory forces have the same frequency as the oil whirl frequency of that bearing and can contribute just the right magnitude of disturbing force at just the right tuned frequency to set the shaft into the whirl motion. This vibration transmits from other machinery through attached structures such as piping and braces, or even through the floor and foundation. If this occurs, it may be necessary to either isolate this machine from surrounding machinery, or to isolate the offending machine itself. -Oil whirl is easily recognized by its unusual vibration frequency which is generally 40 percent to 48 percent of shaft RPM. (some reference states that pure oil whirl occurs at 43 percent of shaft speed, but that the instability may occur at the first critical speed.) - Oil whirl is considered severe when vibration amplitudes reach 40 to 50 percent of the normal bearing clearance. At this point, corrective action must be taken. -Temporary corrective measures include changing the temperature of the oil (thus, the oil viscosity), purposely introducing a slight unbalance or misalignment to increase the loading, temporarily shifting the alignment by heating or cooling support legs, scraping the sides of or grooving the bearing surface to disrupt the lubricant wedge, or changing the oil pressure. -Permanent corrective steps to resolve the oil whirl problem include installing a new bearing shell with proper clearances, preloading the bearing by an internal oil pressure dam, or completely changing the bearing type to oil film bearings that are less susceptible to oil whirl (including axial-groove bearings, lobed bearings or tilting pad bearings). The tilting pad bearing is a good choice because each segment or pad develops a pressurized oil wedge tending to center the shaft in the bearing, thereby increasing the system damping and overall stability.

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Journal Bearings
Oil Whip

Oil Whip Symptoms


Oil whirl is present (bearing clearances are excessive). Problem develops when rotor is running at 2.1-2.4x critical speed (at this speed, the frequency of the rotor's 1st critical is between 0.42-0.48xRPM - the oil whirl range). High vibration develops at frequency of rotor's critical speed. This occurs when the vibration due to the oil whirl condition acts to excite the resonant frequency of the rotor. High vibration remains at frequency of 1st critical even as rotor speed continues to increase.

3.1 1 0.31

0.43X 1X


Oil Film Within a Journal

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Rolling Element Bearings

Faults in Rolling Element Bearings are Detected with CPB in the High frequency range

Envelope Spectra can be used both for Detection and Diagnosis of Rolling Element Bearing Faults

No Defects on Rolling Element Bearing Flat Envelope Spectrum.

Rolling element bearing faults normally start with small cracks or spalls, which produce very hard impacts by the passing of the balls. As the bearing impacts are very short, they will contain energy in very high frequencies - the resonances of the force path will be excited and ring. Detection of bearing wear is done by seeing increases of the resonances of the bearing and the machine structure in the 2kHz - 14 kHz frequency range. Using Envelope analysis the modulation of the high frequency can be analyzed. Envelope analysis provides thus an excellent tool for both detection and diagnosis of bearing signals. If no modulation is present in the signal. There will be no peaks in the envelope spectra.

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Rolling Element Bearing Frequencies

D1 D2


D1 D 2 2

n = number of balls

f r = rotation frequency

The rolling element bearing can be considered as a planetary gear with the inner ring as the sun weal and the balls as planets. Different defects will be repeated at frequencies which can be calculated with above formulas. The Ball Diameter and the Race diameters, as well as the contact angle beta is normally given by the manufacturer. The number of balls is given in newer literature from the bearing manufacturers. You may use the mounting diameters of the bearing for calculating the Pitch Diameter if the Outer and Inner Race diameter is not available. It is general experience that these frequencies show up in a FFT spectrum at a very late stage of bearing wear. With envelope analysis the bearing frequencies are seen at a very early stage of fault development however. The envelope analysis can be used for accurately predicting the breakdown of a bearing. It should be noted that the balls will slip few percents in the bearings specially when lightly loaded.

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Typical Bearing Defects Development Envelope Analysis

1. Outer Race Faults
Lead Time Months Ball Pass Frequency Outer Race ( BPFO) and Harmonic

2. Inner Race Faults

Lead Time Days - Weeks Ball Pass Frequency Inner Race (BPFI) With Side bands of Rotation speed

3. Ball Defects
Requires Immediate action Ball Spin Frequency BSF with Harmonics. Often in combinations with above with various inter-harmonics.

The typical bearing fault start as a crack or spall in the outer race. Depending on bearing load a rolling element bearing can survive long time with an outer race fault. An outer race spall will eventually develop to a wear. This can be seen in the envelope spectrum by the reduction of harmonics of the BPFO and an increase of the BPFO itself. At as certain stage the balls off tracked by the outer race fault will cause a fault in the inner race. As the fault in the inner race is rotating into and out of the load zone, the fault frequency will be modulated with the rotation speed, and thus produce side bands with RPM spacing. An inner race fault is often faster growing than an outer race fault. In the end of a bearing fault, often faults and the balls are seen as well as inter modulation frequencies between the different fault types.

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Bearing Mounting Defects Analyzed With Envelope Analysis

Rotor Misalignment Rotor Unbalance Radial Tension of Bearing


Misalignment of 2*BPFO outer Race (Cocked)


Slip of Race in the Mounting Seat

Harmonics of RPM

Lubrication Defect

Increase of Background level

The earliest detection of bearing fault is done by placing the envelope filter on a resonance of the bearing. By doing so however, one miss the opportunity of classifying the defect depth, by the height of the peaks in the envelope spectrum. Also one misses the opportunity of being able to analyze above defects in the envelope spectra. For getting the best information about modulations of random noise produced by a rolling element bearing, it is recommended to place the envelope filter in the high frequency at a place where signal is available, but not amplified by resonances. (There should be maximum 10dB variation across the envelope filter range).

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AC Motor Induction Motor Problems

Electrically Generated Vibrations The supply of AC power to a motor generates mechanical vibration. Since AC power is supplied as a sinusoid, each pole of the motor is energized twice once with a "+" peak and once with a "-" peak during each cycle.

This means that the most common vibration frequency that is generated is NOT line frequency it is 2x line frequency ( 2 x 50 Hz= 100 Hz)

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AC Motor Induction Motor Problems

There are two spectra necessary to detecting electrically-related problems. Each example that follows is taken on one or the other. High frequency (200 x RPM). High resolution (12kcpm Fmax w/ 1600 lines is usually sufficient). There are also certain terms and frequencies which must be defined: FLine = Electrical line frequency - normally 50 Hz (3000 rpm) or 60 Hz (3600 rpm). 2 x FLine = Torque Pulse Frequency. This is a common frequency found on a high resolution spectrum. P = # of poles on the motor. The number of poles is how the speed of the motor is controlled. The greater the number of poles, the slower the motor runs. The number of poles is always an even number (2, 4, 6, etc.).

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AC Induction Motor Problems: Air gap Variation, Stator Weakness & Winding Shorts

Air Gap Variation, Winding Shorts, Stator Weakness Symptoms: High amplitudes at 2 x FLine. Recommended Actions: Check for soft foot and repair. Check alignment and repair. Perform winding tests to assess insulation integrity of the windings. Live with it or buy a new motor.

The Stator- consists of the windings and the metal of the motor housing itself (i.e. the 'iron', or 'core'). The symptom we will see here is related to variation in the air gap between the windings and the rotor. That air gap is not perfectly even all the way around. Since the strength of a magnetic field - which causes the rotation of the rotor - is proportional to the gap (the smaller the gap, the stronger the force), variation in the gap produces vibration at (2 x FLine). The greater the variation, the higher the amplitude. The air gap can also be affected, however, by mechanical problems such as soft foot (which stresses & distorts the housing), stator looseness / weakness (allowing it to be influenced to a greater degree by those magnetic forces) and winding shorts (which cause localized heating and thermal distortion). The only one of the previous problems that is easily tested for and fixed is soft foot.

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AC Induction Motor Problems: Eccentric Rotor

Eccentric Rotor Symptoms -High amplitudes at 2 x FLine. -Possible sidebands around 2x line frequency and/or 1x rpm. Recommended Actions: -Check for soft foot and repair. -Check alignment and repair. -On-line current analysis to assess condition and determine severity. -Live with it or buy a new motor.

NOTE: It is important to realize that vibration at 2 x FLine is a normally occurring vibration. The effect on the bearings is no greater or less than the same amplitude due to unbalance. Do not over-react. NOTE: Do not confuse the presence of a running speed harmonic with a pole pass frequency sideband. By definition, a running speed harmonic will always be separated from 2 x FLine by pole pass frequency.

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AC Induction Motor Problems: Phasing Problems

One Possible Spectrum Caused By A Problem With A Short In One Of The Phases Or Feeder Cables

Another Possible Spectrum Caused By A Problem With A Short In One Of The Phases Or Feeder Cables

Single Phasing Symptoms: High amplitudes at 2 x FLine (this can be the only symptom). Sidebands around 2 x FLine at 1/3 FLine (1/3 line frequency). Recommended Actions: This may occur with a sudden, dramatic increase in amplitudes. In that case, a short should be suspected and testing should be performed. Inspect connections at junction box on motor. Surge test unit from motor control center. This will detect a problem anywhere in the leads, splices or windings. If a problem is found, the splices at the motor should be broken and the leads and windings tested separately to isolate the problem. If nothing found in windings, on-line current analysis should be performed on the motor.

The main problem caused by phasing shorts is impeding the free flow of current to the motor. This can cause problems ranging from danger to personnel to heat-related damage to catastrophic motor failure.

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AC Induction Motor Problems: Broken / Cracked Rotor Bars

Broken Cracked Rotor Bar Symptoms: FPole sidebands surrounding running speed harmonics. Advanced problems will exhibit a 'humming' or 'pulsing' sound and feel. Significant is the number of and size of the sidebands. They increase as the unit Deteriorates. Amplitude at 1x rpm is relatively unimportant - it will fluctuate greatly as the hot spots being generated cause the rotor to bow unpredictably. It is a result of the problem - not a cause. Recommended Actions: On-line current analysis to determine severity. Limit starts since they are easily the single, most destructive thing you can do to a motor.

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AC Induction Motor Problems: Loose Rotor Bars

Loose Rotor Bar Symptoms: High amplitude at a very high frequency (WSPF, but we don't know what it is) accompanied by sidebands at 2 x FLine.

This symptom is not unusual and at low amplitudes - below 0.1 ips or 2.5 mm/sec often means little more than an imperfection in the machine.
In fact, it usually has more to do with a potential winding problem than rotor bar looseness. Vibration at 2 x WSPF and even 3 x WSPF w/ sidebands at 2 x FLine. These are much more unusual and indicate a much more potentially severe problem. Symptoms identical to the next problem - looseness in the windings (make sure both are understood before recommending any action for either problem). Recommended Actions: On-line current analysis to determine severity. If a healthy rotor is found, it is more likely a potential winding problem. Winding testing in addition to rotor testing will provide for a comprehensive eletrcial PdM program.

Loose rotor bars- Extremely unusual and never found in cast rotors. As a loose rotor bar passes a winding slot, the magnetic force causes it to momentarily lift and then drop. The frequency, then, is the number of windings slots x RPM (Winding Slot Pass Frequency or WSPF). The number of winding slots will be between about 25 and 100. The bad news is that you will not know the number of winding slots and it is very difficult to find out. The good news is that the vibration is accompanied by a precise sideband - 2 x FLine.

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AC Induction Motor Problems: Loose in Winding Slots, Iron, End Turns And/Or Connections

Velocity FFT Showing Pattern Of Peaks Separated By 2xLine Frequency (Sidebands) In High Frequency Range (30-90xRPM).

Envelope Plot Showing 2xLine Peak And Harmonics. This Indicates Impacts Occurring At 2xLine Frequency.

Looseness In The Windings Symptoms: High amplitude at a very high frequency (RBPF, but we don't know what it is) accompanied by sidebands at 2 x FLine. This is not unusual and often means little. In fact, it often has more to do with a potential winding problem than rotor bar looseness Amplitude peaks on the enveloping spectra at 2 x FLine and harmonics. Recommended Actions: Surge testing to check insulation integrity and test for any wire to wire, turn to turn and phase to phase shorts as well as the integrity of the ground wall insulation.

Looseness in the winding slots- are detectable with vibration analysis but cannot be trended towards failure since the problem does not worsen (vibration-wise) prior to winding failure. The problem causes wear of the insluation on the windings and eventually a ground short (catastrophic failure). Only winding testers (surge testing) can trend this problem and assess the severity. It is commonly found and should not be over-reacted to. The symptoms are very similar to loose rotor bars on the velocity / acceleration spectra. Additionally, however, there will be high amplitude peaks on your enveloping spectra (e.g. gSE spectrum) at 2 x FLine and harmonics. Each time a rotor bar passes the loose winding, it lifts and then drops back. The vibration frequency, therefore, is the number of rotor bars x RPM (rotor bar pass frequency = RBPF). Like WSPF, it will be surrounded by 2 x FLine sidebands. Like the number of winding slots, we won't know the number of rotor bars but it's not important - the pattern of peaks separated by 2 x FLine is the clue we need.

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AC Variable Frequency Drives

Variable Frequency Drives - VFD's are AC motors that give the operator the speed control that a DC Drive normally provides at a small fraction of the cost and difficulty in maintenance and troubleshooting. It operates exactly as an AC induction motor does with all of the same electrically generated frequencies. That's the good news. The bad news is that a VFD is the vibration analyst's worst nightmare. For example, the vibration frequencies detectable with both AC induction motors and DC motors are constant - only a couple vary at all and they are part of a easily recognizable pattern. With a VFD, the speed is controlled by modifying the frequency of the power supply. In other words, a motor normally running at 3550 rpm can be slowed down to, say, 1775 rpm (1/2) by reducing line frequency from 60 Hz to 30 Hz. In all likelihood, however, you will not know the exact frequency being supplied to the motor and that is the problem

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Synchronous Motors
Synchronous Motors Loose Stator Coils
RPM spaced Sidebands around Coil Pass Frequency.

1 RPM spacing

1X 2X

Coil Pass Freq.

Loose stator coils in synchronous motors may generate high vibration at the coil passing frequency which is the number of stator coils times the RPM. Modulation is often present and can be seen as side bands spaced with RPM.

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DC Motors
Half Wave rectification
This type of drive arrangement is known as "half-wave rectified". You can see from the animation that FLine is supplied to the drive. However, if the drive is operating properly, the seen frequency will be 3x FLine. 3x FLine is a normal vibration frequency to be found on a DC motor. This frequency is known as SCR firing frequency, or FSCR. The amplitude at FSCR can be up to 0.1 ips (2.5 mm/sec) before beginning to cause any notice. There can also be a small amplitude peak at 2x FSCR.
1 2 3

DC Voltage

Bottom half of Wave Cut off

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DC Motors
Full Wave rectification
FSCR on a full-wave rectified drive is, of course, 6x Line Frequency. You can see how a full-wave rectified drive gives better control and a more constant voltage than a half-wave rectified drive does.
1 2 3 4 5 6

DC Voltage

Bottom half of Wave Cut off

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DC Motors
DC Motors Silicon Controlled Rectifiers (SCR)
SCR firing frequency increase may show: Bad SCR Loose Connections Broken Field Windings
1X 2X SFC Freq.= 6*Line freq. 2*SCR

At the SCR frequency which is usually 6 times the line frequency, increases will show problems with the SCR. DC Drives - generate certain electrical frequencies due to the way the drive itself works. Direct current is the flow of electricity in one direction (as opposed to alternating current which changes direction at a rate of 50 times per second). However, a DC drive gets its power supplied by an AC power source. Since AC power is a sinusoid, the drive cuts off the bottom ("-" portion) of the sine wave in order to get a constant "+" voltage. This is done with an SCR - a 'Silicon Controlled Rectifier'. Using a single SCR, however, would result in a '+' peak followed by a period of no current flow since the '-' peak would be cut off. This would be unacceptable as it would lead to a surging, pulsing power supply. A better solution is to have 3 SCR's with the AC signals separated by a 120 phase lag. The following animation shows how that would create a much more constant power supply.

DC motors are often controlled by Silicon Controlled Rectifiers ( SCR ). At the SCR frequency which is usually 6 times the line frequency, increases will show problems with the SCR. DC Drives - generate certain electrical frequencies due to the way the drive itself works. Direct current is the flow of electricity in one direction (as opposed to alternating current which changes direction at a rate of 60 times per second). However, a DC drive gets its power supplied by an AC power source. Since AC power is a sinusoid, the drive cuts off the bottom ("-" portion) of the sine wave in order to get a constant "+" voltage. This is done with an SCR - a 'Silicon Controlled Rectifier'. Using a single SCR, however, would result in a '+' peak followed by a period of no current flow since the '-' peak would be cut off. This would be unacceptable as it would lead to a surging, pulsing power supply. A better solution is to have 3 SCR's with the AC signals separated by a 120 phase lag. The following animation shows how that would create a much more constant power supply.

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Spectrum Example on DC Motor

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Centrifugal Pumps Problems

Cavitation begins as the formation of vapor bubbles at the impeller eye due to low pressure. The bubbles form at the position of lowest pressure at the pump inlet which is just prior to the fluid being acted upon by the impeller vanes and then rapidly compressed. The compression of the vapor bubbles produces a small shock wave that impacts the impeller surface and pits away at the metal creating over time large eroded areas and subsequent failure. The sound of cavitation is very characteristic and resembles the sound of gravel in a concrete mixer.

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Pumps Problems
Centrifugal Pumps
The following spectrum, containing broadband high-frequency noise, indicates cavitation in a centrifugal pump due to low inlet pressure.


is caused by the collapse of small bubbles that occurs during local boiling at certain condition of the fluid (low dynamic pressure) The Collapses are short in time and thus wide in Frequency.

-The resonances are exited throughout the spectrum

-Specially high Frequencies are exited - In Envelope Spectra an increase of the background level with no distinct lines are seen.

Constant Percentage Bandwidth Spectrum

Envelope Spectrum

The faster a fluid travels by an object the lower the pressure will be, this phenomenon is well known as Bernoulli's law, and it is the reason that aero planes can fly and turbo machines are working. The lower the pressure, the lower the boiling temperature of water. In some instances the water of a pump may start boiling locally as a result of the local fluid speed will decrease local dynamic pressure and hence decreased the boiling point below the fluid temperature. When the local pressure increases again the small bubbles formed in the boiling process collapses very rapidly. The rapid collapse causes shock pulses which may be strong enough to break apart fragments of metal on the location it occurs - cavitation wear. The collapsing bubbles also induce shock waves which are transferred through the structure. Since the pulses are very short, they have a very high frequency content, and they will excite resonances throughout the spectrum range.

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Pumps Problems Cont.

Gear Pumps
Gear pumps are commonly used for pumping lube oil, and they almost always have a strong vibration component at the tooth mesh frequency, which is the number of teeth on the gear times the RPM. This component will be highly dependent on the output pressure of the pump. If the tooth mesh frequency changes significantly, such as the sudden appearance of harmonics or sidebands in the vibration spectrum, it could indicate a cracked or otherwise damaged tooth.

Vibration Amplitude


Gear Meshing Frequency

Typical Gear Pump Spectrum


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Pumps Problems Cont.

Screw Pumps
The screw type pump can generate a multitude of frequency components in the vibration spectrum. Thread (loop) wear or damage will usually produce strong harmonics of the thread rate, which is the number of threads (loop) times the RPM.

Vibration Amplitude


Loop Meshing Frequency


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Fan Problems
A phenomena similar to gear mesh frequency is Van passing frequency on fluid-handling machines. The source of Van Passing frequency is a pressure fluctuation as a Van Passes a discontinuity within its chamber The Van Passing Frequency is always the product of the rotational speed times the number of Vanes.


Sp ee d

Vibration Amplitude


Blade Passing Frequency

Fa n

to r


Fan are the cause of more field vibration problems than any other category of machines. Motors easily outnumber every other kind of machine and are a significant source of vibration on their own, but fans require more attention to keep running. The reasons are their function and their construction.

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Compressor Problems
Screw Compressor
The screw type compressor can generate a multitude of frequency components in the vibration spectrum. Thread (loop) wear or damage will usually produce strong harmonics of the thread rate, which is the number of threads (loop) times the RPM.

Vibration Amplitude


Screw Meshing Frequency


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Gear Boxes Produce Complex Spectra Cepstrum Analysis and Time Domain averaging greatly simplifies the job of the analysis in assessment of Gear Box faults.



Gear GearBox BoxSpectrum Spectrum

Faults produce Side Band families Faults produce Side Band families

Gear GearBox BoxCepstrum Cepstrum

The TheEnergy Energyof ofeach eachSide SideBand Band

around aroundtooth toothmesh meshfrequency frequency(TMF) (TMF) and harmonics TMF. and harmonics TMF.

Family Family(fault) (fault)is iseasily easilyassessed. assessed.

Gear box spectra contains a range of frequencies of the different tooth mesh and its harmonics. The tooth mesh frequency itself, is generally dependent of gearbox load, whereas gear box wear can be diagnosed as an increase of the 2nd and 3rd harmonic. Side bands around the tooth mesh frequency and its harmonics, are quite common and contains information about gearbox faults. As a general rule a distributed faults such as runout and gear misalignment will produce side bands which have high amplitudes close around the fault, whereas distributed faults produce side bands which are spread more widely. Cepstrum analysis produce an excellent tool for analyzing the energy in each side band family. With signal enhancement analysis you may collect the vibration spectrum from a single shaft inside a gear box. Use of Order analysis will eliminate smearing the many components together due to small speed variations.

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Gear Normal Spectrum

Normal spectrum shows 1X and 2X and gear mesh frequency GMF GMF commonly will have sidebands of running speed All peaks are of low amplitude and no natural frequencies are present

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Gear teeth Wear

Wear is indicated by excitation of natural frequencies along with sidebands of the bad gear running speed Sidebands are a better wear indicator than the GMF GMF may not change in amplitude when wear occurs

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Gear Eccentricity and Backlash

Fairly high amplitude sidebands around GMF suggest eccentricity, backlash or non parallel shafts The problem gear will modulate the sidebands Incorrect backlash normally excites gear natural frequency

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Gear misalignment
Vibration Amplitude



Gear misalignment almost always excites second order or higher harmonics with sidebands of running speed Small amplitude at 1X GMF but higher levels at 2X and 3X GMF Important to set Fmax high enough to capture at least 2X GMF

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Cracked or broken tooth

Vibration Amplitude




A cracked or broken tooth will generate a high amplitude at 1X RPM of the gear It will excite the gear natural frequency which will be side banded by the running speed fundamental Time interval between impacts will be the reciprocal of the 1X RPM

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