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Proceedings of the American Control Conference

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania June 1998

Detection of Common earing Faults Using Frequency-Domain

Vibration Signals and a Neural Network Based Approach
Bo Li Gregory Goddu Mo-Yuen Chow

Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Box 791 1, North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC 27695-791 1, USA

Abstract In the motor fault detection process, as shown in Figure

Bearings and their vibration play an important role in the 1, the sensors collect time domain vibration signals. The
performance of all motor systems. In many cases, the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) technique is then employed
accuracy of the instruments and devices used to monitor to convert the time domain signals into frequency domain
and control the motor system is highly dependent on the signals, which can provide salient features for the
dynamic performance of the motor bearings. In addition, diagnosis of the bearing condition. The diagnostic expert
many problems arising in motor operation are linked to then uses both time domain and frequency domain signals
bearing faults. Thus, fault detection of a motor system is to study the conditions of motor operation and determine
inseparably related to the diagnosis of the bearing what defects are present in the motor [6].
assembly. This paper presents an approach of using neural Time Frequency domain
bearing vibration bearing vibration
networks to detect common bearing defects from motor sienal
vibration data. The results show that neural networks can
be an efective agent in the detection of various motor
bearing faults through the measurement and interpretation
of motor bearing vibration signals.

Keywords: Bearing Vibration, Fault Detection, Neural

Motor and

t Exp'sDiagnosis

Figure 1. The flow of signals in a typical motor bearing fault
detection process.
1. Introduction
The maintenance of modem rotating machinery is This paper applies neural networks to the detection of
highly related to the preservation of bearings, due to the motor bearing conditions based on the frequency features
relative commonality of their faults. Therefore, since most of bearing vibration. Neural networks have proven ability
of the phenomena occurring in the bearing assemblies of in the area of nonlinear pattern classification. After being
motors are in some way represented as motor vibration, trained, they contain expert knowledge and can correctly
one of the most important signals to consider in most identify the different causes of bearing vibration. The
motor fault detection schemes is motor bearing vibration. results show that a neural network bearing vibration
Properly monitoring bearing vibration in a motor system is detector can satisfactorily replace motor experts for this
highly cost-effective in minimizing motor downtime; both problem and give accurate information about the condition
by providing advance warning for appropriate actions to be of the motor bearing given vibration data.
taken and by ensuring that the system does not deteriorate
to a condition where emergency action is required [I-31. 2. Fundamental Bearing Vibration Features
Signals measured by vibration sensors are generally
compared to reference signals in order to interpret the 2.1. Five Basic Frequencies Related to Rolling
bearing condition. Methods to analyze these signals Bearing Dynamic Movement
include: probabilistic analysis[81, frequency-domain signal Rolling bearings generally consist of two concentric
analysis[4-11], time-domain signal analysis[8], and rings with a set of rolling elements running in their tracks.
waveform analysis[8]. Among these, the frequency- These two rings are called the outer raceway and inner
domain signal analysis approach, which is also the basic raceway, respectively. Standard shapes of rolling elements
tool used in some of the other approaches, such as include the ball, cylindrical roller, tapered roller, needle
probabilistic analysis, is the most popular method due to roller, and symmetrical and unsymmetrical barrel roller
the availability of the Fourier Transform technique. [9,10]. Usually, the rolling elements in a bearing are

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guided in a cage that ensures uniform spacing and prevents 3. Ball Pass Outer Raceway Frequency ( f B p o F )
mutual contact. The ball pass outer raceway frequency, ,rBpo,, indicates
There are five basic motions that can be used to
describe the dynamics of a bearing movement and each the rate at which the balls pass a point on .the track of the
motion generates a unique frequency response. These five outer raceway. The quantity of f B p o , is equal to the
frequencies, shown in Figure 2, are defined as: shaft number of bearing balls, N , , multiplied by the difference
rotational frequency ( f,), fundamental cage frequency between the fundamental cage frequency, f F c F , and the
( f F C F ) , ball pass outer raceway frequency ( f B p o F ), ball outer raceway frequency, f,. In the motor, f,,,, is
pass inner raceway frequency ( f B p l F ), and ball rotational calculated as[5,7,8,11]:
frequency (f,). fBPOF = NBlfFCF -fol*

4. Ball Pass Inner Raceway Frequency ( f,,,, )

Similar to the ball pass outer raceway frequency, f,,, ,
the ball pass inner raceway frequency, f B p l F , is defined as
Figure 2. The basic frequencies in a bearing.
the rate at which the balls pass a point on 'the track of the
In the following derivations, as shown in Figure 3, f , , inner raceway. The quantity of f,,,, can be computed by
f, and f, represent the rotating frequency of the inner
multiplying the number of bearing balls, N,, by the
difference between the inner raceway frequency, A , and
raceway, ball center and outer raceway respectively. D~ is
the ball diameter, 0, is the cage diameter of the bearing the fundamental cage frequency, fFcF [5,7,8,11]. In
and is measured from a ball center to the opposite ball motors, this frequency is:
center, and B is the contact angle of bearing. fBPlF = NBlfFCF
'. e I
......... ..

5. Ball Rotational Frequency ( f,)

The ball rotational frequency, f, ,is the rate of the rotation
D~~ ....
of a ball about its own axis in a bearing. f E can be
Figure 3. The structure of a ball bearing. calculated in a motor as[5,7,8,11]:
1. Shaft Rotational Frequency ( f,)
As bearings are often used to form a bearing-rotor system,
the rotational frequency of the rotor (or shaft), f,, is very 2.2. Bearing Vibration Characteristics
important to the movements of bearings. In a steady state All frequencies present in the spectrurn of a bearing
motor operating condition, the bearing outer raceway can vibration must have been generated by some source. In
be assumed stationary, while the inner raceway is rotating practice, these sources exist in the form of some inherent
at the speed of the shaft, i.e. f, = 0 and f , = f, . defect in, or looseness of, the bearings [5,7,8,11].
For defects on the raceway of a rolling bearing, each
2. Fundamental Cage Frequency ( f F c F ) time a roller hits the defective raceway, the: corresponding
The fundamental cage frequency, fFCF, is the rotational ball pass inner raceway frequency, f B p l F or ball pass outer
frequency of the cage. In a motor, f F c , can be expressed raceway frequency, f B p o F 7 will be generated. If the
as[5,7,8,11]: defective area is large, harmonics of f B , or f , , will
also be present. The existence of these harmonics can help
to indicate the severity of the defect.


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The roller hits both the inner raceway and outer defects on the inner raceway and rolling element using
raceway each time it spins on its own axis. Therefore, for MOTORSIM.
defects on the roller, twice the ball rotational frequency
( 2 f B ) and the fundamental cage frequency ( f F c F ) will
(I!,, , , , , , , , , , .
usually be generated. In most cases, these frequencies will 0.W

3 am
be modulated with other existing frequencies and result in -0 05
a more complicated spectrum.
The simplest spectrum for bearing vibration is the d I’

spectrum caused by bearing looseness. Only fundamental

cage frequency ( f F c F ) or shaft rotational frequency ( f,)
and their harmonics exist for this case. Table 1 lists the Figure 4.The bearing vibration signal generated by MotorSIM.
bearing vibration frequency characteristics for various
faults. 3.Neural Network Approach to Motor
Table 1. Vibration frequency characteristics. Bearing Fault Detection
Location of defects I Frequency I Observations
3.1. Extraction of Bearing Vibration
Bearing looseness

f S fFCF

Modulated by Table 1 shows that the vibration generated by defects in

Rolling elements fBPlF ’fapOF 2fB ’f F C F the bearing will show one, or some combination of several,
An increase in the
of the five basic frequencies. Many different literatures
Inner raceway fBPIF
severity of the defects [5,7,8,11]have discussed the usage of these five basic
results in higher order frequencies to identify defects in a bearing. In the normal
harmonics being motor fault detection process, as shown in Figure 1, the
Outer raceway fBPlJF produced. expert will survey the time-domain signal and the
frequency spectra of bearing vibration to determine if there
2.3. Simulation of Motor Bearing Faults and are any defects within the bearing. However, a problem
Vibration with using engineers for vibration analysis is that this
experience, which is gained over a period of many years, is
In the design and study of motor fault detection a very expensive and inefficient use of resources.
schemes, it is important to determine if the designed fault Therefore, if we can train a neural network to learn the
detection algorithm is able to correctly classify different knowledge of the vibration expert, we can reduce the cost
motor fault conditions. Using a well-controlled fault data of fault detection and improve the efficiency. The general
environment, such as one obtained from a computer structure of this neural network based motor bearing fault
simulation, to verify the fault detection algorithm’s detection system is shown in Figure 5.
performance capability is essential. In this study, the ~ i m ke m a i n Frequency Domain
authors use the Fast Prototype Motor Simulation software, ~ ~ a r i vibration
ne Bearing Vibration
MOTORSIM,[3] to simulate and design the bearing
vibration detection algorithm.
that provides a framework for in-depth simulation of motor
dynamics. Although motor simulation software cannot Motor and Neural Network
completely model all real-world situations, a computer Beanng
Bearing Fault
simulation can assist in several aspects of motor operation
and control. MOTORSIMcan be used to generate Figure 5. Neural Network Motor Bearing Fault Detection
appropriate motor data, with different operating and System.
loading conditions, in a cost effective and time efficient
manner. MOTORSIMis used to generate vibration signals with
varying severity for each of seven different bearing
A significant amount of motor research has focused on
defects. These are the vibrations caused by bearing
vibration analysis to detect motor bearing conditions.
looseness, by defects on the inner raceway, by defects on
MOTORSIM can generate time-domain vibration signals for
different conditions of bearing failure by incorporating a the rolling element, and combinations of the above. Each
signal consists of 2048 sampling points with a sampling
bearing wear sub-module into the motor base module. The
results have been verified by comparison to real-world time of 0.0005 seconds. An FFT is performed to extract
vibration signals[6]. Figure 4 shows a bearing vibration the main characteristics of these vibration signals. This
procedure is shown in equation (5),
signal generated by simulating bearing looseness and


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handling non-linear systems. Neural networks are able to
learn expert knowledge by being trained using a
where N=2048 and d(n),0 s 2 N - 1 denotes the time- representative set of data [1,2]. At the beginning of a
neural network's training session, the neural network fault
domain data generated by MOTORSIM.The power
detector's diagnosis of the motor's condition will not be
spectrum of the vibration is obtained as follows:
accurate. An error quantity is measured and used to adjust
P(0)= lD(O)l', (6) the neural network's intemal parameters in order to
P(k)=[D(k)12+ I D ( N - k 1 2 ] k=1,2,...,--1,
N (7) produce a more accurate output decision. Once the
2 network is sufficiently trained and the weights have been
saved, the neural network contains all the necessary
knowledge to perform the fault detection.
Our neural network will have five input measurements
Next, we construct basic frequency amplitude vectors to
corresponding to the amplitudes of the five basic
represent different bearing vibrations. These vectors are
frequencies of interest and three output fault detectors
created from the power spectrum of the vibration signal
(bearing looseness, defects on the inner raceway, defects
and consist of the five basic frequencies; with varying
on the rolling element). MotorSIM can be used to generate
amplitudes based on the defect present. Since the spectral
the five basic frequencies under different fault conditions.
components near the five basic frequencies are also
After the network has been sufficiently trained with this
important, when generating the vector we consider a
data, it has the ability to identify different bearing faults
frequency band of lOHz for each basic frequency. That is,
from the vibration signal.
frequency band = - 5, f + 51 (9)
where f is the basic frequency.
3.3 Fault Detection and Results
For the five different basic frequencies, the basic
frequency amplitude vector and its elements can be The performance of the motor bearing fault detector, a
represented as: three-layer network with 10 hidden nodes, was tested using
the data generated by MOTORSIM and is given in Table 3.
From each of the seven possible fault combinations, one,
two, or three input data sets were chosen in order to
where T, is the sampling time.
generate smaller training data sets, of 7,14, and 21
frequency sets, respectively, from the original testing data
set, of 63 frequency sets. The s u e of the training data sets
was varied so as to show how this variable can effect
results. In order to demonstrate robustness, each of the
three training sets was run for 100 iterations with the
results averaged. A learning rate of 0.01 and momentum
of 0.3 was selected for all cases based on the experience of
the authors. Hence, the form of the neural network is
N,,,,J, with q=O.Ol and a=0.3.

Table 3. The average performance of the neural network motor

P= y
P(k). (17) Training
In this paper, the authors use MOTORSIM to simulate the {epochs)
vibration of a ball bearing with the following parameters:
Db = 0.5 in., N , = 9, 0, = 2.559in.,O = 0. The motor speed
is 1500 RPM. The five basic frequencies are: fs = 2 5 ~ 2 , 341.95

fFcF = 10.056H2, fBpoF = 90.5H.z9 fBpIF = 1 3 4 . 5 H ,

~ and
fBsF = 61.5&. Amplitudes of these frequencies vary based 2479.15

on the fault induced.

3.2 Feedforward Neural Networks
The capacity of artificial neural networks to mimic and As should be expected, both the accuracy and training
automate human expertise is what makes them ideal for time increased as the size of the training set was magnified.


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This method of neural network based motor bearing fault 6. Acknowledgment
detection has proven to be very accurate with as little as
two sets of basic frequency amplitude measurements for The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the
each of the seven fault types. National Science Foundation, for Grant ECS-952 1609.

4. Conclusion 7. References
A method of using neural networks to interpret [1]M.-y. Chow, R. N. Sharpe, and J. C. Hung, “On the
vibration signals of electric motors in order to detect Application and Design Consideration of Artificial Neural
Network Fault Detectors,” IEEE Transactions on Industrial
bearing faults was presented. Using the frequency Electronics, vol. 40, pp. 181-198,1993.
spectrum of the vibration signal to train an artificial neural [2]M.-Y. Chow and P. V. Goode, “Using a Neural/Fuzzy
network, the authors were able to achieve excellent results System to Extract Heuristic Knowledge from a Fault
with minimal data. Due to the high probability of bearing Detection Problem,” presented at IEEE Intemational
defects occurring in electric motors and the widespread use Conference On Fuzzy Systems, 1994.
of these motors in modem industry, this method of non- [3]M.-Y. Chow, S. Altug, and B. Li, “Motor System Time
invasive fault detection can be of great use for all motor Domain Fast Prototype Software Simulation,” National
related topics. Symposiumon Electric Machine, Newport, RI, 1997.
[4]G. Lipovszky, K. Solyomvari, and G. Varga, Vibration
Testing of Machines and Their Maintenance, first edition,
5. Future Research Elsevier, 1990.
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that neural networks are capable of high detection edition, Hemisphere Publishing Corporation, 1989.
[6]J. I. Taylor, The Vibration Analysis Handbook, first edition,
accuracy of bearing defects using frequency spectrum Vibration Consultants Inc., 1994.
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