A novel vibration-based fault diagnostic algorithm for gearboxes under speed fluctuations without rotational speed measurement

Liu Hong, Yongzhi Qu, Jaspreet Singh Dhupia, Shuangwen Sheng, Yuegang Tan, Zude Zhou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


The localized failures of gears introduce cyclic-transient impulses in the measured gearbox vibration signals. These impulses are usually identified from the sidebands around gear-mesh harmonics through the spectral analysis of cyclo-stationary signals. However, in practice, several high-powered applications of gearboxes like wind turbines are intrinsically characterized by nonstationary processes that blur the measured vibration spectra of a gearbox and deteriorate the efficacy of spectral diagnostic methods. Although order-tracking techniques have been proposed to improve the performance of spectral diagnosis for nonstationary signals measured in such applications, the required hardware for the measurement of rotational speed of these machines is often unavailable in industrial settings. Moreover, existing tacho-less order-tracking approaches are usually limited by the high time-frequency resolution requirement, which is a prerequisite for the precise estimation of the instantaneous frequency. To address such issues, a novel fault-signature enhancement algorithm is proposed that can alleviate the spectral smearing without the need of rotational speed measurement. This proposed tacho-less diagnostic technique resamples the measured acceleration signal of the gearbox based on the optimal warping path evaluated from the fast dynamic time-warping algorithm, which aligns a filtered shaft rotational harmonic signal with respect to a reference signal assuming a constant shaft rotational speed estimated from the approximation of operational speed. The effectiveness of this method is validated using both simulated signals from a fixed-axis gear pair under nonstationary conditions and experimental measurements from a 750-kW planetary wind turbine gearbox on a dynamometer test rig. The results demonstrate that the proposed algorithm can identify fault information from typical gearbox vibration measurements carried out in a resource-constrained industrial environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-32
Number of pages19
JournalMechanical Systems and Signal Processing
StatePublished - Sep 15 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research is supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant no. 51605349) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities of China (WUT: 163104002). The experimental work presented in this article was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy under Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308 with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Funding for the experimental work was provided by the DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Wind and Water Energy Technologies Office.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd


  • Gear fault diagnosis
  • Speed fluctuations
  • Tacho-less algorithm


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