Techniques for condition monitoring using cyclo-non-stationary signals

  • Leonardo Barbini

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Condition based maintenance is becoming increasingly popular in many industrial contexts, offering substantial savings and minimising accidental damage. When applied to rotating machinery, its most common tool is vibration analysis, which relies on well-established mathematical models rooted in the theory of cyclo-non-stationary processes. However, the extraction of diagnostic information from the real world vibration signals is a delicate task requiring the application of sophisticated signal processing techniques, tailored for specific machines operating under restricted conditions. Such difficulty in the current state of the art of vibration analysis forces the industry to apply methods with reduced diagnostic capabilities but higher adaptability. However in doing so most of the potential of vibration analysis is lost and advanced techniques become of use only for academic endeavours. The aim of this document is to reduce the gap between industrial and academic applications of condition monitoring, offering ductile and automated tools which still show high detection capabilities. Three main lines of research are presented in this document. Firstly, the implementation of stochastic resonance in an electrical circuit to enhance directly the analog signal from an accelerometer, in order to lower the computational requirements in the next digital signal processing step. Secondly, the extension of already well-established digital signal processing techniques, cepstral prewhitening and spectral kurtosis, to a wider range of operating conditions, proving their effectiveness in the case of non-stationary speeds. Thirdly, the main contribution of the thesis: the introduction of two novel techniques capable of separating the vibrations of a defective component from the overall vibrations of the machine, by means of a threshold in the amplitude spectrum. After the separation, the cyclic content of the vibration signal is extracted and the thresholded signals provide an enhanced detection. The two proposed methods, phase editing and amplitude cyclic frequency decomposition, are both intuitive and of low computational complexity, but show the same capabilities as more sophisticated state of the art techniques. Furthermore, all these tools have been successfully tested on numerically simulated signals as well as on real vibration data from different machinery, lasting from laboratory test rigs to wind turbines drive-trains and aircraft engines. So in conclusion, the proposed techniques are a promising step toward the full exploitation of condition based maintenance in industrial contexts.
Date of Award19 Mar 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJonathan Du Bois (Supervisor)


  • Vibration Analysis
  • Condition Monitoring
  • cyclo-non-stationary vibrations
  • Phase editing
  • amplitude cyclic frequency decomposition

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