Confounding factors analysis and compensation for high-speed bearing diagnostics
Alessandro Paolo Daga  1@  , Luigi Garibaldi  1  , Alessandro Fasana  1  , Stefano Marchesiello  1  
1 : Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Aerospaziale [Torino]

In recent years, machine diagnostics through vibration monitoring is gaining a rising interest. Indeed, in the literature many advanced techniques are available to disclose the fault establishment as well as damage type, location and severity. Unfortunately, in general, these high-level algorithms are not robust to operational and environmental variables, restricting the field of applicability of machine diagnostics. Most of industrial machines in fact, work with variable loads, at variable speeds and in uncontrolled environments, so that the finally measured signals are often non-stationary. The very common time-series features based on statistical moments (such as root mean square, skewness, kurtosis, peak value and crest factor) undergo variations related to changes in the machine operational parameters (e.g. speed, load, ...) or in the environmental parameters (e.g. temperature, humidity, ...), which can be seen as non-measured, and then latent, confounding factors with respect to the health information of interest.

In order to face such issue, statistical techniques like (in a first exploratory stage) the Principal Component Analysis, or the Factor Analysis, are available. The pursuit of features insensitive to these factors, can be also tackled exploiting the cointegration property of non-stationary signals.

In this paper, the most common methods for reducing the influence of latent factors are considered, and applied to investigate the data collected over the rig available @DIRG Lab, specifically conceived to test high speed aeronautical bearings monitoring vibrations by means of 2 tri-axial accelerometers while controlling the rotational speed (6000 – 30000 RPM), the radial load (0 to 1800 N) and recording the lubricant oil temperature.

The compensation scheme is based on two procedures which are established in univariate analyses, but not so well documented in multivariate cases: the removal of deterministic trends by subtraction of a regression, and the removal of stochastic trends in difference stationary series by subtraction of the one-step ahead prediction from an autoregressive model. The extension of these methods to the multivariate case is here analysed to find an effective way of enhancing damage patterns when the masking effect due to the non-stationarities induced by latent factors is strong.


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