Time-frequency vibration analysis for the detection of motor damages caused by bearing currents

Aurelien Prudhom, Jose Antonino-Daviu*, Hubert Razik, Vicente Climente-Alarcon

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Motor failure due to bearing currents is an issue that has drawn an increasing industrial interest over recent years. Bearing currents usually appear in motors operated by variable frequency drives (VFD); these drives may lead to common voltage modes which cause currents induced in the motor shaft that are discharged through the bearings. The presence of these currents may lead to the motor bearing failure only few months after system startup. Vibration monitoring is one of the most common ways for detecting bearing damages caused by circulating currents; the evaluation of the amplitudes of well-known characteristic components in the vibration Fourier spectrum that are associated with race, ball or cage defects enables to evaluate the bearing condition and, hence, to identify an eventual damage due to bearing currents. However, the inherent constraints of the Fourier transform may complicate the detection of the progressive bearing degradation; for instance, in some cases, other frequency components may mask or be confused with bearing defect-related while, in other cases, the analysis may not be suitable due to the eventual non-stationary nature of the captured vibration signals. Moreover, the fact that this analysis implies to lose the time-dimension limits the amount of information obtained from this technique. This work proposes the use of time-frequency (T-F) transforms to analyse vibration data in motors affected by bearing currents. The experimental results obtained in real machines show that the vibration analysis via T-F tools may provide significant advantages for the detection of bearing current damages; among other, these techniques enable to visualise the progressive degradation of the bearing while providing an effective discrimination versus other components that are not related with the fault. Moreover, their application is valid regardless of the operation regime of the machine. Both factors confirm the robustness and reliability of these tools that may be an interesting alternative for detecting this type of failure in induction motors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-762
Number of pages16
JournalMechanical Systems and Signal Processing
Volume84
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Bearing currents
  • Bearings
  • Fault diagnosis
  • Induction motors
  • Inverters
  • Time-frequency transforms

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