Multistage gearboxes vibration based quality control

University dissertation from Stockholm : KTH

Abstract: In this thesis, vibration based techniques for detection of localised surface damages in multistage gearboxes are presented and evaluated.A modern vehicle gearbox is a complex system and the number of potential errors is large. For instance, surface damages can be caused by rough handling during assembly. Large savings can be made in the production industry by assuring the quality of products such as gearboxes. An automated quality test as a final step in the production line is one way to achieve this.A brief review of available methods for vibration based condition monitoring of gearboxes is given in the opening summary. In the appended papers, a selection of these methods is used to design signal processing procedures for detection of localised surface damages in gearboxes. The procedures include the Synchronous signal averaging technique (SSAT), residual calculation, filtering with a prediction error filter (PEF) based on an AR-model and the use of crest factor and kurtosis as state features. The procedures are fully automatic and require no manual input during calibration or testing. This makes them easy to adapt to new test objects.A numerical model, generating simulated gearbox vibration signals, is used to systematically evaluate the proposed procedures. The model originates from an existing model which is extended to include contributions from several gear stages as well as measurement noise. This enables simulation of difficulties likely to arise in quality testing such as varying background noise and modulation due to test rig misalignment. Without the numerical model, the evaluation would require extensive measure-ments. The numerical model is experimentally validated by comparing the simulated vibration signals to signals measured of a real gearbox.In the experimental part of the study, vibration data is collected with accelerometers while the gearbox is running in an industrial test rig. In addition to the healthy condition, conditions including three different surface damage sizes are also considered.The numerical and the experimental analysis show that the presented procedures are able to detect localised surface damages at an early stage. Previous studies of similar procedures have focused on gear crack detection and overall condition monitoring. The procedures can handle varying back-ground noise and reasonable modulation changes due to misalignment.The results show that the choice of sensor position and operating conditions during measure-ments has a significant impact on the efficiency of the fault detection procedures. A localised surface damage excites resonances in the transfer path between the gear mesh and the accelerometer. These resonances amplify the defect signal. The results indicate that it is favourable to choose a speed at which the resonant defect signals are well separated from the gear meshing harmonics in the order domain. This knowledge is of great importance when it comes to quality testing. When a quality test procedure is being developed, it is often possible to choose the operating conditions and sensor positions. It can in fact be more important to choose proper operating conditions than to apply an optimal signal processing procedure.