Theoretical investigation of the upper and lower bounds of a generalized dimensionless bearing health indicator

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  • Dong Wang
  • Kwok-Leung Tsui


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)890-901
Journal / PublicationMechanical Systems and Signal Processing
Online published11 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


Bearing-supported shafts are widely used in various machines. Due to harsh working environments, bearing performance degrades over time. To prevent unexpected bearing failures and accidents, bearing performance degradation assessment becomes an emerging topic in recent years. Bearing performance degradation assessment aims to evaluate the current health condition of a bearing through a bearing health indicator. In the past years, many signal processing and data mining based methods were proposed to construct bearing health indicators. However, the upper and lower bounds of these bearing health indicators were not theoretically calculated and they strongly depended on historical bearing data including normal and failure data. Besides, most health indicators are dimensional, which connotes that these health indicators are prone to be affected by varying operating conditions, such as varying speeds and loads. In this paper, based on the principle of squared envelope analysis, we focus on theoretical investigation of bearing performance degradation assessment in the case of additive Gaussian noises, including distribution establishment of squared envelope, construction of a generalized dimensionless bearing health indicator, and mathematical calculation of the upper and lower bounds of the generalized dimensionless bearing health indicator. Then, analyses of simulated and real bearing run to failure data are used as two case studies to illustrate how the generalized dimensionless health indicator works and demonstrate its effectiveness in bearing performance degradation assessment. Results show that squared envelope follows a noncentral chi-square distribution and the upper and lower bounds of the generalized dimensionless health indicator can be mathematically established. Moreover, the generalized dimensionless health indicator is sensitive to an incipient bearing defect in the process of bearing performance degradation.

Research Area(s)

  • Generalized dimensionless health indicator, Noncentral chi-square distribution, Performance degradation assessment, Squared envelope analysis, Upper and lower bounds