New technique can find machinery gremlins 100 times faster

Oct 28, 2013
3D plot of raw data

Cost and time savings will be made with the development of a new algorithm that is more robust and efficient at detecting faults in industrial machines.

Academics from the Lincoln School of Engineering have devised a streamlined new process which can detect faults in industrial machines.

Dr Jun Chen, Michael Gallimore, Professor Chris Bingham and Dr Yu Zhang, from the University of Lincoln (UK), together with Professor Mahdi Mahfouf, from the University of Sheffield, have developed an that is more robust and efficient at identifying specific faults in automated mechanical processes.

With this improved detection and classification of faults, the time and money wasted on investigating false alarms will be reduced and a machine will be operational for longer periods.

The method combines two existing mathematical models for fault detection; a real-coded Genetic Algorithm (GA) and a K-means clustering methodology.

In a GA, a number of possible solutions to a given problem are changed and developed toward better solutions. Each set of possible solutions has a set of properties which can be mutated or altered. A GA proceeds to improve each set of solutions by repeating the application in each new generation of possible solutions until the optimum answer is found.

K-means clustering is a method of analysing a group of set objects with the aim of classifying the objects that are more similar to each other into clusters. Each observation then belongs to the cluster with the nearest central value.

The team at Lincoln discovered that the combination of these two processes into the G3Kmeans algorithm is more effective in quickly obtaining an optimum solution, requiring only 11 repetitions to detect a certain fault, whereas previous intuitive GA-based clustering methods go through more than 1,000.

Dr Chen said: "Data from industrial machines often involves a very complex search space. So, if you use conventional clustering algorithms you end up with misclassification. For example, non-faults are flagged as faults and vice versa. With the G3Kmeans algorithm you can reach a reliable classification – that is the first step towards optimal maintenance.

"With the previous intuitive GA-based clustering methods, every iteration of the process will search for the optimum solution once. You run the algorithm many times and every time the algorithm is modified based on the solution found from the last one, gradually improving the solution to the problem each time. This is not very effective due to the use of intuitive mutation operator. In terms of industrial machines this is the first step in creating an algorithm that optimises the search for a solution and can identify a fault with certainty. This method will reduce maintenance costs by reducing the amount of false alarms requiring investigation."

Professor Mahdi Mahfouf, Head of the Intelligent Systems Research Laboratory at the University of Sheffield, added: "Nature-inspired algorithms have always had the advantage of dealing effectively with uncertain environments. Parts of these algorithms have already been applied in the metal industry for the production of steel and aluminium. This latest application is a testimony that processes that learn from human expertise or simply from nature are the way forward in solving real-world problems."

The team will now look to optimise this strategy by making the algorithm more wide-ranging to enable its use to detect solutions for a variety of specific applications.

Dr Chen is also collaborating with the Universidad Castilla-La Mancha, Spain, to apply this research to the operation of wind turbines.

The research is detailed in the publication Fault Detection: Classification, Techniques and Role in Industrial Systems Eds. Peter W. Tse and C. Leung, Nova Science Publishers, Inc.

Explore further: Real-time energy audit reduces power consumption

More information: Fault Detection: Classification, Techniques and Role in Industrial Systems Eds. Peter W. Tse and C. Leung, Nova Science Publishers, Inc. ISBN: 978-1-62808-999-8

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Real-time energy audit reduces power consumption

Oct 23, 2013

Governments are pressuring industries to reduce energy consumption for both environmental and economic reasons. Optimizing factory processes and improving equipment can lower energy usage but this not only ...

Evolutionary lessons for wind farm efficiency

May 04, 2011

Evolution is providing the inspiration for University of Adelaide computer science research to find the best placement of turbines to increase wind farm productivity.

Quantum algorithm breakthrough

Feb 24, 2013

An international research group led by scientists from the University of Bristol, UK, and the University of Queensland, Australia, has demonstrated a quantum algorithm that performs a true calculation for the first time. ...

Recommended for you

Simplicity is key to co-operative robots

5 hours ago

A way of making hundreds—or even thousands—of tiny robots cluster to carry out tasks without using any memory or processing power has been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield, UK.

Freight train industry to miss safety deadline

6 hours ago

The U.S. freight railroad industry says only one-fifth of its track will be equipped with mandatory safety technology to prevent most collisions and derailments by the deadline set by Congress.

IBM posts lower 1Q earnings amid hardware slump

7 hours ago

IBM's first-quarter earnings fell and revenue came in below Wall Street's expectations amid an ongoing decline in its hardware business, one that was exasperated by weaker demand in China and emerging markets.

Microsoft CEO is driving data-culture mindset

8 hours ago

(Phys.org) —Microsoft's future strategy: is all about leveraging data, from different sources, coming together using one cohesive Microsoft architecture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday, both in ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Microsoft CEO is driving data-culture mindset

(Phys.org) —Microsoft's future strategy: is all about leveraging data, from different sources, coming together using one cohesive Microsoft architecture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Tuesday, both in ...

Floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects—specifically, ...

Patent talk: Google sharpens contact lens vision

(Phys.org) —A report from Patent Bolt brings us one step closer to what Google may have in mind in developing smart contact lenses. According to the discussion Google is interested in the concept of contact ...

Quantenna promises 10-gigabit Wi-Fi by next year

(Phys.org) —Quantenna Communications has announced that it has plans for releasing a chipset that will be capable of delivering 10Gbps WiFi to/from routers, bridges and computers by sometime next year. ...