Sound software for fault detection in machinery

October 8, 2018, CORDIS
Sound software for fault detection in machinery
Credit: michaeljung, Shutterstock

Experienced operators claim they can tell if their machine is functioning properly merely by listening to the sounds it makes. EU-funded researchers have gone one better by developing technology based on the human auditory system that can, through sound analysis, 'hear' if industrial machinery is due for maintenance.

Eliminating the risk of downtime and reducing maintenance costs are very important for industry as these factors affect productivity and quality while decreasing profits. Industry, therefore, has major incentives to find a solution that is easy to implement and simple to use.

Using analysis, the EU-funded Horizon2020 neuronSW project developed an innovative ground-breaking approach for predicting mechanical malfunction in industrial machinery. Researchers combined advanced algorithms, machine learning and Big Data analysis to imitate the human auditory cortex and enable the early detection and prediction of mechanical breakdown. "The technology leverages , the cloud and the Internet of Things (IoT) to deliver a detection service which emulates human intuition about sound," says Jiří Čermák, technical manager of project partner SME NeuronSW Ltd.

Ear for problems

Via Neuron soundware technology (neuronSW), manufacturers can conduct intelligent audio diagnostics and monitor key items of machinery by the sounds they produce. "The integrated hardware and software platform automatically gather the sound of machines in real time and continuously assesses the equipment's health. It works in a similar way to experienced operators who use their ears to diagnose broken machines," explains Čermák.

The system works both offline and online and can be integrated into existing software or third-party IoT platforms. "This effectively transforms data into knowledge and actions," claims Čermák. "Sound and vibration sensors (microphones) can be quickly and cheaply installed on all types of machinery, enabling assets without digital interface or operated by legacy systems to be digitalised without expensive upgrades."

Excitingly, there are almost no limits to the application of the audio diagnostic technology, which can be used for anything that has a moving part and produces sound. "However, it makes most sense to first focus on critical pieces of machinery, expensive assets, quality control, and on assets in remote areas with difficult access," Čermák points out. He continues: "Different industries cooperated with NeuronSW to create solutions for heavy machinery, including cogeneration engines, automotive fuel pumps, wind turbines, escalators, AC systems, PC assembly, of electric motors, and predictive maintenance of packaging machines."

A bright future

According to Michal Bambušek, NeuronSW Ltd's Sales Manager, the project also focused on sales and marketing plans. "We trained sales staff and identified key markets and go-to-market strategies for the neuronSW technology and conducted case studies to develop and adapt it to different fields," he says. "We made some new important business contacts that helped us discover some new areas and uses for our technology, which helped to enhance it and allowed us to progress."

Both machines and people will benefit from the technology developed through the initiative. "There is no doubt that asset maintenance is one of the core areas of exploration in many industries worldwide," adds Čermák. "We believe that in the future predictive sound maintenance will become a standard feature of most with moving parts, helping manufacturers and operators alike. As for future research, we are doing everything we can to learn from case studies and upgrade our and research," he concludes.

Explore further: Deep learning sound applications could help spot industrial trouble spots

Related Stories

Self-learning assistance system for efficient processes

June 1, 2018

To prevent long downtimes and high quantities of scrap, manufacturers must design production processes to be stable and efficient. Particularly successful outcomes are achieved when the experience of the people who operate ...

New sensor system ensures a safe harvest

October 27, 2017

Tractors and combine harvesters are frequently operated on difficult terrain. Crops such as canola and corn grow at different densities; the field is sometimes muddy and is rocky at other times; and plants often obscure the ...

Speech recognition technology for air traffic controllers

September 25, 2018

The popularity of air transport continues to grow, placing an even greater workload on air traffic controllers (ATCOs). Their predicament can be improved through an automatic speech recognition system closely integrated with ...

Recommended for you

3 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

knowphiself
not rated yet Oct 08, 2018
i read once that as a general but casual rule of thumb , the nature of a technology can be determined by the type of sound it creates , think > a tree versus a petrol engine for example and it's eco-footprint .... strangely for a while i was driven slightly bonkers by the cooing of pigeons ... and i must say helicopters are nasty things sound wise ....
knowphiself
not rated yet Oct 08, 2018
a lot of "fun" can be has using a ultra-sonic or bat detector to listen to various electric devices , most digital circuits emit an ultrasonic footprint because of the chip frequency cycle but weirder still is flourescent bulbs they make a tremendous array of sounds .... i've had the hypotheses that the noise of a trees leaves in the wind , individual to each species and each specimen may constitute part of its as yet unproven consciousness ... maybe even our consciousness may be noise related ie the hum of blood in the body / brain ? :) like an irrational number in math it could be the backdrop onto which our internal voice is manifested ? x:)
henry87
not rated yet Oct 10, 2018
hello, I am working with some real-time sensors and need to know that, Are these kind of software will be helpful to test third party wireless sensors like - Wireless Frequency sensor also ?

Which will share the noise analysis through internet friendly solution ?
Your advice on this will be helpful

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.