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Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing 25 (2011) 431451

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Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jnlabr/ymssp

A novel method for the optimal band selection for vibration signal
demodulation and comparison with the Kurtogram
Tomasz Barszcz , Adam Jab"onski
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics, AGH University of Science and Technology, Al. Mickiewicza 30, 30-059 Krakow, Poland

a r t i c l e in fo

abstract

Article history:
Received 29 June 2009
Received in revised form
25 May 2010
Accepted 27 May 2010
Available online 2 June 2010

The narrowband amplitude demodulation of a vibration signal enables the extraction of


components carrying information about rotating machine faults. However, the quality
of the demodulated signal depends on the frequency band selected for the demodulation. The spectral kurtosis (SK) was proved to be a very efcient method for detection of
such faults, including defective rolling element bearings and gears [1]. Although there
are conditions, under which SK yields valid results, there are also cases, when it fails, e.g.
in the presence of a relatively strong, non-Gaussian noise containing high peaks or for a
relatively high repetition rate of fault impulses.
In this paper, a novel method for selection of the optimal frequency band, which
attempts to overcome the aforementioned drawbacks, is presented. Subsequently, a new
tool for presentation of results of the method, called the Protrugram, is proposed. The
method is based on the kurtosis of the envelope spectrum amplitudes of the demodulated
signal, rather than on the kurtosis of the ltered time signal. The advantage of the method
is the ability to detect transients with smaller signal-to-noise ratio comparing to the SKbased Fast Kurtogram. The application of the proposed method is validated on simulated
and real data, including a test rig, a simulated signal, and a jet engine vibration signal.
& 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Keywords:
Rolling bearing diagnostics
Spectral kurtosis
Narrowband amplitude demodulation

1. Introduction
Many faults of rotating machinery parts, including rolling element bearings (REB) and gear defects excite frequency
resonances [2]. When machine fault occurs, these resonances are excited at a specic rate, in the case of REB called
bearing characteristic frequencies. Consequently, diagnostics of REB by means of envelope analysis1 amounts to
detection of bearings characteristic frequencies.
In the process of diagnosis, kurtosis is one of most important means of obtaining signatures for machinery faults [2], as
it detects fault-induced peaks (or transients) in vibration signals. Generally, the signal components containing information
about a bearing fault are of relatively low amplitudes, and it was best to apply kurtosis to the band where the dB spectral
change was greatest, but this required historical data. Next, the method of spectral kurtosis (SK) was proposed. This
method is very successful in the detection of rolling bearing faults and tooth cracks in gears. The rst ideas of application of
the spectral kurtosis were given by Dwyer [3,4]. In general, the SK is a method for detection of a series of impulses in a
signal. The method can yield a band in which the signal should be demodulated in order to extract the peaky component.

 Corresponding author.

E-mail addresses: tbarszcz@agh.edu.pl, tbarszcz@energocontrol.pl (T. Barszcz).


In diagnostics, the term envelope analysis is used interchangeably with the term high frequency resonance techniques, since they both refer to
the frequency analysis of the amplitude demodulated signal.
1

0888-3270/$ - see front matter & 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.ymssp.2010.05.018

432

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The deeper history of the method and the theoretical formulation of the SK and estimation methods were given by
Antoni in [5]. The basis of the approach was interpretation of a vibration signal as a conditionally nonstationary process
and its decomposition based on the WoldCramer theorem. Another important contribution was the formal proposal of an
STFT based SK estimator. In the following paper Antoni and Randall [5,1] showed the practical ability of SK in detection and
identication of faults, even in the presence of high level noise.
The proposed STFT estimator was valid under conditions of local stationarity and the relatively short correlation length
of the signal in comparison with the STFT window. The estimator has the form [5]:


fs g4w
1
KY f
KX 3 2
1
fd NW
1 rf 2
where KY(f) is the SK estimator, fs the sampling rate, fd the repetition rate of sought impulses, KX the intensity of
uctuations in impulse amplitudes, NW the STFT window length, g4w the timebandwidth product of the square of the
analysis window and r(f) the signal-to-noise ratio of the signal.
The assumptions about conditions will be discussed later in the paper. It is important to note that the estimator
depends on signal parameters such as uctuations in impulse amplitudes (which very often exist in measured signals).
To nd the optimal band, Antoni and Randall proposed the method of the Kurtogram, which presents SK values in a
visual form on a 2D plane as a function of the central frequency and the bandwidth of the ltered signal. The Kurtogram
helps in a quick determination of optimal lter parameters for signal demodulation, without a priori knowledge about the
object. In a following next paper [6], Antoni proposed another toolthe Fast Kurtogram, which investigated only a few
selected bandwidths to obtain the Kurtogram and reduced the required CPU load.
The SK was then applied by other researchers. Combet and Gelman [7] applied the method for the detection of local
faults in gears. Their approach combined time synchronous averaging (TSA) for extraction of dominating meshing
components and analysis of the residual components. The analysis would be the demodulation of the resonancethe idea
similar to that given by Wang [8], but based on the SK as the optimal lter. In another paper, Barszcz and Randall [9]
showed that there are cases of gear faults, when the TSA will not give results, due to excessive frequency span between the
impulse repetition rate and the resonance frequency. In that case SK gave good results, detecting the fault several weeks
before other compared methods. SK is currently an established method for rolling bearing fault detection, as for example
presented by Sawalhi and Randall in [10] for both simulated and measured signals.
There are several other researchers, who refer to the SK method. One example can be the work of Bozchalooi and Liang
[11], where they propose a more complex algorithm for REB fault detection, based on the wavelet transformation of the
spectral residual of a vibration signal. They point to a drawback of the SK, which is the dependence of the estimator on
several parameters, like, e.g. the rotational speed. Such a dependence can be easily deduced from formula (1). They
proposed another measure, based on the smoothness index, which is less vulnerable.
In this paper, a novel method is proposed for determining the optimum band for the signal demodulation. Unlike SK, the
method is not blind, as it requires certain knowledge about the sought fault. On the other hand, it is more sensitive to fault
induced components in the vibration signal.
The paper is organized as follows: Section 2 points out the problem of the optimal band selection for the amplitude
demodulation. The inuence of bandwidth selection, as well as of the center frequency selection is demonstrated. Section 3
reviews kurtosis-based techniques applied in diagnostics of rotating machinery, with the emphasis on the Fast Kurtogram.
Next, the limitations of these methods which authors have experienced in their research are listed, and a novel method for
the optimal band selection is presented. Section 4 illustrates the performance of the novel method on both real and
simulated data. In each case, the results are compared with the Fast Kurtogram-indicated band.
Throughout the paper, the authors take advantage of the narrowband amplitude demodulation technique with the use of
the Hilbert transform and analytic signals. The scheme of the method is described by Ho and Randall [12], whereas a thorough
mathematical background is given by Jab"onski in [13]. Note that the method preserves the spectrum resolution regardless of
the selected bandwidth. Furthermore, all baseband spectra throughout the text were calculated with maximum resolution.
2. The frequency band selection problem
2.1. Overview
Generally, natural frequencies of rolling element bearings are assumed to be most likely found somewhere in the range
from 5 to 20 kHz, depending mainly on the structure of the casing [14]. Although the data processing algorithms in large
commercial diagnostic systems are often constrained to demodulate vibration signals in a single multi-kHz band, including
such an interval for the envelope analysis makes the technique ineffective, because it introduces a number of other
frequency components, masking the faulty-bearing-induced signal. The frequency band selection problem is understood as
the selection of optimal center frequency and bandwidth dyad.2 The practical concern in bearing diagnostics is that any of
2
A thorough theoretical explanation of the problem in terms of the spectral kurtosis is given in [6]. However, as it will be illustrated, the paper
presents a different application of kurtosis in spectral analysis.

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433

these two parameters is hardly ever known a priori. Furthermore, in many cases the sought impulses are masked by a
strong noise or other signal components excited during normal operation.
In many band-selecting algorithms, e.g. in the Kurtogram, the emphasis is rst put on the selection of the center frequency,
and consecutively an optimal bandwidth is selected to maximize the kurtosis by balancing the length of impulse response
against the amount of masking signal transmitted. In this approach, it is actually best to have the band as wide as possible,
without introducing extraneous signals, so as to make the impulse responses as short as possible, and increase the kurtosis.
In the paper, the authors present a novel technique for the optimal band selection, which takes advantage of the
mechanical parameters of elements being diagnosed. In the algorithm, the bandwidth is set as a rst parameter, and then
the optimal center is chosen. The bandwidth is calculated proportionally to the sought center frequency. It is chosen short
enough to avoid extraneous signals, yet long enough to assure that damping is higher than the rate of decay of the impulse
responses. Although the bandwidth may be further optimized by other techniques (e.g. genetic algorithms), the potential
benet is always accompanied with extra computational burden, and was not investigated in the paper. Ultimately, the
presented technique allows detection of such frequency band, for which the envelope spectrum containing the sought
characteristic frequency has the highest signal-to-noise ratio.
As an example of the frequency band selection problem, a real vibration signal containing a rolling element bearing
outer race defect-induced component is examined. For demonstration purposes, a relatively clear test rig signal recorded in
the AGH University of Science and Technology was used. Fig. 1 presents the test rig and the REB outer race defect.
The rolling element bearing characteristics are presented in Table 1.
2.2. Selection of the optimal bandwidth
The bandwidth can be selected from as low as few spectral lines (in the case of a discrete spectrum) up to the entire
baseband (in the latter case, the center frequency would have to be selected in the center of the frequency range). Selecting
the optimal bandwidth is a compromise between a number of aspects, three of which are discussed below.
The rst aspect suggesting narrowing of the bandwidth is related to the clearest demodulated signal possible, i.e. the
signal which includes only the sought components. Theoretically, if such a frequency band is selected, which includes only
a single carrier frequency modulated by a REB characteristic frequency, the resultant output would be a single, faultinduced characteristic frequency of an unequivocal diagnostic interpretation. However, this is not possible in practical
diagnosis, because:

 REB faults induce impulses in the time signal, energy of which becomes distributed over a wide range of frequencies
after transforming into the frequency domain, subsequently ltered by all the resonances;

Fig. 1. Test rig and the visible REB outer race defect (cage purposely slightly rotated).

Table 1
Studied rolling element bearing characteristics.
Parameter

Value

Number of rolling elements


Shaft rotation speed
Ball diameter
Pitch circle diameter
Load angle
Sampling frequency
BPFO
BPFOx2
BPFOx3

14
25.00 Hz
7.49 mm
45.4 mm
01
24 kHz
144.4 Hz
288.8 Hz
433.2 Hz

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 generally, for algorithms selecting optimal center frequency for a given bandwidth, selection of smaller bandwidth
dramatically increases time consumption, since it requires extra iterations.
The second aspect suggesting widening of the bandwidth is referred to the largest amount of data to be processed:

 a relatively wide bandwidth assures a high percentage of the defect-induced signal energy to be included in the
envelope analysis, but larger noise will be included as well;

 in case of machine trains with diverse REBs, a wide bandwidth allows a larger quantity of bearings to be diagnosed
simultaneously, which in many industrial applications is of utmost importance.
The third aspect is referred directly to the diagnostic requirements for REB regardless of the spectral technique used (e.g.
linear spectrum, order spectrum or envelope spectrum). As stated in [12], and endorsed by the authors own experience as
well: In bearing diagnostics, it is often desirable to be able to detect up to the third harmonic of the bearing defect
frequency in the envelope spectrum. However, this is not always possible as the higher harmonics may have decreased in
amplitude to such a stage that they are below the background noise.
Following selection method of the optimal bandwidth for the envelope analysis, proposed by authors, will take all the
three aforementioned aspects into account. In order to support the idea, Fig. 3 illustrates the inuence of the width of the
selected band on the resultant envelope spectra used for REB diagnosis. The optimal center frequency (found empirically a
priori) is xed, and equal to 4 kHz, while the bandwidth varies from 200 Hz to 4 kHz (bandwidths outside these limits do
not bring any extra information). All gures are generated from a 10 s signal with a maximum resolution (0.1 Hz).
In Fig. 2a (BW=200 Hz), only the rst harmonic of the BPFO is visible, plus a signicant noise. In Fig. 2b (BW=400 Hz),
two harmonics of BPFOs are clearly visible, with reduced noise level. In Fig. 2c (BW= 500 Hz), three rst harmonics of BPFO
are visible. The next case, Fig. 2d (BW=1000 Hz) enables distinguishing up to rst ve harmonics of the BPFO. For
BW =3000 Hz (Fig. 2e), though the spectrum displays up to eleven harmonics of the BPFO above the noise level, it is
considered by the authors to be less clear than Fig. 2c, since it requires additional zooming for accurate interpretation and
does not contain additional information about the fault. In the last case, Fig. 2f (BW=4000 Hz), though the amplitude scale
remained the same, the spectrum brings no diagnostic information, due to masking components and a high noise energy.
From the plots above, following statements can be made:

 Selecting a bandwidth less than the fundamental sought frequency is pointless, since it could not be located on the
frequency axis.

 For a modulated signal, a certain bandwidth threshold exists, above which the resultant spectrum is useless in terms of


REB diagnosis, because: (i) characteristic frequencies become too close to each other for a human eye to identify and (ii)
the ltering process lets in too many superuous components.
Selecting a bandwidth, which includes from 1 to 5 harmonic lines of the characteristic frequency is legible and
signicant for diagnosis.

Thus, for the narrowband envelope analysis, the authors propose to select a bandwidth, which includes the 3rd harmonic
of the characteristic frequency. For instance, if (for a given rotational speed) the BPFO equals 144.4 Hz, it seems rational to
select bandwidth 43,U144.4 Hz, e.g. equal to 500 Hz.
From the above statement another conclusion of utmost importance in terms of practical application of diagnostic
techniques can be made.
For machine trains with high gear transmission rates (e.g. wind turbines), a simultaneous use (i.e. with the same center
frequency and the same bandwidth) of the narrowband envelope analysis for diagnostics of all rolling element bearings in
the machine train is inefcient (or even impossible). Since the exact bearing information is usually provided by a
manufacturer, authors suggest performing separate narrowband envelope analysis for bearings with relatively diverse
characteristic frequencies.
The current section dealt with the problem of selecting the best bandwidth for the narrowband envelope spectral
analysis. The next section deals with the second band parameter for the narrowband envelope analysisthe optimal
center frequency.
2.3. Selection of the optimal center frequency
If no other technique is available for the selection of the center frequency, the experimental (i.e. trial-and-error) method
may be the only option. Fig. 3 illustrates the inuence of the center frequency selection on the narrowband envelope
spectrum, for the same test rig data used in the previous section. As proposed by authors, the bandwidth is held constant
500 Hz (for the studied bearing, the bandwidth of 500 Hz ensures covering the rst three harmonic lines of the
characteristic BPFO), while the center frequency varies from 2 kHz in Fig. 3a up to 5 kHz in Fig. 3f (as the frequencies below
2 kHz and above 5 kHz were previously found by authors to be insignicant and are omitted for text conciseness).

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T. Barszcz, A. Jab!on

-3

BW = 200 Hz

x 10

x 10

-3

BW = 400 Hz

Amplitude [g]

BPFO

BPFO

50

100

-3

Amplitude [g]

150

200

300

400

BPFO
BPFOx2

BPFOx2

BPFOx3
BPFOx4
BPFOx5

2
BPFOx3

0
0

1.5

200
BW = 1000 Hz

x 10

BPFO

100
-3

BW = 500 Hz

x 10

Amplitude [g]

BPFOx2

435

x 10

200
-3

400

600

BW = 3000 Hz
1.5
BPFO
...
BPFOx11

1
0.5

0
x 10

500
-3

1000

BW = 4000 Hz

1
0.5

0
0

1000
2000
Frequency [Hz]

3000

1000
2000
3000
Frequency [Hz]

4000

Fig. 2. From (a)(f): inuence of the BW selection for the optimal center frequency. N.B.: In practice, it is normal to display the range containing the rst
35 harmonics, regardless of the bandwidth taken for calculations. The resolution of all spectra is equal to 0.1 Hz.

Clearly, the rst three harmonics of the BPFO are best visible on the resultant envelope spectrum for the center
frequency equal to 4 kHz (Fig. 3d). For center frequencies 2 and 5 kHz, the amplitudes of the BPFO harmonics are close to
the noise level. As the center frequency approaches 4 kHz, rst three harmonics of the BPFO protrude more above the noise
level. Further experimental investigation of the optimal center frequency around 4 kHz (not shown in the gure) brought
only a minor enhancement of the nal narrowband envelope spectrum.
Since the narrowband envelope spectrum for parameters BW= 500 Hz, and CF = 4 kHz very clearly displays the rst three
harmonics of the sought BPFO, these parameters can be considered close to optimal for the method.
It is worth mentioning that (even for a test rig vibration signal) shifting the center frequency about 1 kHz from the
resonant frequency may disqualify the narrowband envelope spectrum in terms of diagnostic signicance. Moreover,
shifting even by 500 Hz may cause a signicant degradation of the narrowband envelope spectrum in terms of BPFOs
display3.
In the studied example, the empirical method was able to correctly select optimal parameters for the narrowband
envelope analysis. However, it is by no means a practical and efcient tool under the majority of industrial circumstances.
Firstly, to a degree it is based on luck. Secondly, it requires a code modication, which makes it often unfeasible to use onsite (or for a user without advanced programming knowledge). Finally, for a complex diagnostic and monitoring system
with a large number of vibration channels, it is burdened with unaffordable time consumption. Thus, practical utilization
of amplitude demodulation techniques for REB diagnostics, including the presented narrowband envelope analysis with
the use of the Hilbert transform, calls for an automatic selection of the optimal band.

For a jet engine vibration signal (presented in Section 4.3), shifting CF by as little as 100 Hz prevented detection of the BPFO signal component.

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CF = 2000
Amplitude [g]

0.04

0.02

BPFO

BPFOx2

BPFOx2

0
0

Amplitude [g]

CF = 3000
BPFO

0
200

x 10 -3

400

600

CF = 3500
6

BPFO

200

x 10 -3

400

600

CF = 4000
BPFO

BPFOx2

BPFOx2

2
BPFOx3

BPFOx3

0
0

3
Amplitude [g]

x 10 -3

200

x 10 -3

400

600

CF = 4500
4

x 10 -4

200

400

600

CF = 5000

BPFO

BPFOx1

BPFOx2

BPFOx3

0
0

200
400
Frequency [Hz]

600

200
400
Frequency [Hz]

600

Fig. 3. Inuence of the center frequency selection for a constant bandwidth (500 Hz), from (a) CF= 2000 Hz to (f) CF = 5000 Hz.

The next chapter starts with a review of the techniques employing kurtosis-based estimators, of which the Fast Kurtogram
proposed by Antoni in [6] deserves special attention. Nonetheless, the authors own research has shown that these methods are
characterized by certain limitations in the optimal band selection. A study of the kurtosis estimator in the process of amplitude
demodulation had led authors to certain observations resulting in the proposal of a novel method for the optimal band selection.
3. Proposal of a novel method for band selection and comparison with the Kurtogram
3.1. Spectral kurtosisFDK and SK
Among other statistical moments, kurtosis has proven itself to be useful in detection of nonstationary components in
signals. This observation was applied in the eld of rotating machinery diagnostics, in order to detect transient impulsive
components generated, for instance, by faulty rolling element bearings or gears. Such transients are excited rapidly by
impact forces and terminated by a machine assemblys damping. These forces excite resonant responses, the amplitudes of
which are modulated by the impacts repetition rate, creating components periodically present in the signal.
When a digital Fourier transform (DFT) of a signal is calculated, the low harmonics of this frequency are too small to be
measured, and the higher harmonics are smeared because of random variation in the periodicity. However, as Dwyer
illustrates in [3], it can be recovered by calculating the kurtosis of its spectral amplitudes4 from a number of signals
consecutive realizations, according to formula (2):

 PM
4
1=M
i 1 Xf
2
FDKf h
i2
 PM
2
1=M
i 1 Xf
where M is the number of time segments, X(f) the spectral value of the real part at frequency f.
4

In [16], Otonello and Pangan proposed to compute the FDK of magnitudes of the DFT for each frequency rather than of real and imaginary parts.

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The idea of the FDK calculation is illustrated in Fig. 4a. Proposing the frequency domain kurtosis (FDK) estimator, Dwyer
claims that for signal components with non-Gaussian amplitude distributions (i.e. components, amplitudes of which vary
over time), the kurtosis value will be distinctly bigger than for components with Gaussian probability distribution (i.e.
components, whose amplitude variations are perceived as an innate feature of real processes). Nevertheless, as presented
in Fig. 4a, this FDK estimator requires a DFT calculations for an arbitrary number of time data segments. Consequently,
signicant values of the FDK estimator proposed by Dwyer rely on the selection of a proper time segments length and
position, which unfortunately is unknown a priori.
A genuine milestone in the development of kurtosis-based estimators was taken by Antoni in [5], where he proposed a
formalized denition of spectral kurtosis (SK) and its STFT-based estimator. The goal of SK is the automatic detection of
frequency bands containing nonstationary signal components. Differing from Dwyers approach, in which he calculated
kurtosis of a number of realizations of particular frequencys amplitude, Antoni calculates kurtosis of the complex envelope
of ltered time signals. The idea is illustrated in Fig. 4b. Practical considerations of his method, had led Antoni to the
concept of the Fast Kurtogram, as a tool using a lter bank approach [6]. Compared with the original Kurtogram, it requires
less CPU time, but gives approximate results.
The Fast Kurtogram is a colormap of kurtosis values calculated for an array of frequency bands covering the entire baseband
in a predened manner. It is conveniently presented on a plane, where the horizontal axis represents frequency, the vertical
axis represents the number of intervals into which the frequency baseband is divided, and the third dimension the color scale

Fig. 4. Comparison of algorithms: (a) FDK, (b) SK-Fast Kurtogram and (c) the proposed method of the Protrugram. (Note that in the Kurtograms
algorithm, though the complex envelope presumably means amplitude and phase, the phase is not used for the kurtosis calculations, only the
amplitude. In fact, it is convenient to use the power spectrum values (amplitude squared or sum of squares of real and imaginary values) directly, as this
represents the second moment, and only has to be squared to give the fourth moment. The amplitude would normally be calculated by taking the square
root of the squared amplitude.)

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represents the kurtosis value of the envelope signal for each frequency bandwidth at each center frequency. Eventually, the
identication of the optimal band is treated as a prerequisite for a narrowband amplitude demodulation [1].
Though the Fast Kurtogram is generally procient in localizing hidden nonstationarities, the authors have experienced
that it does not cope well with signals of composite, frequently of randomly-impulsive nature, where the sought transient
signal is relatively low. Such signals are characteristic, for instance, for faulty REB in complex machine trains (e.g. jet
engines) and highly environmentally affected signals (e.g. printing aggregates, etc.) In these cases, the Kurtogram is
burdened with certain drawbacks. The issue of the Kurtograms vulnerability to random extraneous signals is illustrated in
details in another authors publication [15]; however, the main point is recovered in the paper to give a complete picture.
The selected examples aim to present Kurtograms limitations, which may be overcome by the presented novel method.
Firstly, it tends to show a number of ambiguous pseudo-optimal frequency bands for demodulation, which inevitably result
in confusing the user. Moreover, it is prone to point a band with high kurtosis as optimal, but possibly being incorrect. This is so
because the Kurtogram calculates each kurtosis value from a time signal generated from a band-pass ltered signal, and shows
relatively high values for time signals containing impulses of any kind, without source identication.
Secondly, according to Antoni, the SK of the process x(n), with an additive noise b(n) is highly sensitive to the noise level [6]:
Kx f
Kx b f 
2
1 rf

where r(f) is the noise-to-signal ratio as the function of frequency.


On one hand, SK is able to detect a fault, even when the overall r ratio is high. It is only required that a certain band is
present, in which r(f) is low enough. On the other hand, formula (3) states that SK decreases rapidly with the noise growth.
As an attempt to overcome aforementioned concerns, the authors are proposing a novel method for the optimal band
selection for the amplitude demodulation, taking advantage of kurtosis values of the narrowband envelope spectral
amplitudes. The latter approach eventually enables identication of modulating signals with much lower SNR, and also
provides a potential for differentiation between high kurtosis values caused by modulating signals and high kurtosis values
caused by other spectral components.
3.2. Proposal of a novel method for the optimal band selection
As mentioned before, the Kurtogram is based on kurtosis values calculated from envelopes of modied time signals. On
the other hand, the proposed method takes advantage of kurtosis values calculated in the frequency domaindirectly from
the amplitudes of the spectrum of the narrowband envelopes of a signal, as illustrated in Fig. 4c. Following discussion
reveals the benets of the latter solution.
In statistics, the kurtosis is dened in words as the peakedness or atness of the graph of a frequency distribution [17].
For a sample of N values, it is calculated as a biased estimator from the sample fourth and second moments, whereas for a
population, it is computed as an unbiased estimator using cumulants. Although the engagement of the signal processing
theory puts additional constrains on the kurtosis denition, the authors deliberately use the most basic kurtosis
description (i.e. fourth standardized moments) in order to keep the clarity of the presented algorithm, and not to
overwhelm the paper with extra equations.
Since the algorithm compares kurtosis-based outputs relatively, the author suggests to use the following denition:
K

mk
,
sk

where mk is the fourth moment about the mean value of the number sequence, while sk is the standard deviation raised to
the fourth power, which measures the protrusion (or the peakedness) of a signal. For a vector X= {X1,...,XN}, the kurtosis
K(X) can be calculated as5

i4

 PN h
 PN

 PN

 PN
4
4
1=N
1=N
i 1 Xi 
i 1 Xi
1=N
1=N
m4
i 1 Xi X
i 1 Xi X
KX 4 q4 
5
2
 PN

i2
2
s

 PN

 PN h
 PN
2
1=N
Xi X2
i

1
1=N
X
X
1=N
X

1=N
X
i
i
i
i1
i1
i1
Considering Fig. 5, kurtosis as a measure of the protrusion of a signal:

 shows the highest value if all but one numbers in the sequence are the same (Fig. 5b)
 for a given number of components sticking out from the sequence, it reaches a maximum value when the dispersion
of the amplitudes is largest (Fig. 5e and f).
Note that these number patterns may actually correspond to possible shapes of narrowband envelope spectra
illustrating the presence of a modulating signal. For instance, in the presence of a REB outer race fault, it is a natural
5
Alternatively, a constant value of 3 may be subtracted from the resultant value; however, as long as consistency in calculations is preserved, in case
of comparative estimators of vibration signals, this subtraction is irrelevant.

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T. Barszcz, A. Jab!on

Amplitude

Kurtosis=NaN

Kurtosis=498

10

10

0
0

100

200

300

400

500

100

Amplitude

Kurtosis=248
10

0
100

200

300

400

500

100

Amplitude

Kurtosis=164
10

0
100

200
300
Sample index

300

400

500

200

300

400

500

400

500

Kurtosis=230

10

200

Kurtosis=277

10

439

400

500

100

200
300
Sample index

Amplitude [g]

Fig. 5. Kurtosis values for patterns of numbers generalizing a few possible shapes of envelope spectra.

-1

-1

-2

-2
0

5
Time [s]

10

5.1

5.15
Time [s]

5.2

Fig. 6. (a) Time view of the test rig signal and (b) time view of the test rig signalzoom.

behavior of harmonic lines of characteristic frequencies (e.g. 1x, 2x and 3x BPFO) to have descending amplitudes, which
corresponds to Fig. 6f. For a spectrum of the envelope containing three clear consecutive harmonics of a characteristic
frequency, this is the case when kurtosis shows highest value.
Though the authors do have experience with inner race faults as well as rolling element faults, these examples have
been omitted due to the text conciseness. Obviously, the appearance of sidebands decreases the kurtosis comparing to pure
harmonics, but the presented estimator puts more strength to the overall signal-to-noise ratio, and it will still point out an
optimal band, where harmonics plus sidebands are clearest visible, which does not have to correspond to highest
amplitude values. The authors believe a single-line examples (e.g. outer race harmonics) better demonstrate the main
idea of the protrugram. Thus, kurtosis calculated from amplitudes of a number of narrowband envelope spectra may
indicate which spectrum contains detectable spectral components. Consequently, the corresponding center frequency
indicates the resonant frequency.
Indeed, the abovementioned observation is the key idea of the proposed method, which displays kurtosis value of a
number of calculated narrowband envelope spectra as a function of the center frequency (see Fig. 4c). For each subsequent
envelope spectrum, the center frequency CF is shifted by a predened step (away from 0 frequency), while the bandwidth
BW is held constant. According to statement made in Section 2.2, the bandwidth is chosen slightly more than three times

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the sought characteristic frequency. In this way, a pair of necessary input parameters to the narrowband envelope analysis
may be obtained.
The narrowband envelope analysis requires two input parameters, the bandwidth and the center frequency. In contrary
to the Kurtogram, which considers a variety of different bandwidths and center frequencies, the novel method was
developed from an idea of setting the bandwidth to a xed value, and search for the optimal center frequency. Since the
goal of the method is eventually the same as of the Kurtogram, and the method is based on kurtosis values as a measure of
the protrusion of the signal, authors propose to name it the Protrugram.
Due to the algorithm construction, for relatively strong modulating signals, the new method has the potential of
pointing the optimal center frequency via an absolute maximum on the Protrugram, with the accuracy equal to the
resolution of the original spectrum. However, for real, compound vibration signals with relatively low SNR, the center
frequency may be indicated by a local maximum. Nevertheless, authors presume that the energy of the modulating signal
is always distributed around the carrier frequency. Thus, as the CF is shifted, it gradually approaches the optimal value
(enhancing the virtual protrusion of characteristic frequencies above the noise level), and retreating from it afterwards
(protrusion deteriorates). Consequently, center frequencies of modulating signals are displayed on the Protrugram by hilllike shapes. On the other hand, the remaining envelope spectral components are assumed to be introduced by individual
spectral component. Thus, as the CF is shifted, their maxima appear and disappear suddenly. Consequently, they may be
differentiated from modulating signals-indicated optimal center frequencies on the Protrugram by rapid steep edges,
which calls for additional postprocessing. These statements will be discussed further on the basis of exemplary signals.
4. Case studies
Authors present ve examples of the application of the Protrugram in detection of the optimal frequency band for the
amplitude demodulation. In each case, the results are compared with a Fast Kurotgram-recommended band. As it will be
shown, for signals including relatively strong fault-induced signal components, both methods work correctly and give
similar results. However, in the case of relatively weak modulating signal, i.e. relatively small signal-to-noise ratio, the Fast
Kurtogram is unable to indicate the optimal band for demodulation, whereas the Protrugram enables a successful selection
of the optimal band. Case studies include:







test rig vibration signal (introduced in Section 2.1);


synthetic computer-generated signal simulating a REB defect with relatively high SNR;
synthetic computer-generated signal simulating a REB defect with relatively low SNR;
synthetic computer-generated signal simulating a REB defect with relatively high SNR and an impulse response,
simulating a random peak;
vibration signal from a jet engine with a bearing outer race defect.

4.1. Test rig


Recalling, the studied test rig signal is a 10-s sample recorded with a sampling frequency 24 kHz, containing a REB outer
race defect-induced component. Fig. 6a and b present the time signal. Fig. 7a and b illustrate the one-sided linear spectrum
of the signal, and the dB spectrum. Figs. 810 illustrate the Fast Kurtogram, the Protrugram and the narrowband envelope
spectra, respectively.
The time view of the signal (Fig. 6) does not unravel any REB fault symptoms. The linear spectrum (Fig. 7a) shows frequency
components less than 2 kHz. The dB spectrum (Fig. 7b) shows a gradual decrease of spectral amplitudes for frequencies less
than 3 kHz, then a steady 85 dB level to 5 kHz. After that, a  95 dB amplitude level is observed up to the Nyquist frequency.
Fig. 10 shows narrowband envelope spectra calculated for optimal parameters indicated by both methods, the
Protrugram and the Fast Kurtogram. In the latter case, all harmonics of the BPFO protrude higher above the noise level;
however, the Protrugram was able to indicate a band, for which the fundamental BPFO has got higher amplitude.
Nevertheless, both methods show very legible narrowband envelope spectra displaying consecutive BPFOs, enabling
successful REB diagnosis.
As indicated in Fig. 4c, the calculation of the Protrugram requires additional parameterthe size of the step of scanning,
loosely, how much the central frequency is shifted on the frequency axis after each iteration. Step sizes of 1000, 100 and 1 Hz
were investigated on a test rig signal. The nest accuracy of the carrier signal frequency was found to be about 4068 Hz. Fig. 7a
and b clearly show that the frequency content of the signal is dominated by frequencies about 1 and 2 kHz, which are believed
to cause sharp peaks on the Protrugram. Fig. 11 presents Protrugrams calculated for three step sizes listed above.
The Table 2 presents computation times for each step. Computations presented in Table 2 were performed on a
2.40 GHz Intels Celeron with 632 MB RAM, in Matlabs version 7.0.1.24704 (R14) Service Pack 1 on a 10 s time signal with
sampling frequency 24 kHz. The result from the rst row, for the step size equal to 1000 Hz is the fastest; however, after a
close look on the graphs it can be argued that the result is coincidently correct because if the iteration was started at a
different frequency, then the kurtosis would not indicate optimal center frequency. It is therefore necessary to increase the

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Amplitude [g]

0.2

0.1

Amplitude [dB]

0
0

2000

4000

6000

8000

10000

12000

2000

4000

6000
Frequency [Hz]

8000

10000

12000

0
-50
-100
-150

Fig. 7. (a) Linear frequency spectrum of the test rig signal. (b) dB-scale frequency spectrum of the test rig signal.

level k

fb-kurt.2 - Kmax=1.2 @ level 4, Bw= 750Hz, f c =4125Hz


1.2

0
1
1.6
2
2.6
3
3.6
4
4.6
5
5.6
6
6.6
7
7.6
8

1
0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2

2000

4000

6000
8000
frequency [Hz]

10000

12000

Fig. 8. The Fast Kurtogram of the test rig signal. (All Fast Kurtogram plots were generated with the use of the code available in [18], with the parameters
lterbank and classical.)

Kurtosis

1000

500

0
0

2000

4000

6000
Frequency [Hz]

8000

10000

12000

Fig. 9. Protrugram of the test rig signal. BW= 500 Hz, indicated CF= 4068 Hz.

number of iterations, as shown in the second row of the table. In the nal step, i.e. with the maximum resolution, the
number of iterations was followed by a rapid increment of the computational time. Moreover, the improvements of the
resultant CF seem inadequate to the extra time consumption.
Taking into account the time consumption for each step and corresponding results of the optimal center frequency, it
seems reasonable to use a step size of the order of about 100 Hz, if applicable. Nevertheless, more powerful computational
machines allow better accuracy.

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Amplitude [g]

x 10 -3

x 10 -3
BPFO

BPFO

4
BPFOx2

BPFOx2

BPFOx3

0
0

100

200
300
Frequency [Hz]

400

500

100

200
300
Frequency [Hz]

400

500

Fig. 10. Narrowband envelope spectrum for indicated optimal parameters: (a) Protrugram and (b) Fast Kurtogram.

Kurtosis

400
CF = 4500 Hz

200
0
0

2000

4000

6000

8000

10000

12000

8000

10000

12000

8000

10000

12000

Kurtosis

1000
CF = 4100 Hz

500
0
0

2000

4000

6000

Kurtosis

1000
CF = 4068 Hz

500
0
0

2000

4000

6000
Frequency [Hz]

Fig. 11. Protrugrams for constant BW= 500 Hz and varying step size: (a) 1 kHz, (b)100 Hz and (c) 1 Hz.

Table 2
Computational times for each step size of the Protrugram.
Frequency step size (Hz)

Indicated best f_center (Hz)

Maximum kurtosis value

No. of iterations

Computing time (s)

1000
100
1

4500
4100
4068

682.6
761.3
767.6

12
118
11750

0.6
3.4
322.5

4.2. Simulated signal


Another signal, which demonstrates limitations of the Fast Kurtogram, is a simulated signal, which was prepared in
Matlabs. The signal was sampled during 10 s with a frequency of 25 kHz (data packets 250 thousand samples each). The
signal consists of following components:

 three sinusoids (with random phases), representing a two-shaft machine (35 and 11 Hz) with a meshing frequency
(455 Hz), comprising dominating signal components (amplitudes 1.0, 0.8 and 0.3, respectively);

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 modulating signal component, simulating for instance a bearing race fault. The signal was composed of impacts from


exponentially decaying 4 kHz sine carrier frequency with initial amplitude of 0.1, and time constant of 2 ms; the
impacts repetition rate was 124 Hz with a 1% random jitter;
stationary random Gaussian noise; energy of the noise was changed in order to determine the dependency of the
detection method.

The simulated signal is examined in three variants, high signal-to-noise ratio, low signal-to-noise ratio, and high signalto-noise ratio with a random impulse. The rst case illustrates the capability of the Fast Kurtogram to point the optimal
band accurately, whereas the latter two cases illustrate its vulnerability to SNR and random impulses, respectively.
4.2.1. High signal-to-noise ratio
In the rst test, the noise component had the variance of 0.01. The overall signal with its components is presented in
Fig. 12.
Fig. 13 presents the amplitude spectrum of the entire signal, together with PSDs of the signal and its components. It is
clearly visible that at the resonance frequency, the SNR is approximately three orders of magnitude.
The simulated signal was processed with both, the Fast Kurtogram and the Protrugram. Results of analysis are
presented in Figs. 14 and 15, respectively. The Fast Kurtogram detected the maximum of SK at 2344 Hz with the bandwidth
of 1562 Hz (and a relatively high SK value equal 4.6), which do not correspond exactly with the original carrier frequency.
The Protrugram detected a very clear maximum at 4 kHz, which is in line with the carrier frequency. The selected
bandwidth was 400 Hz (slightly more than 3x possible BPFO).
Band parameters returned by both investigated methods was used to obtain narrowband envelope spectra. These
spectra are compared in Fig. 16. Both spectra show presence of the fault repetition rate, together with its harmonics. Thus,
both methods were able to detect the fault signature.
Note that the Fast Kurtogram was able to indicate a band, which enabled identication of a number of harmonics
(actually, up to the 11th harmonic) of a possible BPFO, whereas the Protrugram indicated band, which identied only rst
two harmonics. However, for the implemented algorithm of amplitude demodulation, amplitudes of characteristic
frequencies in the case of the Protrugram are almost four thousand times higher than in the case of the Fast Kurtogram.
4.2.2. Low signal-to-noise ratio
In the second test, the noise component had much higher variance of 0.25. The overall signal with its components is
presented in Fig. 17.
Fig. 18 presents the amplitude spectrum of the total signal, together with PSDs of the signal and its components. No
resonance is observable on the spectrum. Comparison of PSDs show that the power of the modulating signal (i.e. faultinduced) is smaller than the noise, even at the resonance frequency.
The simulated signal was processed again with both methods, the Fast Kurtogram and the Protrugram. Results of
analysis are presented in Figs. 19 and 20, respectively.

Amplitude [g]

-2
0

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

0.25

0.3

0.35

0.4

Amplitude [g]

-1
0

0.01

0.02

0.03

0.04

0.05
Time [s]

0.06

0.07

0.08

0.09

0.1

Fig. 12. (a) A part of the 10 s simulated signal in the case of high SNR and (b) its components. The noise is relatively small and impacts are visible. Note
different time range on both plots.

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Amplitude [dB]

444

10 0
10 -1
10 -2
10 -3
10 -4
0

2000

4000

6000
Frequency [Hz]

8000

Amplitude [dB]

10

10000

12000

Total Signal

Noise

10

-2

Modulating Signal

10

-4

10

-6

10

2000

4000

6000
8000
Frequency [Hz]

10000

12000

Fig. 13. (a) Amplitude spectrum (dB) of the simulated signal and (b) PSDs of the signal and its components.

level k

fb-kurt.2 - Kmax=4.7 @ level 3, Bw= 1562.5Hz, fc =2343.75Hz


0
1
1.6
2
2.6
3
3.6
4
4.6
5
5.6
6
6.6
7
7.6
8

4
3
2
1

2000

4000

6000
8000
frequency [Hz]

10000

12000

Fig. 14. Result of the Fast Kurtogram analysis of the simulated signal. The maximum around 2.3 kHz at the level 3 is clearly seen, which is close to the
original carrier frequency of 4 kHz.

This time, the Fast Kurtogram was not able to detect a valid band. The Protrugram, on the other hand, was still able to
detect a maximum at 4 kHz, though the amplitude of the maximum was much lower than in the high SNR case. The
parameters for the Protrugram were the same as in the previous case (BW= 400 Hz, step = 1 Hz).
Band parameters returned by both investigated methods were used to obtain envelope spectra. These spectra are
compared in Fig. 21. This time, only the parameters returned by the Protrugram yielded a correct envelope spectrum, in
which the fault frequency can be clearly detected. The envelope spectrum obtained through the Kurtogram show a few
spectral lines, but unrelated to the sought fault.
The ability to detect the fault was further investigated in consecutive simulations. Table 3 presents results of SNRs and
limit noise variances for both methods. Maximum noise energy presents maximum variance of the noise signal, at which
the method was able to detect the fault. SNR values were calculated from the time signals, so they include all frequency
components. SNR as a function of frequency can be estimated from Figs. 13 and 18.
4.2.3. High signal-to-noise ratio plus a random impulse
In the last test, the noise level is kept low, but an extra impulse response has been added to the signal, which is
observable in Fig. 22. The spectra are omitted, since virtually they look the same as in the rst simulated signal test.
Comparing with Figs. 14 and 23 indicates that the presence of a relatively low energy impulse response in a signal may ruin
the Fast Kurtogram analysis. On the other hand, Fig. 24 illustrates that the Protrugram output has not changed signicantly

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Kurtosis

1000

500

0
0

2000

4000

6000
8000
Frequency [Hz]

10000

12000

14000

Fig. 15. Result of the Protrugram analysis; BW= 400 Hz, step = 1 Hz. The method correctly indicated optimal center frequency.

-3

Sq.Amplitude [g]

x 10
0.4
1x

1x
2x

0.2

3x

0.5

2x
0

4x

0
100

200
300
400
Frequency [Hz]

500

100

200
300
400
Frequency [Hz]

500

Amplitude [g]

Fig. 16. Narrowband envelope spectrum for indicated optimal parameters: (a) Protrugram and (b) Fast Kurtogram. Note necessary different amplitude
orders for a clear display.

2
0
-2

Amplitude [g]

0.05

0.1

0.15

0.2

0.25

0.3

0.35

0.4

1
0
-1
0

0.01

0.02

0.03

0.04

0.05
Time [s]

0.06

0.07

0.08

0.09

0.1

Fig. 17. (a) A part of the simulated signal in the case of low SNR and (b) its components. The noise is relatively high and impacts are not visible. Note
different time range on two plots.

compared to the impulse-free signal. Fig. 25 shows envelope spectra for indicated optimal bands, which clearly show that
this time the Fast Kurtogram-based analysis fails. Thus, the authors claim that the Protrugram constitutes an alternative
approach to the Fast Kurtogram analysis, since it shows less vulnerability to random impulsive noise.
4.3. Jet engine
The investigation of a signal recorded from a jet engine was one of the reasons which have motivated the authors to nd
an alternative method for the optimal band selection to the Kurtogram. Dismantling of the machine revealed severe
bearing race fault. The Fast Kurtogram did not yield any signicant band, which could be used for demodulation of the
signal. One reason for this was a relatively very low signal-to-noise ratio (or very high r in terms of formula (3)). Secondly,
the signal contained a number of peaks, which seemed to be random and possibly exciting resonances. Tertiary, the

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T. Barszcz, A. Jab!on

Amplitude [dB]

446

100
10-1
10-2
10-3

Amplitude [dB]

102
100
10-2
10-4
10-6

2000

4000

6000
Frequency [Hz]

8000

10000

12000

Total Signal
Noise
Modulating Signal

2000

4000

6000
Frequency [Hz]

8000

10000

12000

Fig. 18. (a) Amplitude spectrum (dB) of the simulated signal and (b) PSDs of the signal and its components for the low SNR case.

level k

fb-kurt.2 - Kmax=0.3 @ level 1, Bw= 6250Hz, fc =3125Hz


0
1
1.6
2
2.6
3
3.6
4
4.6
5
5.6
6
6.6
7
7.6
8

0.25
0.2
0.15
0.1
0.05

2000

4000

6000
8000
frequency [Hz]

10000

12000

Fig. 19. Result of the Fast Kurtogram analysis of the simulated signal with low SNR. The method was not able to detect the fault source.

Kurtosis

20

10

0
0

2000

4000

6000
8000
Frequency [Hz]

10000

12000

Fig. 20. Result of the Protrugram analysis for the low SNR.

nominal speed of the engine was 8000 rpm, requiring a demodulation bandwidth over 1.4 kHz (due to a very high BPFO of
1325 Hz; such a short repetition rate may cause that fault-induced impact does not decay completely before the next
impact occurs), which in turn demanded a relatively accurate detection of the center frequency. Furthermore, the vibration
signal had a large number of components, coming from rotating parts (shafts and several gear transmissions), including
blade pass frequencies of the compressor and the turbine or broadband noise from gas ow and combustion processes. In
the presented case, various kinematic parameters of the machine were known (which is often the case encountered in the
diagnostic practice). This is especially true for rolling element bearings diagnostics, since characteristic frequencies can be

X: 123.9
Y: 0.4779

0.6

Sq.Amplitude [g]

Sq.Amplitude [g]

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0.4
0.2

447

X: 420
Y: 0.9018

1
0

100

200
300
Frequency [Hz]

200
400
Frequency [Hz]

600

Fig. 21. Narrowband envelope spectrum for indicated optimal parameters: (a) Protrugram and (b) Fast Kurtogram. Note different amplitude and
frequency ranges applied for a clearer demonstration.

Table 3
Parameters of simulated signals.
Parameter

Value

High SNR case


RMS of the fault signal
RMS of the noise
SNR

0.0249
0.0100
6.20

Low SNR case


RMS of the fault signal
RMS of the noise
SNR

0.0249
0.2505
0.0098

Maximum noise RMS for the Fast Kurtogram


Maximum noise RMS for the Protrugram

0.083
0.290

2
0
-2
0

10

Amplitude [g]

Time [s]

1
0
-1
6.71

6.72

6.73
Time [s]

6.74

6.75

Fig. 22. (a) A simulated signal with high SNR containing a response of a random impulse. The impulse response signature visible (almost negligible) on
the time view is marked with a dotted line. (b) Zoom on its components at the time of the impulse occurrence. Note the relatively marginal inuence of
the impulse response to the overall signal characteristics.

relatively easily obtained from the manufacturer. Another important issue concerned signal transmission path. The
vibration signal was recorded with an acceleration sensor mounted on the chassis of the engine. Thus, it was relatively far
from the faulty bearing, so the fault signature component was weaker and the signal contained more structural
frequencies.
Fig. 26 presents the waveform of the signal and its amplitude spectra (in both linear and logarithmic scale). The signal
was sampled at 25 kHz for 10 s. The anti-aliasing lter had the cut-off frequency at 10 kHz. Even after zooming (Fig. 26a),

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448

level k

fb-kurt.2 - Kmax=2087.3 @ level 4, Bw= 781.25Hz, fc =8984.375Hz


0
1
1.6
2
2.6
3
3.6
4
4.6
5
5.6
6
6.6
7
7.6
8

2000

1500

1000

500

2000

4000

6000
8000
frequency [Hz]

10000

12000

Fig. 23. Result of the Fast Kurtogram analysis. The maximum around 9 kHz at the level 4 is indicated, which does not correspond to the true carrier
frequency (4 kHz).

Kurtosis

1500

1000

500

0
0

2000

4000

6000
8000
Frequency [Hz]

10000

12000

14000

Fig. 24. Result of the Protrugram analysis; BW =400 Hz, step= 1 Hz. The indicated center frequency = 3985 Hz.

x 10-3

Amplitude [g]

0.3

0.2

BPFO

0.1

BPFOx2

0
0

100
200
300
Frequency [Hz]

400

500

100

200
300
Frequency [Hz]

400

500

Fig. 25. Narrowband envelope spectrum for indicated optimal parameters: (a) Protrugram and (b) Fast Kurtogram. Note different amplitude ranges.

the time signal shows quite a typical vibration signal, without any sign of large impacts or measurement errors. The
spectrum (Fig. 26c) contains several discrete lines. All spectral lines were identied and found not related to bearing fault
frequency. Dominant lines around 6 kHz come from blade pass frequencies in the compressor. Investigation of the
logarithmic spectrum (Fig. 26d) does not show any clear, dominant resonance frequency.
The Kurtogram analysis was performed and did not yield a signicant band for signal demodulation (see Fig. 27). Then,
the Protrugram was applied and returned the plot presented in Fig. 28. The plot contains a maximum with steep edges
between 5.7 and 7.2 kHz. As discussed in Section 3.2, such steep edges are a consequence of harmonic components and
should be ignored. Indeed, they were found to be caused by blade pass induced harmonic components, which can be seen
in Fig. 26c. Apart from that maximum, two much smaller, yet visible local maxima around 8200 and 11 900 Hz are present.
Both structures have gentle slopes and may be caused by a repetitive fault signature. These hypotheses were veried with

Amplitude [g]

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0.2

0.2

449

-0.2

-0.2
0

5
Time [s]

10

6000

8000

0.005

0.01
Time [s]

0.015

0.02

x 10 -3
Amplitude [g]

6
4
2
0

Amplitude [dB]

2000

4000

10000

12000

14000

10-2
10-4
10-6

2000

4000

6000
Frequency [Hz]

8000

10000

12000

Fig. 26. Vibration signal from the jet engine. (a) Time signal. It does not show any sign of impacts. (b) Linear spectrum. Spectral lines were identied and
found not related to bearing fault frequency. (c) dB spectrum. It did not show any clear dominant resonance frequency.

level k

fb-kurt.2 - Kmax=0.3 @ level 1.5, Bw= 4166.6667Hz, fc =2083.3333Hz


0
1
1.6
2
2.6
3
3.6
4
4.6
5
5.6
6
6.6
7
7.6
8

0.3
0.25
0.2
0.15
0.1
0.05
0

2000

4000

6000
8000
frequency [Hz]

10000

12000

Fig. 27. The Kurtogram of the vibration signal from the jet engine with a faulty bearing. Note that kurtosis levels are relatively low.

narrowband amplitude demodulation of the vibration signal around both center frequencies. Only the rst maximum
turned out to be related to the sought bearing fault. For the latter one, a single 1000 Hz component, caused by another
source, was observable above the noise level. The result for the 8200 Hz maximum is presented in Fig. 29a, where a BPFO
component is clearly visible.

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450

Kurtosis

200

CF = 8200 Hz

100

0
0

2000

4000

6000
Frequency [Hz]

8000

10000

12000

Fig. 28. Protrugram of the jet engine vibration signal, BW =1500 Hz (slightly more than 1xBPFO), step = 100 Hz. The bandwidth was set to cover only the
rst harmonic due to its very high value (1325 Hz).

Sq.Amplitude [g]

x 10 -3

x 10 -3

2
1xBPFO = 1325Hz

0
0

500
1000
Frequency [Hz]

1500

500
1000
Frequency [Hz]

1500

Fig. 29. Narrowband envelope spectrum for indicated optimal parameters: (a) Protrugram and (b) Fast Kurtogram.

The envelope spectrum contains the line at the bearing race fault frequency 1325 Hz. The spectrum also contains
spectral components of 290.3 and 580.6 Hz (its second harmonic) as well as 1061 Hz, which were found related to meshing
frequencies in one of auxiliary gears. For comparison, the envelope spectrum for the band yielded by the Fast Kurtogram is
also presented (Fig. 29b). It does not show any sign of a bearing fault.
This example illustrates that the demodulation with the Protrugram-indicated parameters shows a potential to
overcome limitations encountered in demodulation with Fast Kurtogram-indicated parameters. Conducting more
narrowband envelope analysis on the signal with the bandwidth equal to 1500 Hz, it turned out that shifting the center
frequency by as low as 100 Hz, totally deteriorates the envelope spectrum in terms of the BPFO identication.
This observation is further justied by the fact that in the Fast Kurtogram algorithm, consecutive segments of
demodulation bands for a given bandwidth are non-overlapping; thus, as the sought bandwidth increases, the accuracy of
the calculated center frequency diminishes. In the case of the characteristic frequency 1325 Hz, the smallest BW on the
Fast Kurtogram capable of its detection is equal to 1563 Hz (level 3), with accuracy of 1563/2=782 Hz, which was found to
be insufcient.

5. Conclusions
The paper originated from a research on spectral kurtosis and the Kurtogram methods in terms of the narrowband
envelope analysis. The idea of an alternative method for the optimal band parameters selection emerged when the authors
were investigating a signal from a jet engine. The implementation of the Fast Kurtogram did not yield any signicant band,
though dismantling of the machine revealed severe bearing race defect.
Authors believe that the Fast Kurtogram failed due to a number of reasons. First, the signal-to-noise ratio was relatively
low. Secondly, the signal contained a variety of peaks, possibly exciting resonances. Finally, the characteristic sought
frequency was large (1325 Hz), which required a better accuracy of the possible center frequencies being accessed than
offered by the Fast Kurtogram for such a large bandwidth.
Analysis of practical cases, as well as experiments on the simulated signals had led to the concept of another REB fault
detection method. Such a method, named by the authors the Protrugram, was proposed and discussed in this paper. In
contrary to the Kurtogram, the new method requires a priori knowledge about kinematics of the monitored machine, and
additional visual postprocessing to reject discrete tones. On the other hand, it shows a superior detection ability of
modulating signals in presence of higher noise than in the case of the Fast Kurtogram as well as invulnerability to random
impulse responses present in the signal. The fundamental difference between methods lies in different values being
optimized. The Fast Kurtogram utilizes kurtosis of the time signal ltered in different bands, whereas the Protrugram takes
advantage of the kurtosis of envelope spectra amplitudes as a function of the center frequency.

ski / Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing 25 (2011) 431451


T. Barszcz, A. Jab!on

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As discussed in Section 3.2, such an approach enables successful detection of patterns caused by typical REB faults. In
their further research, the authors will investigate a possible relationship between the width of a base of a hill on the
Protrugram and the signicant demodulation bandwidth (see Fig. 9).
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