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Acquiring drive train insights by using the electric motor as a lateral and torsional vibration sensor

The implementation of condition-based maintenance strategies in current industrial drive trains is a major contributor to the increasing uptime in electric machinery, resulting in significant economical gains.

Condition monitoring techniques are generally based on interpreting the physical fingerprints of faulty machines. Although the measurement of mechanical vibrations is very popular within this field of expertise, there are several supplementary benefits to using motor current signature analysis (MCSA). This technique uses the electric motor as a sensor: a safe, cost-effective and robust solution. By interpreting the motor currents as mechanical vibrations, it is often not only possible to detect developing faults, but also to link them to the root cause, enabling proactive action.

This paper provides an in-depth look at the electromechanical foundations that underpin MCSA, including the algorithms that enable drive-train-wide analysis, and concludes with some striking industrial examples.

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