Mathematical morphology (MM) is an efficient nonlinear signal processing tool. It can be adopted to extract fault information from bearing signal according to a structuring element (SE). Since the bearing signal features differ for every unique cause of failure, the SEs should be well tailored to extract the fault feature from a particular signal. In the following, a signal based triangular SE according to the statistics of the magnitude of a vibration signal is proposed, together with associated methodology, which processes the bearing signal by MM analysis based on proposed SE to get the morphology spectrum of a signal. A correlation analysis on morphology spectrum is then employed to obtain the final classification of bearing faults. The classification performance of the proposed method is evaluated by a set of bearing vibration signals with inner race, ball, and outer race faults, respectively. Results show that all faults can be detected clearly and correctly. Compared with a commonly used flat SE, the correlation analysis on morphology spectrum with proposed SE gives better performance at fault diagnosis of bearing, especially the identification of the location of outer race fault and the level of fault severity. 1. Introduction Rolling element bearings are one of the most important and common components in rotating machinery. Their carrying capacity and reliability are essential for the overall machine performance. Therefore the fault diagnosis of rolling element bearing has been studied intensively for the security of mechanical systems . When a fault in one surface of a bearing strikes another surface, a force impulse is generated which excites some vibration response in the bearing and machine system. The vibration response can be obtained and converted into vibration signal. As most information concerning the fault feature is contained in vibration signal, the vibration-based bearing fault diagnosis method has attracted extensive interests from both academia and industry [2, 3]. The vibration signals, usually indirect and nonlinear, are additionally masked by noise. Therefore an accurate signal processing and final diagnosis largely depend on the extraction of feature information from vibration signals. A number of studies have been conducted on vibration signal processing . The most accepted approach for the demodulation and feature extraction of vibration signal, the envelope analysis (EA) technique [5, 6], has been widely used in the detection of mechanical failures since 1980s. However, a prior knowledge of the filtering band is
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