Frontiers of Mechanical Engineering

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 333–347 | Cite as

Multiple fault separation and detection by joint subspace learning for the health assessment of wind turbine gearboxes

  • Zhaohui Du
  • Xuefeng Chen
  • Han Zhang
  • Yanyang Zi
  • Ruqiang Yan
Research Article


The gearbox of a wind turbine (WT) has dominant failure rates and highest downtime loss among all WT subsystems. Thus, gearbox health assessment for maintenance cost reduction is of paramount importance. The concurrence of multiple faults in gearbox components is a common phenomenon due to fault induction mechanism. This problem should be considered before planning to replace the components of the WT gearbox. Therefore, the key fault patterns should be reliably identified from noisy observation data for the development of an effective maintenance strategy. However, most of the existing studies focusing on multiple fault diagnosis always suffer from inappropriate division of fault information in order to satisfy various rigorous decomposition principles or statistical assumptions, such as the smooth envelope principle of ensemble empirical mode decomposition and the mutual independence assumption of independent component analysis. Thus, this paper presents a joint subspace learning-based multiple fault detection (JSL-MFD) technique to construct different subspaces adaptively for different fault patterns. Its main advantage is its capability to learn multiple fault subspaces directly from the observation signal itself. It can also sparsely concentrate the feature information into a few dominant subspace coefficients. Furthermore, it can eliminate noise by simply performing coefficient shrinkage operations. Consequently, multiple fault patterns are reliably identified by utilizing the maximum fault information criterion. The superiority of JSL-MFD in multiple fault separation and detection is comprehensively investigated and verified by the analysis of a data set of a 750 kW WT gearbox. Results show that JSL-MFD is superior to a state-of-the-art technique in detecting hidden fault patterns and enhancing detection accuracy.


joint subspace learning multiple fault diagnosis sparse decomposition theory coupling feature separation wind turbine gearbox 


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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51505364 and 51335006), the National Key Basic Research Program of China (Grant No. 2015CB057400), and the Program for Changjiang Scholars. The authors thank NREL for supporting this work and providing the vibration data used for the validation of the JSL-MFD technique.


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Copyright information

© Higher Education Press and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhaohui Du
    • 1
  • Xuefeng Chen
    • 1
  • Han Zhang
    • 1
  • Yanyang Zi
    • 1
  • Ruqiang Yan
    • 2
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory for Manufacturing Systems EngineeringXi’an Jiaotong UniversityXi’anChina
  2. 2.School of Instrument Science and EngineeringSoutheast UniversityNanjingChina

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