Investigation of Multiple Data Streams for Gearbox Bearing Fault Prediction Through Machine-Learning Models

Lindy Williams, Yi Guo, Shawn Sheng, Arch Desai

Research output: NRELPresentation


Operations and maintenance (O&M) cost of wind plant accounts up to 30% of total energy cost, which can be reduced through continuous monitoring and successfully detecting incipient wind turbine failures. To accomplish this, condition monitoring and predictive maintenance systems are being implemented in wind industry to support O&M decision making. A wide range of approaches for condition monitoring and fault prediction have been developed. These approaches generally use historical data of wind turbines collected by Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system to identify patterns that lead to failure. These SCADA data show the overall condition of a wind turbine and can be leveraged to detect when the turbine's performance is degrading and to identify if a fault is developing. However, it becomes challenging to predict the failure of a specific wind turbine gearbox bearing, because the SCADA data are often not directly linked to the component. To bridge the gap, we have investigated features calculated from SCADA data using physics-based models and the gearbox design over the years. The damaged metric we used in the physics domain is frictional energy. Combining these physics domain variables with SCADA data as inputs to various machine learning models for gearbox bearing fault prediction, we have demonstrated the benefits of leveraging both physics and data domain models. It was an attempt to improve frictional-energy-based damage metric by adding data domain inputs, as we had learned that the frictional-energy-based damage metric alone is not sufficient to single out failed bearings from healthy. As condition monitoring data (either vibration or oil debris data) has become available at more and more wind plants, we would like to evaluate whether by adding the condition monitoring data can help further improve the performance of frictional-energy-based damage metric for gearbox bearing fault prediction. Both cases by modeling through various machine learning algorithms are discussed in this study along with some observations.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages28
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the Wind Power Data and Digital Innovation Forum, 29 October 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5000-81428


  • fault prediction
  • gearbox
  • machine learning
  • wind turbine


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