The bearings of rotating machinery often fail, leading to unforeseen downtime of large machines in industrial plants. Therefore, condition monitoring can be a powerful tool to aid in the quick identification of these faults and make it possible to plan maintenance before the fault becomes too drastic, reducing downtime and cost. Predictive maintenance is often based on information gathered from accelerometers. However, these sensors are contact-based, making them less attractive for use in an industrial plant and more prone to breakage. In this paper, condition monitoring based on ultrasound is researched, where non-invasive sensors are used to record the noise originating from different defects of the Machinery Fault Simulator. The acoustic data are recorded using a sparse microphone array in a lab environment. The same array was used to record real spatial noise in a fully operational plant which was later added to the acoustic data containing the different defects with a variety of Signal To Noise ratios. In this paper, we compare the classification results of the noisy acoustic data of only one microphone to the beamformed acoustic data. We do this to investigate how beamforming could improve the classification process in an ultrasound condition-monitoring application in a real industrial plant.
Keywords: acoustic signal processing; array signal processing; beamforming; microphone arrays; predictive maintenance.