Local faults in a gearbox cause impacts and the collected vibration signal is often non-stationary. Identification of impulses within the non-stationary vibration signal is key to fault detection. Recently, the technique of Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD) was proposed as a new tool for analysis of non-stationary signal. EMD is a time series analysis method that extracts a custom set of bases that reflects the characteristic response of a system. The Intrinsic Mode Functions (IMFs) within the original data can be obtained through EMD. We expect that the change in the amplitude of the special IMF’s envelope spectrum will become larger when fault impulses are present. Based on this idea, we propose a new fault detection method that combines EMD with Hilbert transform. The proposed method is compared with both the Hilbert-Huang transform and the wavelet transform using simulated signal and real signal collected from a gearbox. The results obtained show that the proposed method is effective in capturing the hidden fault impulses.

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