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Early Warning Hydraulic

Pump Diagnostic
System for Predicting
and Preventing Pump
This new, reliable diagnostic system performs real-time pump health assessments that can predict
pump failures prior to their occurrence thereby minimizing downtime for maintenance, improving
safety and reliability of hydraulic pump systems, and reducing costs. The technology can be easily
integrated into new or existing hydraulic pumps without extensive modification. Using a wavelet
decomposition method, the technology easily extracts the "feature signal" from the pump discharge
pressure in real time and uses that information to predict failures as well as to provide an estimate of
the remaining life of the pump.

How it Works
"Pump health" is defined as protection against leaks and mechanical component failures of hydraulic
systems. This diagnostic system assesses "pump health" and can dramatically improve the reliability of
machinery systems that use hydraulic pumps by providing indication of the system's health to the
Current real-time diagnostic tools for pump health are based on indirect measurement of pump vibration
signals during a single operation. These tools routinely succumb to environmental interference and
frequently prove to be insensitive to predicting failures before they occur. The University's technology
measures pump discharge pressure, a direct measurement of the pump's performance, a condition that is
not affected by environmental noise. Using a wavelet decomposition method, this technology easily
extracts the "feature signal" from the pump discharge pressure in real time and uses that information to
predict failures as well as the remaining lifetime of the pump. The wavelet analysis handles both
frequency and time domain information and is capable of using multiple resolutions to identify the local
characteristic signal. This makes the wavelet method highly suitable for detecting transient abnormal
signals and capable of showing the features of the detected abnormal signal. Therefore, it is a practical
method for monitoring the device operation state and performing early fault diagnosis.
The technology can be economically integrated into new or existing hydraulic pumps in two ways without
requiring extensive modification. One method is to simply attach a sensor or, in many cases, use a sensor
that is already there (sensors are often present in many systems, but their output is not used to detect
pump health). Or, a detection system can be built into a pump (e.g., by adding a pressure sensor to the
pump and including a computer or microprocessor to process data and issue warning signals), or a
sensor can be installed in an existing pump and connected to the main computer within the machinery.

Because time is of the essence in many safety-sensitive applications, (e.g., airplanes and heavy
machinery), a warning signal can be incorporated to alert the user of potential pump problems, thus
providing adequate time to take corrective action and/or needed repairs. The alert system could be
designed to include varying degrees of warning and automatic controls.
Flexibility is the key to this system - one or multiple observers, either on-site and/or at remote locations,
can assess pump performance in real time.
Test Results
The validation test of this wavelet fault diagnosis method was conducted on a laboratory scale hydraulic
system testbed. This hydraulic system testbed consisted of an electro-hydraulic servo valve, two testing
pumps (a normal pump and a defective pump), and other auxiliary devices, components, and sensors.
The pumps installed on the testbed were 10 ml/rev fixed displacement axial piston pumps. Both pumps
were operated at 1,470 rpm. The system pressure was 6.5x106 Pa set by a line relief valve. The pressure
sensors were installed on the discharge port of the pumps for collecting the pressure signals. (See Figure
1 in attachment)
Under normal operation conditions, the pump discharge pressure will have a slight fluctuation around the
average discharge pressure. During the operation, if a piston shoe is loosened or dropped, it will result in
a change in the discharging flow. When there is a worn or damaged piston, it will result in an increase in
internal leakage and lead to a change in the hydraulic damping of the pump. In spite of the fact that it is
difficult to measure the discharging flow and the hydraulic damping of the pump directly, the discharge
pressure and the average discharge flow rate will reflect the changes in the discharging flow and the
hydraulic damping of the pump.
As shown in Figures 2 and 3 (see attachment), the second and third order wavelet decompositions of the
signals from the normal pump (i.e., cd2 and cd3 values) were very similar to cd1 and did not show any
abnormal pattern. As comparison, cd2 and cd3, especially cd3, from both defective pumps resulted in
wilder variations than that of the normal pump. Both theoretical analysis and experimental testing showed
that a third order wavelet decomposition could extract the feature signals from pump discharge pressure
for diagnosing piston pump health conditions.
Pump discharge pressure is an important measure of pump performance. The use of discharge pressure
provides direct information for the system's health assessment; this direct measurement provides
improved diagnosing accuracy by eliminating the interferences that impact indirectly measured signals.

Companies can license this hydraulic pump diagnostic system to eliminate unexpected pump failures

Hydraulic pumps and other hydraulic systems: The life expectancy of the pump can be
maximized by addressing potential problems before they occur; eliminating pump failures minimizes
costly repairs and reduces unanticipated equipment and personnel downtime.

Aircraft and aerospace: Preventing hydraulic pump failures is crucial to maintaining the safety of
passengers. By signaling potential problems, this technology reduces risk.

Bulldozers and other industrial/heavy duty equipment: When a pump's remaining lifetime can
be predicted and failures can be anticipated, overall maintenance and repairs are reduced.


Ability to predict failure before it occurs: Direct measurement of pump discharge pressure
enables more accurate prediction of failure.
Ability to predict remaining lifetime: Accurate pump discharge pressure predictions also
enable estimating the remaining life of the pump.
Improved reliability: Predictions of hours left before failure to within 50 to 100 hours, a
significant improvement in robustness and sensitivity over detection methods that use vibration
Improved safety: Preventing hydraulic pump failures in applications such as transportation is
crucial to ensuring the safety of passengers.
Maximized lifetime: Addressing potential problems before they occur maximizes the useful
lifetime of the pump, allows for prophylactic scheduling of pump maintenance, and minimizes
premature removal of "healthy" pumps from service.
Reduced cost: Eliminating or reducing downtime and costly repairs saves time and money.