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Shock and Vibration
Volume 6 (1999), Issue 5-6, Pages 253-265

Using Abductive Machine Learning for Online Vibration Monitoring of Turbo Molecular Pumps

R.E. Abdel-Aal and M. Raashid

Center for Applied Physical Sciences, Research Institute, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran 31261, Saudi Arabia

Received 26 April 1999; Revised 13 September 1999

Copyright © 1999 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Turbo molecular vacuum pumps constitute a critical component in many accelerator installations, where failures can be costly in terms of both money and lost beam time. Catastrophic failures can be averted if prior warning is given through a continuous online monitoring scheme. This paper describes the use of modern machine learning techniques for online monitoring of the pump condition through the measurement and analysis of pump vibrations. Abductive machine learning is used for modeling the pump status as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ using both radial and axial vibration signals measured close to the pump bearing. Compared to other statistical methods and neural network techniques, this approach offers faster and highly automated model synthesis, requiring little or no user intervention. Normalized 50-channel spectra derived from the low frequency region (0–10 kHz) of the pump vibration spectra provided data inputs for model development. Models derived by training on only 10 observations predict the correct value of the logical pump status output with 100% accuracy for an evaluation population as large as 500 cases. Radial vibration signals lead to simpler models and smaller errors in the computed value of the status output. Performance is comparable with literature data on a similar diagnosis scheme for compressor valves using neural networks.