Smartify assets using fiber optic sensors


Smartify assets using fiber optic sensors


Bearings and gears are used in many mechatronic systems and currently there is lack of direct measurements to accurately detect and quantify initiation of defects and degradation. Today’s  indirect measurements by accelerometers and microphones lack accuracy, robustness, interpretability and the direct correlation between the level of diagnostic indicators and the real size of defects, which could allow the defect quantification. At the same time, periodic preventive maintenance interventions are expensive and do not capture all defect coverage while existing diagnostic algorithms and indicators require much tuning per application and lack easy transfer to other sizes.

The application of Fiber Optic Sensor Arrays and new algorithms allow for:

  • Identification of damage ground truth
    • Damage initialization
    • Damage position & size
    • Bearing slip
  • Load sensing for model verification and monitoring
    • Static and/or dynamic load
    • Identification of load zone
  • Detection of damage in bearings and gears
    • Under steady and varying conditions
    • Reducing the need for tuning

Project goals

This project aims to:

  • Optimize the maintenance by continuous monitoring the machines/assets with sensors that can detect and track bearing and gear faults.
  • Have detailed and accurate information about the initiation and the evolution of bearings and gears degradation by smartifying products and machines.
  • Provide design verification and support tools for bearings and gears, to model the degradation of bearings and gears and to develop, test, evaluate and use accurate, reliable and robust diagnostic methods for direct or indirect detection, diagnosis and tracking of bearing and gear faults.

The usage of Fiber Optics provide following opportunities:

  • Multiple sensors in one fiber
  • Multiple variables: vibration, temperature, load
  • Robustness against EMI
  • The monitoring of a factory with hundreds of machines could be realized using a limited number of interrogators which capture data sequentially from the different channels.

Research challenges for this project include:

  • Correct mounting of fibers (bearing face, band clamp, ring)
  • Data transfer (slip rings, wireless)
  • Interrogation
  • SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio)

And should lead to following reusable results:

  • Fiber optics based system for condition monitoring
  • Toolbox of diagnostic indicators (direct/indirect calibrated based on the ground truth)
  • Multi-sensor, labeled based on ground truth information
  • Datasets for bearings, gears etc.


SAFOS_SBO is a Strategic Basic Research project. We are looking for companies to join the User Group and work with us on the valorisation of the project.

Interested? Complete the form below and we will contact you as soon as possible.