Through the intelligent classification of bearing faults, predictive maintenance provides for the possibility of service schedule, inventory, maintenance, and safety optimization. However, real-world rotating machinery undergo a variety of operating conditions, fault conditions, and noise. Due to these factors, it is often required that a fault detection algorithm perform accurately even on data outside its trained domain. Although open-source datasets offer an incredible opportunity to advance the performance of predictive maintenance technology and methods, more research is required to develop algorithms capable of generalized intelligent fault detection across domains and discrepancies. In this study, current benchmarks on source–target domain discrepancy challenges are reviewed using the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and the Paderborn University (PbU) datasets. A convolutional neural network (CNN) architecture and data augmentation technique more suitable for generalization tasks is proposed and tested against existing benchmarks on the Pb U dataset by training on artificial faults and testing on real faults. The proposed method improves fault classification by 13.35%, with less than half the standard deviation of the compared benchmark. Transfer learning is then used to leverage the larger PbU dataset in order to make predictions on the CWRU dataset under a challenging source-target domain discrepancy in which there is minimal training data to adequately represent unseen bearing faults. The transfer learning-based CNN is found to be capable of generalizing across two open-source datasets, resulting in an improvement in accuracy from 53.1% to 68.3%.

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