A brief review on techniques of machine condition monitoring is presented followed by a description and results of a study involving the monitoring of vibration signatures of several rolling element bearings with a view to detecting incipient failure. The vibration data were analyzed and several parameters were assessed with regard to their effectiveness in the detection of bearing condition. It was found that all the parameters were of some value depending on the type of bearing failure encountered. Generally, frequency domain parameters were more consistent in the detection of damage than time domain parameters. However, sufficient evidence is produced to show that it would be unreliable to depend exclusively on any one technique to detect bearing damage.

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