Transmission heAlth Monitoring (TAM)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Oxford
Department Name: Engineering Science


The Oxford University team will develop and design the eddy current sensors, sensor-electronics concepts around the existing Oxford IP using specialists in sensors, materials, wind turbine technology, computer modellers and experimentalists. A more robust pre-production system will be manufactured by GSS which the Oxford team will specify, test and validate and iterate with GSS for optimisation of the system. The team will lead the evaluation of the system, initially in Lab trials at Oxford followed by trials at Newcastle University gearbox rigs. Gearbox measurements will be performed to assess the sensor system performance, including back-to-back validation and comparison with COTS sensors: Assessment of damage detection and wear including micro-pitting will be provided and optimisation of the sensor system for wear detection. For the gearbox rig testing programme validation will include concepts on a more representative gearbox facility. The Oxford team has extensive experience of rival technologies, including remote vibro-acoustic and oil debris analysers. The team will address monitoring faults using sensors mounted on the gearbox test rig, allowing detection of early wear and pitting through to mapping advanced fault symptoms, and offering multiple level applicability to wind turbine operations and high quality data for scientific and turbine improvements.

Planned Impact

The proposed research will impact general eddy current sensor research and the application of these sensors to rotating components such as gears and in particular gearboxes. The research findings will be disseminated through publications both in the UK and internationally and also to gearbox manufacturers through workshops that will be held with the British Gear Association who has over 65 partners such as Rolls Royce and David Brown, Cranfield University, Ricardo, Shell Global Solutions and several gear manufacturers.

The research will provide impact through other researchers in the field of eddy current sensor development and the application of these to rotating components and in-service use. In addition the research will include signal conditioning electronics and the transmission system, which again will be disseminated through papers that will be published at
international conferences.

The research should also impact other applications such as shaft cracking in gas turbine engines and helicopter rotary system drive shafts and the rail industry. The research would benefit the automotive sector directly where a number of applications use eddy current sensors.

There are a number of research teams in the UK, Europe and the US that develop eddy current sensors and also develop sensors for gearbox wear detection that would benefit directly. The use of eddy current sensors in general in both rotating and non-rotating applications is extensive and therefore this research will contribute to that field both in academia and industry.

Impact should be realised through organisations such as QinetiQ, Rolls Royce, Alstom, Siemens, Rotadata, Micro Epsilon, etc as they are all users or developers of eddy current sensors in general and will in particular gain benefit from an in-service rotating application.

Current sensors for gearbox health monitoring are considered in adequate by manufacturers such as GE, Vestas. David Brown and others, this research will provide a new dimension, step change, to this field as detection of faults by directly scanning the gear teeth in-service which, has not previously been attempted. The advances that will be made in the signal conditioning, data transmission from wind turbines in general will benefit the industry as a whole for other sensing technologies. Data that is generated on how the wear progresses on gear teeth will benefit the gearbox industry and researchers in this field.


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Description The system can be power managed by only collecting data when the gears are meshed to allow a 3 year battery life. This is the service interval of the wind turbine gearbox and therefore the system will last the full service period with power management. The sensors developed can detect gear teeth defects as they occur.
Exploitation Route The technology is licenced and is being developed for a wind turbine gearbox.
Sectors Aerospace, Defence and Marine,Energy

Description AltEnergis Licence 
Organisation AltEnergis Plc
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Help with exploitation into the wind turbine market through presentations, reports. AltEnergis has placed a contract with the Eng Sci Department at Oxford to further develop the technology to a higher TRL. The funding is provided by AlTEnergis, PV funding.
Collaborator Contribution Exploitation through gearbox manufacturers. Funding for a project at Oxford to develop the technology to a higher TRL.
Impact A further project has been funded by AltEnergis at Oxford University to develop the technology further.
Start Year 2012
Description Romax/ IUK 
Organisation Romax Technology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Submitted an Innovate UK proposal in collaboration with Romax for approx. £2M for offshore wind turbine application but this was unsuccessful. This will be rebid to a future call.
Collaborator Contribution Romax was offering the 50% matching funding.
Impact IUK bid submitted.
Start Year 2018
Title Gearbox sensor 
Description Idler wheel with eddy current sensors for detecting gear teeth wear, TAM project used to generate data and prove concept. 
IP Reference GB1200253.1 
Protection Patent granted
Year Protection Granted 2017
Licensed Yes
Impact None yet in the process of being further developed.
Description Rolls Royce Presentation for power gearbox application 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presentation/ Seminar at Rolls Royce to show the research for possible use within RR on the power gearbox for both test validation and possible development for in-service use.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019