Evaluating Image Classification Deep Convolutional Neural Network Architectures for Remaining Useful Life Estimation of Turbofan Engines



Published Nov 15, 2022
Nathaniel DeVol Christopher Saldana Katherine Fu


Accurate estimation of the remaining useful life (RUL) is a key component of condition-based maintenance (CBM) and prognosis and health management (PHM). Data-based models for the estimation of RUL are of particular interest because expert knowledge of systems is not always available, and physical modeling is often not feasible. Additionally, using data-based models, which make decisions based on raw sensor data, allow features to be learned instead of manually determined. In this work, deep convolutional neural network (CNN) architectures are investigated for their ability to estimate the RUL of turbofan engines. To improve the accuracy of the models, CNN architectures, which have proven successful in image classification, are implemented and tested. Specifically, the blocks used in the Visual Geometry Group (VGG) architecture, inception modules used in the GoogLeNet architecture, and residual blocks used in the ResNet architecture are incorporated. To account for varying flight lengths, the input to the models is a window of time series data collected from the engine under test. Window locations at the climb, cruise, and descent stages are considered. To further improve the RUL estimations, multiple overlapping windows at each location are used. This increases the amount of training data available and is found to increase the accuracy of the resulting RUL estimations by averaging the estimates from all overlapping segments. The model is trained and tested using the new Commercial Modular Aero-Propulsion System Simulation (N-CMAPSS) data set, and high prognosis accuracy was achieved. This work expands on the model developed and used in the 2021 PHM Society Data Challenge, which received second place.

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remaining useful life, turbofan engines, convolutional neural networks

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