Technical diagnostics

Technical diagnostics

Technical diagnostics is a 2nd semester course held at University of Ljubljana, Slovenia.


2. semester - University of Ljubljana, Slovenia


Assistant Prof. Dr. Marko Polajnar, Prof. Dr. Mitjan Kalin

Course Points (ECTS)


Contact Information

University of Ljubljana, SLO

Course Overview

Module objectives

The Technical diagnostics course acquaints the students with the importance, technology and economic feasibility of the maintenance process using technical diagnostics. The maintenance process involving an on-going monitoring of equipment operation is a brand new maintenance technology, aimed to substantially alleviate the maintenance costs. In Europe, these costs amount to 7% of GDP in industrial systems and to 11% of GDP in energy systems. In scope of the course, the students will first be familiarized with operational reliability, maintainability and availability of production systems. They will learn about the types and sources of damage, and about consequent primary and secondary losses. They will learn to determine the critical points in production devices, and master the necessary technology for planned maintenance and for condition-based maintenance. The basic course goal is to acquaint the students with the condition monitoring systems, and with pre-processing and processing of signals, carrying the indication about a fault occurrence. They will learn the methods for the extraction of fault features and the procedure for forming the feature vector. The features serve as the base for diagnosing the location, cause and intensity of damages. In addition to fault identification and knowing the trend of how the damages change in time, the students will also learn some methods for predicting the propagation of damages in time. In addition to predictions, the students will also be acquainted with the methods and options available to act when the damages occur. In scope of this course, the students will learn about state-of-the-art signal processing and storage methods, as well as about fault indicators such as temperature, lubrication properties, vibration and acoustical effects. The practical goal of the course is to educate the students for the practical application of diagnostic systems.

Knowledge outcome

The students will be qualified for autonomous creative work in the field of fault indicator acquisition, extraction, analysis and storage. The knowledge assimilated will enable them to manage the maintenance process using technical diagnostics in any company or institution. The course also delivers a comprehensive overview of maintenance costs and the ways of reducing them.

Outline syllabus

  • Introduction (life cycle of a production system, the influence of maintenance, advantages and disadvantages of available maintenance technologies, maintenance strategy, types of maintenance costs)
  • Theoretical foundations (theoretical foundations for the determination of operating reliability, maintainability and availability of production systems);
  • Technical system faults and malfunctions (fault models, primary and secondary faults, determining the critical damage points, design, material and tribologic damage on critical points, assembly faults)
  • Failure indicators (temperature, changed lubricant properties, lubricant contamination, operating parameters, acoustics, vibration, environment);
  • Diagnostic system design and information flow;
  • Condition monitoring systems (monitoring types, technical system selection, sensors, measurement chain);
  • Condition monitoring techniques (on-line, off-line, destructive and nondestructive techniques, combination of techniques, the structure of signal acquisition and pre-processing systems);
  • Condition diagnosing system (the structure of diagnostic systems, generating features, time and statistical indices, Fourier series, Wiener-Khinchin theorem, Gabor-Heisenberg uncertainty principle, frequency resolution, wavelet transform, Hilbert transform, prognostics, practical cases);
  • Sampling, analysing and evaluating particles in oil;
  • Damage classification and analysis systems;
  • Examples of practical system monitoring and proposals for the introduction of diagnostic systems to maintenance.

Monitoring of student progress:

  • written and oral examination


  • D. Palmer: Maintenance Planning and Scheduling Handbook, McGraw-Hill,1999.
  • C. Scheffer, P. Girdhar: Machinery Vibration Analaysis and Predictive Maintenance, Elsevier, 2004.
  • C. T. Hatch, B. Grissom: Fundamentals of Rotating machinery Diagnostics, Bently, 2002.
  • H.-J. Weidemann: Schwingungsanalyse in der Antriebstechnik, Springer, 2003.