Dynamic preventive maintenance on the Smart‐L radar

Sierd Heida – Thales Nederland BV (April - Dec 2013)


Critical parts of mechanical systems are usually maintained by preventive maintenance. In many applications maintenance is executed based on calendar time or used hours. This conservative approach can lead to either replacing the part too early (throwing away useful life of the part) or replacing the part too late (failure of the system).

Figure 1 SMART-L radar.

Figure 2 Loads affecting the radar bearing service life.

This research focuses on understanding the failure mechanisms of the main bearing of the Smart-L radar system. Translating the cause of the critical failure mechanisms into usage parameters opens the road to implement more dynamic based maintenance concepts. Due to the insight in the failure mechanisms a better prediction of the remaining useful life of the bearing can be achieved, which will reduce the costs of replacing too early or too late.


  • •The failure behaviour of the radar main bearing has been characterized
  • •The loads and influence factors of the radar have been identified (see Fig. 2)
  • •A model for the bearing service life calculation is proposed (see Fig. 3)
  • •A tool has been developed to predict bearing service life consumption for different scenarios (see Fig. 4)

Figure 3 Bearing life model.

Figure 4 Prediction of remaining useful life for various scenarios.