Testing Times : Why & How We Measure Noise & Vibration

We’re going to look today at some of the practical aspects of testing and consider why it’s important that you should measure and, more importantly, understand the noise and vibration of your products

The current global economic situation means that times are tough for everyone. It’s now that you need a competitive edge; that little bit extra. You need that advantage that will convince your customers to choose your product over your competitors.

Plainly, there are many factors that influence a buyer. The visual design of an object is obviously very important, but what about the sound? Automobiles are a good example of products that need to sound right. Sure, a potential customer may really love that piece of shiny chrome trim, but perhaps they’ll be more influenced by the sound of the V8 or, maybe, the smooth silent ride.

While we concentrate mainly on automotive examples in this article, it’s the same around the house. Will a buyer really want a dishwasher that makes so much noise they can’t listen to the radio or a fridge that makes them jump every time it switches on and off? It’s all very well having the blackest, shiniest bevel on your 42″ TV, but what if the discerning customer thinks the sound isn’t good enough?

So, without further ado, let’s look at some of the many and varied examples of how we go about testing noise, vibration, harshness & refinement.

Sound Steering : An Objective Measure Of Noise

Power steering noise & vibration test

The requirement was to develop a ‘standard’ test for assessing the sound quality of power steering pumps in vehicles. Measurements needed to be objective so that the method would be suitable for evaluating dissimilar vehicles and different types of pump…
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Developing An Algorithm For Tick Testing

Noise & Vibration - Developing An Algorithm For Tick Testing

An investigation was made of a sample of automotive components where some were exhibiting a high frequency “tick” or rattle during each operating cycle. This feature could be heard above the normal operating noise. The problem this posed was to measure and analyze components in an objective fashion and classify components as “good” or “bad”…
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Comparing Vibration Levels Using Different Bicycle Suspension Setups

Vibration levels on bicycle suspension

This video was sent to us by one of our customers. It shows how a Prosig P8000 was used to measure the vibration transmitted through different configurations of bicycle suspension. Two are traditional setups (a rigid bike and a dual suspension one) and the third is a new interconnected suspension (likened to a railway bogie)…
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Human Exposure To Vibration In Buildings

Human Exposure To Vibration In Buildings

Standards DIN 4150-2:1999-06 and DIN 45669-1:1995-06 provide a means of assessing the effect on human beings of vibration caused by vehicle traffic, trains both above and below ground, construction work and occasional impulsive type vibration caused by, say, blasting and the like…
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The Causes Of Road Noise

Causes of road noise

Road noise (the noise produced by the interaction of tires and road surface) is in many circumstances the dominant noise experienced by vehicle occupants. The requirements for producing quieter roads and tires need to be balanced with the need to ensure that safety is not compromised. For example, a very smooth road surface provides the quietest ride, but this would provide little friction and therefore would provide very poor braking performance. The origin and nature of the sound produced by road/tire interaction is extremely complex…
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Measuring Brake Noise

Brake Noise Testing

The objective of the brake noise tests was to record the braking events of cars being driven on various types of road and classify those events according to their type (Groan, Creep or Squeal etc) and severity. To do this the customer needed a system capable of working for long periods inside a vehicle in fairly tough conditions (high ambient temperatures, rough road) that was both quick to install and to remove….
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So there you have it! A quick tour of just a few of the whys and wherefores of measuring noise & vibration. As we said at the start, the theme of this post is automotive testing, but the same techniques of measurement and analysis are just as valid across a whole range of products from aircraft to mobile phones.

Please leave a comment if you have your own examples, stories or questions. Or if you’d like to know more about any of the above click the ‘Contact Us’ button on the left of this page.



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Chris Mason

General Manager at Prosig
Chris' passion for software, technology and innovation began in his teens with a diet of Sinclair ZX80's, Commodore Pets and early Apple products. Chris graduated from Portsmouth Polytechnic in 1983 and went on to have a career in software product development, software team management, web development, marketing and, now, general management. His other passions include bicycles, IoT, coffee, running, walking, cooking and supercharged Jags.

2 thoughts on “Testing Times : Why & How We Measure Noise & Vibration

  1. prof kuppuswamy anantharaman

    please send published articles and notes on vibration, noise and silencer designs

    with warm regards

    anantharaman k

  2. Vibration Monitoring

    Fantastic post, I really appreciated your professional manner of writing this post. Its extremely helpful and informative.

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