How to update the current (failing) noise risk management process to make it much more effective – and self-financing Noise Induced Hearing Loss claims of £400,000,000 per annum show that thousands of people are suffering hearing damage, most of which could be avoided by changing the way risk management is is carried out. A simple, innovative approach that dramatically improves the effectiveness of noise risk management was described at the BOHS
Automated Production Line Noise and Vibration Testing
Production line noise and vibration analysis is a powerful tool for quality testing of a wide range of components and products. Production testing not only “closes the loop”, giving immediate diagnostic feedback on component and assembly faults, but it can also provide an objective criterion that can be used to predict subjective customer perceptions and to set quality standards that eliminate warranty claims.
- Automated Noise & Vibration Testing
- Automated Sound Power
- Vehicle and automotive component testing
- Automated gear testing
- Glass breakage detection…
ProTest – the Simple Production Line Noise and Vibration Testing Solution
The ProTest system is a deceptively simple combination of software, hardware and application expertise that facilitates installing manual or fully automated noise / vibration based production test systems for virtually any application. Key features include:
- the engineering expertise that is first used to determine the best measurement techniques for reliable fault detection and is then implemented in the software user control of test parameters, schedules, configuration and degree of interaction required by the operator integration of other parameters (temperature, speed, current ….) selective database storage for SPC etc
- low cost and reliable (PC based using off-the-shelf-components)
Automated Gear mesh Quality Test System
ProTest was used to update the facilities and performance of Gleason gear test machines used to check the quality of differential gear sets. The system was developed to provide fully automated production testing based on gear vibration that not only provides pass/fail warnings for gear quality, but it also automatically evaluates the optimum pinion position for the quietest operation of the given gear pair. This information is then stored with the gear pair and used during assembly to determine the shims required to provide the quietest running condition.
In addition to evaluating the quality of the gear sets, ProTest also automatically acquires vibration data to assess the mechanical condition of the gear test machine itself to ensure the repeatability of the quality testing process.
Gear “Knock” Detection Test System
An automotive gearbox assembly line was fitted with our gear “knock” detection system in parallel with a vision gear-mark test. This uses our own algorithm that is not only auto-calibrating, but has high immunity to other vibration sources. This makes it a very reliable test for minor single tooth imperfections (usually introduced on the “green” gear) that can cause an audible problem once installed in the vehicle.
Automotive Dashboard Sounder Testing
ProTest is used to test the sound quality of automotive warning sounders in the dashboard for different types of vehicle, including the BMW Mini. We carried out the initial engineering diagnosis on “good” and “faulty” units to develop the test technique that is integrated into the electronic binnacle test system. ProTest incorporates these specially developed algorithms that reflect accurately the subjective impression of the noise from the sounders and with no increase in the standard test regime time. As the 100% sounder testing regime eliminates potential warranty claims for this type of fault – the system payed for itself within a few weeks.
Vacuum Pumps – Sound Power and Vibration Signatures
A bar code driven ProTest installation has been used to automate the 100% production testing of vacuum pumps. It not only provides 5 channel 1/3 octave sound power plus vibration signature analysis, but also includes test control functions and parallel capture of temperature and other data.
The vibration analysis facilities have proved to be invaluable. They have been used to identify faulty components and the subtle effects of assembly techniques to improve build quality. Consequently, the system pays for itself several times a year. The vibration signature database is also used to aid fault identification in the field. Whilst the test regime has been continuously extended and updated in-house, the system has proved to be 100% reliable – vital for a production critical application.
Sound Power Test System
ProTest provides turnkey, automated sound power measurement, with systems ranging from simple, very low cost versions (a complete installation for the cost of a sound level meter) up to more sophisticated multi-microphone installations.
Capabilities include octave, third octave, narrow band and additional vibration analysis. The system developed for JCB is used all year round in all weathers to provide automated sound power measurements from an array of 6 microphones (noise levels are captured and displayed in real time).
It has not only worked perfectly from day one – “straight-from-the-box” – but it was also customised to suit precisely the requirements of the test programme and engineers.
Powered Steering Columns Noise and Vibration Production Test
Electrically operated steering columns and their motor / gear components can produce unacceptable levels of noise and vibration that may only become apparent after installation – a costly warranty issue. We not only provided engineering consultancy to reduce the problem at source, but also installed a semi-automated version of ProTest to provide 100% production testing of both components and assembled columns. A fully automated system has also been installed on another production line to predict noisy units and to provide vibration statistics for the customer.
Diesel Engine Damper Fill Detection
If an incompletely filled crankshaft damper is fitted to a large diesel engine, the crankshaft will fail – which can cost well over £20000. We carried out extensive tests on a wide range of dampers and devised an impact noise test that can be used to detect the rare faulty dampers in production. ProTest systems fitted to the lines generate controlled impacts and analyse the response of each damper – only operating the welding machines if the dampers are correctly filled.