Introduction to Vibration Testing
Vibration testing is used to determine how well a product will withstand its expected service and transportation environments. Equipment that must withstand vibration testing includes automotive, aerospace, machinery, electrical, medical and power. Performing a vibration test reproduces one of the most severe real-world environmental conditions that equipment will encounter. Since vibration testing is crucial during product development, selecting and using vibration testing equipment is an important step for engineers and product managers.
Vibration Testing Equipment
Vibration testing equipment includes accelerometers, controllers, analyzers, amplifiers, shakers, and vibration test fixtures. While each industry utilizes vibration testing in a unique manner, the most important components of a vibration test system are basically the same. Vibration is measured and controlled using displacement transducers or accelerometers. Vibration monitoring equipment includes PC-based controllers and analyzers. Shakers come in electrodynamic or hydraulic versions. Vibration is transmitted to the test product using stiff, lightweight test fixtures.
Vibration Analyzers & Controllers
Vibration analyzers and controllers are perhaps the most important component in a vibration test system. These data acquisition systems are independent of the other test equipment, allowing any analyzer or controller to operate within any vibration test system. PC-based analyzers and controllers provide extensive data acquisition, modal analysis, and data analysis capability. Random vibration testing is a popular method that is provided by today’s vibration controllers.
Vibration shakers are available in electrodynamic or hydraulic versions. Electrodynamic shakers are used for smaller products that require smaller displacements and a larger frequency range. Electrodynamic shakers are powered by amplifiers that may rival a radio station for electrical power output. Hydraulic shakers are used for larger products that require larger displacement, lower frequency vibration. Vibration shaker systems are versatile enough so that shock and vibration testing can be performed on test products.
Vibration Test Fixtures
Vibration test fixtures are designed to transmit the specified vibration to the test product. Because a fixture can transmit undesirable vibration to the test item, vibration test fixtures are designed to be stiff and lightweight. Using vibration test fixtures, testing can be performed in both horizontal and vertical orientations, decreasing the cost of the test significantly.