vibration measurements car

Automotive - Development, vibration analysis & testing

The duration of product development processes from concept to series production is getting shorter and shorter. This is particularly the case in the automotive industry, where the switch to electromobility is accelerating change. New components and the use of lightweight construction require extensive vibration analysis.

Even though the mechanical properties of components and entire component groups are increasingly and more precisely examined by numerical simulations, experimental measurements of physical objects are still required to validate these calculations. Non-contact measurement techniques such as laser vibrometry have the advantage that they do not influence the vibrations of the components and deliver excellent results in a very short time with little effort.

The superior signal quality of the Optomet infrared technology produces the best possible measurement results even on poorly reflective surfaces. This makes the devices suitable for measuring any component, regardless of its material or optical reflectivity. The Optomet’s ease of use and powerful measurement capability reduces development time.

Whatever your non-contact vibration application, be it in the wind tunnel, on the rotation test rig, in the acoustics laboratory, for experimental modal testingor for the development of components such as sensors or drives, the Optomet team will be happy to assist you in selecting the suitable vibrometry solution and implementing it.


Aeroacoustics deals with the noise caused by aerodynamic flow. Turbulent flow as well as flow through and around structures creates vibrations on components. These vibrations, in turn, are responsible for the generation and emission of sound waves, some of which people perceive as unpleasant. Ever stricter emission regulations also increase the need for noise-reducing designs.

Noise reduction is particularly important in the aerospace and automotive industries. Examples of noise include, engine noises on aircraft or wind noises on motor vehicles and high-speed trains. As other sounds of noise are more and more reduced or eliminated, as is apparent from the replacement of internal combustion engines in motor vehicles by electric drives, flow induced noise is perceived as more present and disruptive.

The airborne sound  is measured by microphones or entire arrays of microphones. However, when it comes to identifying the possible sound sources, measurement methods with better spatial resolution, such as scanning laser Doppler vibrometry, are required.

With the Optomet Laser Scanning Vibrometers, both small structures and entire vehicles can be examined without contact and with high accuracy. The user-friendly OptoSCAN software enables the measurement to be carried out quickly and offers a wide range of meaningful analysis  and clear two-dimensional and animated displays for this task. For example, the correlation of the forms of vibration with the frequencies recorded in airborne noise can be used to draw important conclusions about the location and the type of sound generation, and suitable design measures for noise suppression can be taken.

The infrared laser technology (SWIR) of the Optomet Scanning Vibrometer produces a sufficient signal level for a reliable vibration measurement even at larger measuring distances of more than 10 meters. Even dark or reflective curved measuring surfaces can be measured without a reflection-enhancing treatment. Measurements through thick glass surfaces between vibrometer and measurement object are also possible without impairments.



Brake Noise

Brake noise is one of the top customer complaint issues in the automotive industry.  Though brake noise is predominantly a subjective annoyance issue which represents a high cost of warranty repair to the manufacturer, performance and durability may also be compromised through undesirable dynamic behavoir of the braking system.  Manufacturer’s work with suppliers and sub-suppliers to develop new optimized brake systems or address issues with existing designs.

The dynamic behavior of the brake system is critical in the overall assessment of a vehicle’s braking functional and perceived performance. Because occupant comfort is of such high importance in automotive development, manufacturers aim to reduce warranty repair costs and offer better Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH) to win market share by eliminating brake squeal. Especially in the premium vehicle segment, acoustic comfort is an important factor for potential buyers regarding their purchase decision. In addition, brake noise is increasingly perceived, the more other noise sources like engine noises are eliminated, for example by the use of modern electric drives.

The cause of the brake squeal is the friction between the brake disc and the brake pads and the resulting excitation of vibration modes at frequencies which are perceived as unpleasant by the human ear. In brake development, finite element models are used to determine such modes and to suppress their occurrence by suitably adapting the brake geometry or other design measures.

The Optomet Scanning Laser Doppler Vibrometer allows the non-contact detection, analysis and 3D animated representation of vibrations  occurring on the surfaces of the brake disc, pad and caliper.This enables the finite element model calculations to be precisely compared with and validated by the actual vibration behaviour.

To investigate the brake dynamics  the brake can be excited to vibrate with a modal hammer, or the brake vibrations can be measured under operating conditions. The first method provides all modes of the braking system, but the influence of fastenings and couplings on the vibration behaviour is neglected, as well as typical modes experienced by the driver in the actual car. In the second method, scanning laser technology is used for operational vibration analysis of the system consisting of brake discs, pads and calipers on brake test dynos under conditions that are as close to real-world conditions as possible. However, the targeted stimulation of squeaking noises is usually not easily repeatable. The Optomet Scanning Laser Vibrometers are designed to measure only when the brake squeal is occurring which saves time and improves testing efficiency.

The Optomet SWIR laser vibrometer technology is ideally suited for the measurement of brake systems and components in vehicle construction. The decisive advantage of the Optomet solution compared to conventional HeNe-based systems is particularly evident when measuring rotating brake discs on the dyno. Back-to-back tests of SWIR and HeNe vibrometers have shown that due to the excessive optical signal noise level, HeNe systems are unable to provide measurement data of sufficient quality or signal to noise ratio. The resonances to be examined are lost in the noise. The use of the Optomet SWIR laser vibrometer technology, on the other hand, brings about a dramatic improvement and in these applications delivers data with noise levels that are 40 dB to 50 dB below the resonance peaks.



Electric Drives

Modern cars have many electric drives built in, some of which are in the direct area of perception of the occupants of the car, such as electric windows, electric sunroof, servo motors for outside mirrors, wiper motor or seat adjusters. Other drives operate without being perceived directly, such as fuel and coolant pumps or blower motors.

Beyond their desired function, these drives an also be a source of objectionable noise. Such extraneous noise can become clearly audible, especially in electric or hybrid vehicles where the combustion engine as one of the main sources of noise is eliminated.

Laser vibrometers from Optomet are ideal in assisting design and test engineers in localizing, visualizing, quantifying and eliminating such sources of undesirable noise. 



Haptic Displays

In the age of tablets and smartphones, we have long become used to swiping instead of typing. However, many users find it difficult to type on virtual keyboards because they cannot see through their fingertip which point on the touch screen is being touched.

Safety issues arise when touch-sensitive displays are used during the operation of a vehicle. One solution is haptic displays which make keys and slide controls physically perceptible on the display. They provide tactile feedback to a user’s finger during the execution of his or her commands without the need to look at the screen.

Optomet laser Doppler vibrometers are indispensable tools during the development of such haptic displays as well as for their quality assurance in production.



Where does the annoying noise come from?

Automotive Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) is the study and modification of the noise and vibration characteristics of passenger vehicles.  Generally, a vehicles NVH is modified to eliminate or reduce unwanted sound or vibration which improves occupant comfort and perception of vehicle quality.  NVH tests are used to localize sound sources and eliminate them which provides occupants the best experience possible.

Laser scanning vibrometers from Optomet with their high spatial resolution and their high signal-to-noise ratio on any surface are particularly suitable for locating the sources of sound and vibration. With the simple and intuitive software for the measurement process, the meaningful 3D visualization of the data and the fast automated scanning process, product surfaces can be examined in a very short time.

The numerous options for displaying and exporting the measurement data facilitate communication with colleagues. Based on the results, engineers can, for example, rethink component connections or geometries and increase damping at suitable points.



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