Vibration damping for machines and equipment dissipates potentially-damaging energy that can reduce service life, loosen fasteners, and suggest poor quality. Vibration, a back-and-forth movement or oscillation, also produces structure-borne noise. Custom vibration dampers, a type of acoustic insulation, helps solve these challenges.

When designing machinery or equipment, engineers need to identify the specific frequency or range of frequencies at which vibration occurs. For example, the low-frequency rumble of a diesel engine in forestry, mining, or agricultural equipment can cause the vehicle’s windows to rattle. These vibrations produce unwanted sounds (noise) and can damage the window glass.

Custom vibration dampers that are “tuned” to the frequency of the engine noise can reduce or eliminate these vibrations. Yet design engineers also need to choose the right vibration damping materials for the application environment. Sometimes, there also industry standards or regulatory requirements to consider. To control costs and ensure quality, it’s important to use the right fabrication techniques, too.

Vibration Damping Materials for Machines and Equipment

Custom vibration dampers can be made of extruded vinyl, asphalt-impregnated paperboard, metal foil, or fiberglass.

  • Extruded vinyl dampers are flexible, lightweight, and available in grades that meet specific industry standards. For example, vinyl that meets UL 94 V0 flammability requirements is used in hospital equipment, kitchen appliances, and computer housings. Vinyl that meets ASTM E662 for the optical density of smoke and ASTM 162 for surface flammability is used in buses, trains, and subways.

  • Asphalt-impregnated paperboard dampers are odorless, wear-resistant, waterproof, lightweight, and cost-effective. Like extruded vinyl, they’re supplied in sheets that can be cut to size and then laminated to other materials. For example, asphalt-impregnated paperboard can be laminated to sound barriers. Asphalt-impregnated paperboard can also be bonded to flat or curved panels in built structures.

  • Metal foil dampers can be applied directly to structural components or bonded to other types of insulating materials. For example, aluminum foil can provide the facing for a sandwich-like structure that includes a sound absorber and a heat blocker. To support vibration damping, metal foils can be embossed so that raised features in the foil disrupt sound waves as they travel across the surface.

  • Fiberglass dampers are made of a reinforced plastic that’s composed of glass fibers embedded in a resin matrix. These thin, composite materials include laminates with a viscoelastic compound that’s sandwiched in the center. For optimum damping performance, both outer layers of the fiberglass may have the same thickness. Applications include acoustic hoods and housings.

Vibration Damper Fabrication for Machines and Equipment

Vibration dampers for machines and equipment are cut from sheet materials and can be laminated to other types of insulation. They can also feature a release liner with a pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) for peel-and-stick installation. For engineers, it’s important to understand how choosing the right fabrication method affects cost, consistency, and quality.

  • Cutting can be done in-house or by a custom fabricator. Manual cutting with a knife, saw, or other hand tools may seem cost-effective, but poor-quality cuts can result in rework and material waste. By contrast, water jet cutting creates fine, fast, consistent cuts that maximize material yields. Plus, unlike die cutting, there’s no paying for or waiting for tooling with water jet technology.

  • Laminating combines vibration dampers with other types of materials in a sandwich-like structure. To avoid delamination, this bonding process requires the right adhesives and the efforts of skilled production personnel. Some vibration damping materials, such a fiberglass with a viscoelastic core, are laminated when they’re manufactured. Other vibration dampers are laminated during custom fabrication.

Find Custom Vibration Dampers

Elasto Proxy custom-fabricates vibration dampers for machines and equipment. In addition to water jet cutting and lamination, we provide design assistance and help with material selection. We even have our own in-house testing laboratory for acoustical materials. For more information, please contact Elasto Proxy. You can also ask for the Elasto Bag and receive insulation samples. 

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