Vibration damping is a practice used widely within industrial settings
to control, reduce or eliminate the vibrations and mechanical noises
produced by machinery during operations. Vibration, especially when part
of a continuous process has the potential to cause damage over time as
it can wear away components and surroundings, as well as create an
unpleasant work environment.
Equipment deterioration can create problems for worker safety, and the costs of maintaining machinery can soon add up. In large mechanical systems, uncontrolled vibrations can lead to degraded performance, procedural errors or outright structural failure. And in most vehicles, unexpected jolts can result in an unpleasant driving experience or even engine damage. Shock absorbers will help to prevent these negative results and therefore, it is important for manufacturers to reduce vibratory waves and movements within operations. Industrial applications such as power transmission systems, automobiles and some buildings all implement elements of vibration damping techniques. Vibration dampers are an inexpensive solution to a potentially very expensive problem. They are easy to maintain and often have a long life span, although in some operations they may need to be replaced more often due to the high level of wear and tear in machinery that is continually operating.
There are a number of different ways in which to reduce vibrations including: rubber pads and mounts, brushings, engine mounts and rubber bumpers. However, the most common components of vibration damping are in the form of plates and springs. The plates are used in engines, generators, pumps, compressors and industrial and processing machines and are most often made of rubber or another elastomeric material which is used for its absorbing properties. Placed in between two surfaces, the vibration dampening plates prevent or at the least reduce the transfer of kinetic energy between the two surfaces, ensuring a smoother running of the machine. Vibration dampers are often multi-layered in order to absorb the highest number of vibrations, and using compression and shear are able to absorb motion waves coming from different directions. Springs are typically used in automobiles to diminish the sound inside the vehicle and often used a liquid or silicone substance to absorb engine and road noise. Both regular automobiles and heavy-duty trucks use vibration dampers to improve passenger comfort. There are also add-on vibration damping devices such as joints and supports which further reduce the disturbance of machinery and equipment, and help preserve optimum performance.