Reduction of noise levels in vaccum cleaners
The work described in this thesis is directed towards the reduction of noise levels in the Hoover Turbopower upright vacuum cleaner. The experimental work embodies a study of such factors as the application of noise source identification techniques, investigation of the noise generating principles for each major source and evaluation of the noise reducing treatments. It was found that the design of the vacuum cleaner had not been optimised from the standpoint of noise emission. Important factors such as noise `windows', isolation of vibration at the source, panel rattle, resonances and critical speeds had not been considered. Therefore, a number of experimentally validated treatments are proposed. Their noise reduction benefit together with material and tooling costs are presented. The solutions to the noise problems were evaluated on a standard Turbopower and the sound power level of the cleaner was reduced from 87.5 dB(A) to 80.4 db(A) at a cost of 93.6 pence per cleaner. The designers' lack of experience in noise reduction was identified as one of the factors for the low priority given to noise during design of the cleaner. Consequently, the fundamentals of acoustics, principles of noise prediction and absorption and guidelines for good acoustical design were collated into a Handbook and circulated at Hoover plc. Mechanical variations during production of the motor and the cleaner were found to be important. These caused a vast spread in the noise levels of the cleaners. Subsequently, the manufacturing processes were briefly studied to identify their source and recommendations for improvement are made. Noise of a product is quality related and a high level of noise is considered to be a bad feature. This project suggested that the noise level be used constructively both as a test on the production line to identify cleaners above a certain noise level and also to promote the product by `designing' the characteristics of the sound so that the appliance is pleasant to the user. This project showed that good noise control principles should be implemented early in the design stage. As yet there are no mandatory noise limits or noise-labelling requirements for household appliances. However, the literature suggests that noise-labelling is likely in the near future and the requirement will be to display the A-weighted sound power level. However, the `noys' scale of perceived noisiness was found more appropriate to the rating of appliance noise both as it is linear and therefore, a sound level that seems twice as loud is twice the value in noys and also takes into consideration the presence of pure tones, which even in the absence of a high noise level can lead to annoyance.