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Eckel Enables Briggs & Stratton to Build Ultra-Quiet Product Test Environment

The two anechoic chambers were designed and build by ACS and Eckel, which was also tasked with supplying the acoustic treatment for the test chambers.

The two anechoic chambers were designed and build by ACS and Eckel, which was also tasked with supplying the acoustic treatment for the test chambers.

Briggs & Stratton’s 2-meter chamber is used for product development. Image courtesy of Briggs & Stratton.

Briggs & Stratton has a newly renovated Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) laboratory, located in Wauwatosa, WI, that features two anechoic chambers outfitted with sound-absorbing acoustic wedges from Eckel Noise Control Technologies (Ayer, MA). These chambers are designed to analyze and tailor the noise produced by small engines used in a range of lawn, garden and light construction equipment, including lawn mowers, standby generators, power washers, snow blowers and air compressors.

The renovation was performed by ACS, Inc. (Middleton, WI). The two anechoic chambers were designed and build by ACS and Eckel, which was also tasked with supplying the acoustic treatment for the test chambers. Installation of the acoustic wedges was performed by Viking Enterprises, Inc. (Waterford, CT).

The smaller chamber, known as the 2M chamber because it accommodates a 2-meter hemispherical array of microphones for sound testing, has an interior dimension of 21 ft. 1½ in. wide, 26 ft. 4½ in. long and 10 ft. 9 in. high. This chamber is used for engine product development and testing of smaller finished products like lawn mowers, snow blowers and pressure washers. A 30 HP dynamometer is contained in an isolated, subfloor enclosure. The setup allows engineers to measure and control engine vibration and to design quieter engines with a pleasing tone and pitch.  An overhead monorail crane is used to move equipment into place.

Briggs & Stratton’s 4-meter chamber is used for certification testing. Image courtesy of Briggs & Stratton/Eckel Noise Control Technologies.

The larger chamber, called the 4M chamber, has a 4-meter hemispherical microphone array and has an interior dimension of 32 ft. 8¾ in. wide, 33 ft. ¾ in. long and 17 ft. 8 in. high. This chamber is used to analyze larger equipment like lawn and garden tractors and large home standby generators.  Below the floor is an isolated 40 HP dynamometer. This chamber is also used for certification testing to ensure that products comply with domestic and international noise regulations. The chamber features a large overhead bridge crane to move equipment. Both chambers were designed with ventilation systems that provide 100% air change per minute to accommodate engine exhaust while maintaining a constant chamber temperature.

Having two chambers gives Briggs & Stratton increased productivity and flexibility. The company makes engines not only for its own branded products, but also for other OEMs such as MTD and John Deere. Briggs & Stratton offers the use of the chambers to its OEMs for the testing of their finished products. No other engine manufacturer has this capability. 

Eckel outfitted both chambers with its standard, perforated-metal sound absorbing wedges designed with a 100Hz cutoff (per ISO 3745 standard), meaning that 99.0% of the sound energy generated above that frequency is absorbed by the panels. A key challenge, according to Eckel’s Jeff Morse, VP of Engineering, was to maintain the acoustic integrity of the chamber given the stringent HVAC system requirements.

Briggs & Stratton found that working with ACS and Eckel to build the chambers was beneficial. “The ACS and Eckel teams were excellent. I can’t say enough about how they worked to get us exactly what we wanted,” says Brett Birschbach, Briggs & Stratton’s NVH engineering manager.

“Eckel’s vast experience helped to integrate the functional requirements of Briggs & Stratton’s testing into a multipurpose test space set to support testing needs well into the future,” according to Randy Rozema, director, Applications Engineering of AC. “The finished installation was something Eckel and ACS proudly turned over to Briggs & Stratton at the end of the project.”

Sources: Press materials received from the company.

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Briggs & Stratton

Eckel Noise Control Technologies

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