The Sound of Success
If you listen carefully, you can hear a subtle change in the market for office and home office furniture. System sound is becoming an important consideration both for retailers and end users of adjustable desks, which is why innovative creators like LOGICDATA need to be on the front foot when it comes to product design. Our systems should not only be pleasing to look at, but be kind to the ears as well. In this post, we talk to LOGICDATA Sound Engineer Stefan Preissl, who explains some of the contemporary issues in acoustic design and outlines the process for optimizing systems to the sound of success.
Whenever we think about acquiring a new product, there are many considerations to take into account: How much does it cost? How big is it? Is it reliable? However, the decision of whether to buy or not often comes down to a simple question: How does it make you feel?
In order to convince the world to buy their products, manufacturers need to pay special attention to product design. For furniture — and adjustable furniture in particular — this has three core aspects:
- Visual appearance. Does the furnishing look good? Will it fit well into the desired surroundings?
- Haptic considerations. Is the furnishing responsive? Do the materials feel pleasant to the touch?
- Acoustic experience. Is the furnishing too loud? Can the system noise be described as unpleasant?
While the first two arguments are traditional buying points for all types of furniture, the third is a newer consideration. Until recently, sound considerations were something of a nice-to-have for manufacturers, retailers and end users alike, but according to LOGICDATA’s Stefan Preissl, this attitude is changing.
He says: “Good product sound is a key distinguishing feature on the market right now. Low-noise, low-vibration and appealing-sounding products are perceived by the user as being of higher quality and achieve higher prices on the market.”
Does this sound good?
Sound engineering is a hugely complex area and is different to every industry. The question is not necessarily always one of loud vs. quiet, but “does this sound good?”
Due to the fact that sound quality as a whole is not something that can be described by a single decibel value, creating products that provoke positive emotions in the user is a challenge that modern design, testing, and manufacturing must overcome. In fact, this process is part of a wider science, known as psychoacoustics.
The dictionary definition of psychoacoustics is: a branch of science dealing with the perception of sound, the sensations produced by sounds, and the problems of communication. In terms of industry, this can be interpreted as the need to tell the user about the quality of the product using sounds.
While low-noise design and low vibrations are obvious indicators of this, they are increasingly considered as only part of more subtle acoustic triggers. A holistic acoustic of a height-adjustable table system should ensure system sound conveys the following aspects: robustness, durability, performance, efficiency, and processing quality.
The LOGICDATA way
LOGICDATA is one of the most experienced producers of components for ergonomic furniture on the market for a key reason: we pay particular attention to market trends and use our extensive know-how in research and development to meet the demands of our customers. Logically, this extends to sound as well.
Through the knowledge of engineers like Preissl, combined with a dedicated sound testing chamber and other first-class testing infrastructure, we are ensuring that products like our signature DYNAMIC MOTION system are sound-optimized to the greatest possible extent.
Although features such as brushless motor technology help keep ambient system noise low, LOGICDATA applies special focus to the field of psychoacoustics. Using certain parameters applied to research on how people perceive sound, we can ensure that sound events during table movement result in a positive impression for the customer. However, it’s not just the end product: our sound evaluation is an iterative process that achieves improvements over a much broader timeline.
Preissl explains: “Premium sound quality can only result from continuous support and optimization measures during the entire product development process. From the first conceptual considerations to the monitoring of series production, system noise is always on our agenda. At LOGICDATA, our equipment and infrastructure allow individual components to be examined, as well as for us to evaluate complete table systems. This option is also available for reviewing customer and even competitor systems.”
When developing components, as well as while optimizing customer systems alongside our partners, certain considerations must be taken into account. At LOGICDATA, the process for sound optimization consists of the following key elements:
- Optimizations to ensure drive smoothness. The basis for a table system’s acoustics primarily lies in the mechatronic components that power its movement: i.e. the actuators in the legs of the table. As such, considerable effort is expended in the process of optimizing these drives, with close attention paid to the noise frequencies triggered by movement.
- Vibration dampening. Movement will always cause vibrations, which in turn cause noise. Although these can never be eliminated entirely, the goal of the optimization process is to isolate and insulate these vibrations without compromising the structural integrity or performance of the table system.
- Setup of the actuator system and table system. When the actuator system and the rest of the table are well suited to each other, the desired results are easier to achieve. An acceptable level of harmony is an iterative process: during development, it may even include structural optimization on the table system itself.
- Optimization of system operating noises. It should be noticeable from the system sound when certain events happen. Optimizations may include improvements to reaction times after the handset is activated, or acoustic feedback when the system is switched on or off.
The ability to optimize these elements depends on how metrics can be measured: a topic that Stefan Preissl is passionate about: “During sound testing, it’s important to have a precisely defined measurement setup in a controlled environment, which is vital for us to achieve consistent and comparable results. If this measurement setup is not specified and adhered to, it is difficult to compare different table systems.”
Ears to the ground
Like all good things, the process of sound-optimizing a table system takes time. However, by getting ahead of the market demands and investing in the technology and personnel to ensure the perfect acoustics for every system, we’re once again (r)evolutionizing adjustable furniture.
Find out more about how LOGICDATA can help sound-optimize your adjustable table system as part of our LOGICservice package https://www.logicdata.net/logicservice/.