Brüel & Kjær - The sound and vibration specialists

Sound and vibration are a part of our everyday life, and the danish market leader can measure it all.

Foto: Morten Andersen

When Brüel & Kjær was founded three quarters of a century ago the company pioneered the development of instrumentation able to measure sound & vibration, and the young founding engineers laid the grounds for a technology that has lasted ever since. Program Manager Noel Brown explains:

- The very first Brüel & Kjær sensor was based on a crystal and a weight and, although our products are now much smaller, better and smarter; at the end of the day we use exactly the same technology that our founding fathers developed on a kitchen table and painted with left-over green paint from the German Army in 1942.

A constantly growing market

Brüel & Kjær developed products for a market that no one else knew existed. Today the Danish company has been joined by other suppliers in the competitive market of sound and vibration measurement - all players in a market that has been constantly growing since its humble beginnings.

- Sound and vibration are everywhere and influence all of us all the time. My grandfathers did not pay much attention to that, but nowadays increasing awareness of noise and comfort have created massive focus on consumer demands and legal requirements, and our instruments can help companies meet all these challenges. As we say in this company: “The world needs a bigger Brüel & Kjær”, Noel Browns states.

The Brüel & Kjær sensor measures vibrations from the gas turbine and detects any abnormality putting the engine at risk.

Foto: Morten Andersen

The search for the right sound

But measuring sound and vibration is actually not only a matter of making everything as quiet as possible; for some products it is more important that they have the right sound. Noel Brown puts things in perspective:

- When you close the door to a yellow cab it is a sound very different from when you do the same thing on a luxury car, and that is by no means a matter a coincidence. Brüel & Kjær assists the automotive industry all over the world in creating exactly the right sound to give the consumer that particular feeling of handling a luxury product worth paying a premium for. Did you ever wonder how on earth they can make a Harley Davidson sound so awesome – well ask our engineers, the Brüel & Kjær Program Manager laughs.

The inside is important too

The defence market is a growing business unit for Brüel & Kjær and the market is transforming. In much the same way that civil airlines and airports are regulated to protect the environment, military airbases are increasingly seeking to manage noise to levels acceptable by neighbours. But the defence market is also increasing its attention to what is going on inside the vehicles and planes. Soldiers inside an armed personal carrier or a transport helicopter need comfort too, since a noise-struck fighter runs increasing risk of feeling car sick, dizzy, making him or her perform below their optimum. Hence, the defence industry is turning to Brüel & Kjær to help them create a more ‘’comfortable’ environment for their war fighters.

When quiet is not quiet enough

This does not mean that staying quiet is no longer important, Noel Brown underlines:

- Recently we came onboard a British new frigate program, where Brüel & Kjær is developing and manufacturing a self-noise monitoring system that spans from bow to stern. When such a ship goes into submarine hunting mode it must be extremely silent, and our system assures the captain just when this is.

It is the continued ambition of Brüel & Kjær to remain at the forefront of the sound and vibration companies, and new products and services are in the pipeline. Noel Brown advised that electric cars at some point must become an important business area for the Danish company:

- If electric cars are to become the future of individual transportation one will have to address the safety issues related to vehicles in the streets that most people cannot hear, and Brüel & Kjær has the knowledge and technology to meet that challenge, the program manager finishes.

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