ISVR Consulting - Annual report 2009

Every year the Institute of Sound and Vibration Research publishes an Annual Report. This is the entry for ISVR Consulting covering the calendar year 2009.

Research and project work

ISVR Consulting, the commercial consultancy group of the ISVR, has seen major changes over the past year, largely driven by the difficult economic climate.  This has seen full time staff numbers reduced from 18 to 9 through a mixture of retirement and transfer to industry of the engineering staff, transfer of two support staff to the department and two departures through the University redundancy scheme.  The departees were Ken Brown, Stuart Dyne, Sue Greenwood, Ben Lawton, Phil Oxborrow, Dave Rawlinson, Dave Rhodes, Gordon Stimpson and Greg Wells, and their considerable individual contributions over many years are warmly acknowledged.  All of the retiring engineering staff are actually being employed as Associate Consultants on particular contracts, which is helping to maintain the skills base and capacity of the group in the short term.  The departure of Stuart Dyne to industry meant that Dr Malcolm Smith was appointed as manager of the Consulting Unit from October. 

Having weathered these changes, the prospects for the current financial year have been transformed for the better compared with 2008-2009. The fact that there is a healthy current order book and a long portfolio of enquiries for future work is very encouraging, and the remainder of this report focuses on the diversity of these projects over the past 12 months.

The new lab space has continued to be used for its originally designated automotive activities, including a number of projects to investigate transmission of combustion noise using the banger rig and development of a silencer for a small aircraft.  However this space is also proving to be invaluable for a wide diversity of other work, and is now becoming a general purpose ‘product development lab’ other projects over the year have included noise and vibration control on various items of garden machinery and studies to limit the sensitivity of various pieces of medical equipment to environmental noise and vibration.

This product development activity is apparent in many other aspects of the Unit's work, for example in the general transportation industry where there have been projects to investigate and control sources of interior and exterior noise in hovercraft, aircraft and boats.

The marine industry has been a valuable source of business and, besides a number of design studies on small boats and ferries, we are currently participating in an EU funded study on cruise liner noise BESST (Breakthrough in Engineering Ship and Shipbuilding Technologies), an SEA study to evaluate and control structure borne noise on an off-shore gas production platform and an FE study to design a machinery isolation system for a ship.  The unit has also joined the University Strategic Research Group (USRG) in Maritime Studies and had a stand at the opening event in September.

Work on control of airframe noise has continued as a major activity, in collaboration with Airbus and other European partners; current projects include the TSB funded SYMPHONY project and the EU funded TIMPAN, NACRE and OPENAIR projects. The focus of these current studies is design and testing of noise control features on landing gears, but future projects that are in various stages of approval include work on Boundary Element methods for prediction of high lift device noise and installation effects.

The laboratories had a relatively quiet year overall, especially high intensity testing, but successful business areas included calibration work, specialist on-site measurements such as modal testing and low frequency vibration assessments.  The chambers themselves were actually quite busy because of the amount of DARP rig testing in the anechoic chamber by members of the Rolls Royce UTC and the Airbus ANTC in the School of Engineering Sciences.

Other areas of business such as occupational noise assessments and building acoustics assessments were also reasonably buoyant.  The former included assessments of a number of firing ranges and call centres, with significant amounts of call centre work coming from the Republic of Ireland.   Building acoustics work was dominated by a good number of Sound Insulation tests between dwellings for Building Regulations approval, whereas some other large development projects were put on hold, but there was a welcome opportunity for FE modelling work to assess the design of a new building housing sensitive instrumentation. 

Although this was a difficult year because of the general economic situation and the consequential changes in staffing, all members of the Unit are to be congratulated on rising positively to the challenge, and the clear pick-up in the flow of enquiries and orders bodes well for the future.


*Bunting, O., *Stammers, J., and *Chesmore, D., *Bouzid, O., *Tian, G.Y., Karatsovis,C. and Dyne, S.  (2009) Instrument for soundscape recognition, identification and evaluation (ISRIE): technology and practical uses.  Proceedings of Euronoise 2009, Edinburgh, Scotland, 26-28 October 2009, SSC7,CD-ROM, 10pp.

* indicates authors who are not in the ISVR

Archive of our Annual Reports from other years.