Hansgrohe perfects the sound of water
Hansgrohe is bringing acoustic performance to the bathroom and helping users enjoy a water experience undisturbed by extraneous sounds.
Hansgrohe process engineer Melanie Chaloupka helps to make sure the sound of water flowing from Hansgrohe’s shower heads and mixers is not too loud and does not make unpleasant noises.
“I contribute to making sure our products provide an experience with water that people can enjoy with all their senses, including the sense of hearing. Acoustic performance is one of the inner workings of a mixer or shower head and an indicator of the product’s quality.”
Hansgrohe uses structure-born sound test benches to help optimise acoustic performance, carrying out standardised tests to obtain certification for its products. These tests focus mainly on noises that can be heard in neighbouring rooms when the bathroom shower or tap is running. Additional technical equipment, such as an acoustic camera, is used to evaluate sound performance.
The certification that products receive is based on noise levels; Noise Classification I, Noise Classification II or U (unclassified).
“The goal is to obtain Noise Classification I, which means sound made by a shower head is as quiet as the slight rustle of leaves in a forest,” says Melanie.
Hansgrohe has opened its own airborne sound-testing chamber in its new research and development lab in Schiltach, Germany. Several microphones are used in the chamber, like in a sound studio or an anechoic chamber, to measure sound pressure levels
“In this chamber, we are shielded from the rest of the laboratory, enabling us to analyse, compare and classify products and obtain reproducible results. For the benefit of our customers, we use this know-how to optimise component geometries so that we can deliver a pleasurable shower experience without bothersome noises,” says Melanie.
Noise testing in Germany is regulated by law and in order to receive a test mark, mixers have to be classified as Sound Power Level I or II.
A Sound Power Level I mixer may not exceed 20dB at a sound pressure level of three bars and is considered suitable for use in residential and hotel construction, offices, practices, hospitals, schools and similar facilities.
Another important certification is the DIN- German Technical and Scientific Association for Gas and Water (DVGW) mark, which tests for materials, tightness, dimensions, hydraulic behaviour, mechanical wear, noise and surface properties. This certification mark on mixers and showers verifies that the products are of high quality.