Vibration and noise have a major negative impact on all the systems onboard, the crew, the environment and the ship itself. This has led to a growing attention to onboard noise reduction and regulatory requirements. Compliance with working and safety regulations require vibration and noise control to be taken seriously. Regulatory requirements such as the IMO Noise Code pose challenges for fleet owners, shipbuilders and engineers. IMO Noise CodeTo protect personnel from noise, SOLAS regulation II-1/3-12 requires ships to be constructed to reduce onboard noise in accordance with the IMO Noise Code MSC.337(91): “Code on noise levels on-board ships”. Until the adoption of this regulation, most countermeasures against noise and vibration were recommendations. The IMO Noise Code is now mandatory for ships of 1,600 gross tonnages or more. These ships must be constructed to reduce onboard noise and to protect personnel from noise, ensuring better working and living conditions on board.For accommodation spaces, in particular, these requirements are very strict and hard to meet with conventional vibration isolators and a traditional isolator selection approach. Conventional rubber-based isolators provide high isolation levels for mid-range and higher frequencies but do not reach the required level of isolation of the strong, low-frequency vibrations and noise the crew and equipment are exposed to. As a result, the noise limit levels in the noise code may no longer be achieved by applying traditional rubber-based vibration isolators. However, air suspension literally decouples the accommodations from the hull, providing the level of isolation that is required.The purpose of the Code is to limit noise levels and to reduce seafarers’ exposure to noise, in order to provide the seafarer with an acceptable degree of comfort in rest, recreation and other spaces and also provide conditions for recuperation from the effects of exposure to high noise levels.Trelleborg has decades of experience and innovation in amongst others the area of both elastomeric as patented air suspension solutions. While taking into account client-specific parameters, Trelleborg is able to develop air suspension solutions by which the IMO Noise Code is complied with. In practice, measurements onboard show that even the most strict requirement of 55 dB(A) is effectively met.Automated monitoring and control systems handle roll and pitch movements, by triggering automatic inflation or exhaust of the air springs. This allows for safe operation of the system under marine conditions. In addition, the components applied within the solutions carry type approvals of leading certification authorities, which eases classification significantly.
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