To operate effectively (and safely), industrial machinery needs to be sturdy and still—any tremors can cause enough damage to break or destroy parts of your equipment.
While vibrations can originate in the equipment itself, you need to plan for outside sources of vibrations when operating heavy-duty gear.
There are plenty of vibrational causes that occur naturally on the Earth (or even from space). These earth-made movements are often geographical and won’t happen everywhere equally, so location should be considered when purchasing or developing equipment or even deciding where to set up shop in the first place.
Earthquakes. Natural earthquakes occur along the edges of the oceanic/continental plates beneath the earth’s crust. The entire west coast of the US is resting on the edge of the Pacific Plate, which is why companies from Seattle to San Diego plan for extra movement in their equipment.
Weather. From rain to thunder to wind, weather is one of the most common causes of earth-made vibrations. Weather is a factor everywhere and should be factored into operations planning.
Oceanic waves. Oceans, seas and large lakes can produce massive, rolling waves that create tremors when they reach the shore or the edge of a waterside building.
Volcanoes. The eruptions of volcanoes have been felt thousands of miles away from their sources and can be just as disruptive as an earthquake.
Landslides/avalanches. Like earthquakes, landslides and avalanches carry an awesome amount of energy as they travel.
Meteors. While nearly every meteor burns up in the earth’s atmosphere before it hits the ground (at least in modern times), meteorite impacts can still create tremors. There have even been instances where meteors explode just above the Earth’s surface, releasing energy into the ground and through the atmosphere.
Man-made earthquakes. Though rare, humans can create immense vibrations from drilling and fracking that travel through the earth.
Construction and large machinery. The operation of large machines like cranes and diggers will vibrate the surrounding ground and buildings.
Trains, planes and automobiles. We’ve all felt a massive train or large truck pass by. The weight and movement of everything from motorcycles to 747s can send vibrations through the ground, buildings and equipment.
Human movements. Even if your equipment is small, the walking, talking and general movement of humans can affect a device’s tolerance and sensitivity.
Vibrations can and do originate from within equipment, though bumpers and insulation help counteract this. However, if the equipment has a lack of insulation or has imperfections, imbalances or misalignment, vibrational waves can roll through and damage itself.
Using Bumpers To Counteract Vibrations
Because there are so many natural and man-made sources of tremors that can do damage to a machine, soft bumpers and cushioning are necessities. Materials like silicones, foams and rubbers help absorb vibrational waves so equipment stays unharmed.