Acoustics research – for a pleasant work environment

Scientific basis for acoustic interior design

Current research results on the subject of acoustics show how an optimally designed work environment can have a positive impact on people's health, performance, and wellbeing. The fast-paced change in the work world necessitates the development of new office landscapes and forms of work. In addition, new technologies need to be integrated in work processes. Many companies are faced with the challenge of developing an integrated spatial concept which also includes important elements in order to optimize room acoustics. 

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Acoustically effective furniture & partition systems

During the development of our acoustically effective SonicWall furniture and partition systems, we commissioned Büro für Akustik und Engineering Fiedler (an acoustics and engineering company) to carry out in-depth measurements and tests in order to achieve optimum absorption quality. In addition to the determination of their sound absorption coefficient according to EN ISO 354 in a reverberation chamber, our acoustically effective products were assigned to the absorption categories according to DIN ISO 11654. The sound absorption category indicates which product is the right one for the required application. 

SonicWall Soft

Sound absorption degree αS
for the products listed below, measured in an echo chamber in accordance with DIN EN ISO 354.

SonicWall Clear

Sound absorption degree αS
for the products listed below, measured in an echo chamber in accordance with DIN EN ISO 354.

SonicWall Steel

Sound absorption degree αS
for the products listed below, measured in an echo chamber in accordance with DIN EN ISO 354.

Sound insulation & sound absorption with SonicWall

The sound-insulating and sound-absorbing acoustics solutions featured in the SonicWall range include stand-up walls, workstation dividers, ceiling panels, board wall elements, and furniture. Sound level and speech intelligibility in interiors can be optimized by an optimum combination of different sound absorbers.

SonicWall Steel is made of an acoustically effective, micro-perforated steel material and can be integrated in our Monotop partition system as well as in the Asisto cabinet systems. Optimum sound absorption in SonicWall Clear is ensured by a light-permeable plastic honeycomb material with micro-perforation. Adapted as a workstation divider, stand-up wall, or ceiling element, it radiates transparency and lightness. SonicWall Soft features an acoustically effective fabric cover with individual printed motifs. Integrated in workstation dividers, stand-up walls, picture frames, or ceiling elements, an additional absorber filling made of PET recycling material can achieve an even higher acoustic effect. 

Fraunhofer IBP does research on psychoacoustics & cognitive ergonomics

The Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP concentrates specifically on psychoacoustics and cognitive ergonomics within the scope of its research work on the subject of acoustics. As a scientific discipline, psychoacoustics deals with the connection between subjective, mental auditory impressions, and quantitatively measurable, physical sound events. Psychoacoustic findings are necessary, for example, in order to develop and design acoustic products (sound design). A decisive criterion for the quality of a sound event is, among other things, tonality – i.e. the presence of tones.

In cognitive ergonomics, however, working conditions are analyzed with a view to optimizing work systems in order to increase health, productivity, and wellbeing. The analysis mainly focuses on cognitive processes which are characteristic of work in changing, complex situations – for example reasoning, attention, and memory.1

Combining light and acoustics

Maskierungsleuchte von Nimbus: Licht und Akustik

In collaboration with Nimbus, the Fraunhofer IBP has developed, within the scope of the "office of the future," an innovative prototype luminaire that produces an optimum combination of light and acoustics thanks to its novel technology. The object is to optimize human workplace conditions through findings in psychoacoustics and cognitive ergonomics in order to increase productivity and wellbeing.

Especially in open-plan offices, LED luminaires not only provide professional lighting in individual work areas but also ensure improved room acoustics through sound masking. The LED workstation floor lamp radiates light, while pleasant background sound that masks disturbing noise is simultaneously generated by a loudspeaker integrated in a light fixture. Particularly in open-plan offices, a so-called noise cancellation or privacy system, which is produced by soft background sounds emitted by the LED luminaires, enables higher concentration in the workplace. In addition, the level of comfort in the work environment is demonstrably increased. Individually adjustable sound masking enables every employee to select the background sound that he or she finds most pleasant in his workspace.2

¹Vgl.: Klaffke, M. (2016), Arbeitsplatz der Zukunft, Gestaltungsansätze und Good-Practice-Beispiele