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Reassuring vault-like door sound is the ideal for the Volvo Cars' noise team


Reassuring vault-like door sound is the ideal for the Volvo Cars' noise team


The Volvo V70 and S80 recently ranked among the ten best cars when Swedish motoring magazine Vi Bilägare tested noise levels in 35 models. The recognition was welcomed by the sound and noise experts and engineers at Volvo Car Corporation who work to improve the sound environment of the company's vehicles.


A dedicated music-lover can spend thousands of dollars on a home audio system to find the perfect balance in the music of their choice. Engineers at the Volvo Cars Noise, Vibration and Harshness (NVH) centre work to find that same balance to create the right sound environment inside a vehicle. Rather than trying to develop a passenger compartment that is clinically silent, they fine tune materials and insulation to ensure the right sort of sound can be heard at the right volume.


Successful method
Experts from the NVH centre enter very early into the new vehicle development process and cooperation with other departments is critical. The NVH centre is tasked with systematically and continually examining what improvements can be made to insulation, absorbents and mouldings throughout the vehicle. They also calculate how the different chassis components will affect noise transmission and work to ensure the engine can be heard inside the cabin.

"We see a major improvement in the Volvo V70 - the compromise between the car's various characteristics that we must always make was highly successful," says Anette Garnemark, Systems Analyst Noise and Vibration.


Irritate, inform or impress
The NVH centre divides noise into three different categories: those that irritate, inform and impress. The first category should preferably be entirely absent. The second includes a certain degree of engine noise, for instance, so the driver knows the engine is running. One example of sound that impresses is the noise a car door makes when it is shut.

"We want it to sound reassuring, like the door of a vault," explains Garnemark.

With a staff of approximately 60, the NVH centre set requirements, make calculations, test drive prototype vehicles, listen, assess, and suggest improvements and recommend how best to implement them. Subjective assessments are combined with objective tests that measure the noise level. Maximum noise levels that are heard outside the vehicle are internationally regulated by legislation but for the interior environment, it is Volvo Cars' own requirements that apply.


Volvo Cars of Canada Corp. is part of the Volvo Car Corporation of Göteborg, Sweden.  The company provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to the 42 Volvo automobile retailers across the country.  The company's product range includes the stylish and sporty C30, the elegant C70 hardtop convertible, the compact S40 sedan, the S60 sport sedan, the S80 flagship sedan and the versatile V50 and V70 wagon. For customers looking for a Volvo vehicle with all-road capability, the company offers the versatile XC70 and XC90. Volvo Canada is also expanding its line-up with the introduction of the new XC60, a crossover with the award-winning City Safety system on the standard equipment list.


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