Pitch & roll vibration tests are a new tool to reproduce or simulate the real conditions endured by loads during transportation. We will compare the precision of vertical vibration tables and multiaxis vibration tables, also known as pitch & roll tables.

Vibration tests: history and analysis

From the very beginning of trade it has been necessary to transport products efficiently. While at first it was only possible to optimize the packaging by studying the consequences of the trip (whether the goods arrived intact or not), there was a time in which products were expensive and fragile enough to warrant studying packaging systems.

The first simulations would simply test the outcome of drops and shocks. Packaging would be manufactured accordingly to withstand those impacts, though in an unscientific manner.

Later, it was noticed that vibrations (perturbations or oscillations experienced by an object without altering its position or displacing) also affect the load being transported.

The first simulation machines

The first vibration simulation machines would move by using fixed cams or rotating systems, which implied subjecting the product to the same conditions repeatedly (the same frequency).

Therefore, these tests would not truly portray the vibrations caused during transportation.

In time, measurement systems improved and allowed for an accurate measurement of the vibrations and drops suffered by products during the distribution cycle, therefore enabling the adjustment of drop and impact heights.

It was thereby proven that the transport is subject to random vibrations that previous systems could not reproduce

When studying these phenomena, it was noticed that vibrations can be categorized based on:

  • The type of transportation: land, air, sea
  • The type of vehicle: plane, truck, bicycle…
  • The quality of the road
  • The speed

More specifically, vibrations are measured by studying the power spectral density (PSD), measuring the characteristic bandwidth and the RMS acceleration level.

It was demonstrated that technology needed to advance, and this lead to the creation of several systems, until the creation of those that move along a linear, straight axis with complex controls. This has implied a great improvement in the simulation of vibrations.

These tests generate random vibrations that mimic the vibration profile of the vehicle and a given route. By performing similar vibrations, it can be verified whether the goods withstand those motions.

How the pitch and roll module was born

The first vibration machines moved in a single direction. However, during transportation there are motions that go beyond a single direction.

In order to perform tests in more than one direction, the engineers would topple the samples or made machines that moved in other directions (for example, horizontal motions).

For greater precision, the packaging simulation industry has developed multiaxis vibration simulation machines that allow for more realistic simulations and tests that could not be reproduced before.

These tests are characterized by the PSD that is reproduced along each axis, and they make use of a pitch sensor and a roll axis.

With the passage of time, simulation machines that focused on packaging gradually incorporated motions demanded by the scientific community. The addition of pitch and roll motions allowed for the reproduction of situations in a way that was impossible using single-axis machines.

The goal is to simulate the conditions of the distribution cycle: while the pitch and roll module is the cornerstone of this simulation, other tests should also be taken into account, including drop, impact, stacking and environmental tests, as well as other phenomena that might affect the packaging and product.

How we know it

At Safe Load Testing Technologies we introduced the pitch & roll patent a few years ago.

In relation to the above, we performed different studies to characterize the phenomena of the distribution cycle and created systems that could mimic them.

During our research, we found no machine on the market that would meet the specifications exhibited by the distribution cycle.

The lack of adequate resources led us to develop our own technology: we filed a number of patents, including one related to pitch & roll simulation.

Since other research centers requested our pitch and roll module, we moved from manufacturing our own to selling them.

Vertical vibration test or pitch & roll vibration test: comparative analysis

Vertical vibration machines and pitch & roll vibration machines fulfill different roles that you should know.

On one hand, it is recommended for a company to perform vertical vibration tests to identify the consequences of vibrations along a single axis.

These types of tests can be important, for example, in electronic component rigidity tests.

However, these tests under no circumstance replace those that do include pitch & roll motions, and are only recommended if performing pitch & roll vibration tests is not possible.

On the other hand, the vertical vibration + Pitch & Roll machine allows for a simulation that more closely resembles the real conditions experienced during the distribution cycle.

Thanks to the possibility of performing a multiaxis vibration, it more reliably reproduces the effects of transportation.

Any company that aims for quality and excellence in package optimization should have the pitch & roll vibration transportation simulation in mind.

How and where to acquire a multiaxis vibration system

Safe Load Testing Technologies can offer you multiaxis vibration machines that simulate the vertical vibrations and pitch & roll motions experienced during shipping & handling with a high level of precision.

This system is capable of reproducing the real vibrations along the 3 dimensions experienced during transportation thanks to its patented pitch & roll mechanism. This allows the client to predict the damages that his cargo may suffer with a currently unmatched level of precision.

This machine is designed to support loads of up to 1,200 kg (2,646 lb.) and allows for the reproduction of motions previously recorded with a data recorder during a specific route.

It is also possible to acquire a Pitch & Roll module to update a vertical vibration table. This allows you to update your equipment to perform tests that mimic the real conditions during the shipping and handling of loads.

Safe Load’s team has a track record of over 25 years in the field of vibrations, in addition to the input of our partners, Real Vibrations.

Safe Load members were trained as technicians and researchers in simulation laboratories, publishing research papers and giving talks around the world in renowned congresses such as those organized by ISTA, IAPRI and EUMOS.

Our Pitch & Roll patent resulted from our quest to address the needs and interests of users: we conceived the technology because we saw that it was necessary and did not exist.

This is a testament to our innovating spirit, seeking a continuous improvement to develop new resources based on our own, or our client’s, initiative.

If you are looking to perform vibration tests or update your vibration simulation equipment, get in touch with us and let’s start working together.