Acoustics: coming developments, and ‘dreamy’ jobs ahead

During the events that marked the Industrial Acoustics and Vibrations Conference (AVI), March 10-11, 2016 that focuses on how these fields have evolved over the past 40 years, several UTC graduates from this engineering specialty UTC-GM-AVI offered their visions as to the prospects for the coming 2 decades in their respective professions.

Acoustics: coming developments, and ‘dreamy’ jobs ahead

Florence Margiocchi, Head of Infrastructure Innovation with the French railways Group, SNCF, took part in the Conference Round Table on the theme “Rail and Sea”, sharing her views on the needs in acoustics research through her personal knowledge of several professions involved.

Progress in the field of railroad noise has been significant. We have observed a 10 dB improvement of rolling stock noise (bogies) when comparing the 1981 orange generation TGVs and those running today. Tightening of noise abatement standards implies that the SNCF will need AVI engineers if it wants to be able to operate high speed strains that comply with legislation and environmental regulations. As far as technological tools are concerned, digital modelling of course is more and more relevant to our studies. UTC is both a pioneer and at the forefront of this specialty and it proves a trump card for graduates when entering the job market. In this AVI field, we are, for example, working on the question – can we certify part of our equipment just by virtual modelling. We have the software to do this, but these packages do not take into account separately the railroad infrastructures and the rolling stock. They are moreover reserved for real modelling experts. Some holistic approaches do, however, allow us to model how people living near railways perceive the sounds/noise levels. The need for real, live testing is thereby considerably reduced. Moreover, accompanying digital corporate transformation and BIM (virtual building) mock-ups allows the engineers to adopt systemic approaches and to integrate noise and vibration considerations to each stage of a rail transport project. Connected apps constitute another future development. It would allow us, for example, to monitor real-time track and material status and to measure their noise emission level with connected sensors devices that could be available soon. Probably using social networks will also totally change the way enterprises operate internally”.


Isabelle Chaye-Mauvarin has held several posts with marketing activities (value assessment service and customer satisfaction). She currently manages the Acoustic Testing Department, Passive Safety, Performance and Consumption and Fuel circuits with Renault Group. How does she see coming changes in the acoustician-engineering profession over ten coming decade?

“Excellent background knowledge and skills in physics are a sure asset for students. In contradistinction, with the advent of connected vehicles, the notion of driver-machine interactions will still prove necessary for engineers who want to be recruited in the automobile sector. This is not the only attractive sector, in terms of acoustic research, but it does offer some excellent opportunities. Even if this is not necessarily true in Europe, cars are major attractions in other continents, in particular in Asia. It is a very pleasant feeling when you take part in a design process that makes clients dream!”


Christian Glandier, who works with Daimler AG, shares his vision as to needs in acoustics and vibration studies over the next 20 years

“Over the past 15-20 years, the development of vehicles has been radically transformed due to the deployment and use of digital design and assembly tools: CAD, experimental computer aided test calculations. The trend also is accompanied by shorter design and development time and the reduced number of prototypes needed. In a context like this, the computational approach must provide better quality products and more efficient test work protocols. Engineers tomorrow will have to be familiar and skilled in both areas and know how to make the best use of them. Vehicles today are continuously being improved but this does not mean that the vibro-acousticians will be out of a job. On the contrary! Results come not by chance but by non-stop efforts all the time. Moreover, efforts undertaken to lowering fuel consumption by reducing the vehicle’s overall weight, with the advent of new materials together turn the noise abatement question into an even bigger changer for design engineers. New propulsion units (all-electric, hybrid, fuel cells) also bring new challenges to the design rooms. Customers not only wish to benefit from less noise, but they expect now to have a sound characteristics for the type of vehicle they purchase– sporty models or urban comfort … hence the trendy term of “sound design”.”