Gearbox Tester Makes Golf Carts Whisper Quiet

The machine uses a non-contact vibration sensor that's so accurate, it not only tells you which gear has the problem, but which tooth has the problem.

Today, we're back at custom machine builder Farris Automated Systems, which is working with Signalysis on this custom gearbox tester for golf carts. The machine uses a non-contact vibration sensor that's so accurate, it not only tells you what gear has the problem, but it can tell you what tooth has the problem.

Half of Farris's business is building test machines. This test stand weighs between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds, and it's used to ensure gas/electric golf carts are whisper quiet.

The machine took about 2.5 months to develop. An input motor mimics the electric drive motor, and the output motor mimics the load on the axles and wheels. A laser vibrometer measures the vibration of the transmission during the test, and it can tell you if the gears are wrong, even the specific gear tooth that's bad. The vibrometer is picking up vibration caused as the gears mesh together, the gear whine.

The team at Farris built the machine for Signalysis, a vibration analysis software company based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. The company was founded by a bunch of NVH test geeks and a rocket scientist who are "delivering the sound of silence."

What's unique about the machine is that the independently-isolated laser is mounted to a stand separate from the test stand, which makes it possible to measure only the vibration from the transmission.

Signalysis uses its SigQC software to test the golf cart transmissions. Remember, it's a golf course, and these go on high-end golf carts, so it's likely a very professional course, and these transmissions have to be whisper quiet.

SigQC software provides real-time PASS-FAIL inspection that is entirely automated.

The test was built only to analyze this specific part. Still, custom testing machines are becoming more popular as companies move away from human operators to make quality control decisions. Just in warranty claim reduction, the ROI on the machine can be as short as six months to less than two years.

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