Customization Is Key to Keeping Up with Trend of Growing Test Demands

 By Thomas Robson

The rapid integration of advanced technologies in consumer audio products is changing the industry on a day-to-day basis. New features like Active Noise Cancelling, Hybrid Noise Cancelling, and voice-controlled smart systems are hardy considered premium options anymore, but simply what customers have come to expect. This directly impacts audio testing on production lines, where precise measurements to ensure sound quality are more vital than ever. This demand applies to mid- and low-end products, too, leading to increased production line costs and potentially strained relationships between contract manufacturers and audio brands. To successfully adapt to this trend, both electronics manufacturers and test microphone manufacturers need to embrace customized measuring products and solutions as the way forward. In GRAS Sound & Vibration, we have successfully adopted customization as a core principle driving product development and innovation.

 

 

 

We’re listening: GRAS Sound & Vibration is Built on Customization

GRAS Sound and Vibration was founded in 1994 by Danish acoustics pioneer Gunnar Rasmussen. When his son, Per Rasmussen, took over, he made his father’s vision the driving principle of the company. “From the very first project we won, my father’s guiding philosophy has defined our company DNA: To always listen to our customers in order to develop and deliver customized microphones and solutions that solve their measurement needs,” asserts Per Rasmussen.

This philosophy still applies to this day, under new management – and to customers and projectowners of all sizes: “We believe that every customer and project deserve our utmost attention, regardless of their size. We are always eager to initiate a dialogue and explore the possibilities,” says Mr. Rasmussen. “We take every request seriously.”

 

The Opportunity of Co-creation

As Business Development Manager with GRAS Sound and Vibration, Lars Winberg is one of the company’s many engineers who work by this principle: “Listening to, and collaborating and cocreating with, our customers is what drives this company forward. It keeps us fresh and innovative. It’s what ensures that we end up with solutions that are right for our customers – and for us,” Mr. Winberg explains. He mentions the GRAS UTP family – Ultra Thin Precision microphones – as a good example. “The UTP microphones are a direct result of a customer giving us a challenge: ‘Can you come up with a microphone no thicker than 1mm?’ Well, it turns out we could,” recalls Mr. Winberg. Today, UTP microphones are used where ever noise measurements of airflow are needed – from the surfaces of aircraft and cars to the inside of hair dryers.

 

Customization Boosts Performance

Customized products and solutions are usually based on something we have already made. Electroacoustics Development Engineer, Niels Erik Holm Christensen, explains: “We understand that every customer has unique measurement needs. To meet them, we can tailor a microphone’s form factor, its technical composition, and its performance specs to suit the project and the industry it is intended for.” “We believe that by co-creating with our customers, we can unlock insights that lead to better performance and meaningful results, as well as fuel our ongoing innovation,” says Niels Erik.

 

Laboratory Conditions are No Match for the Real World

But customization doesn’t stop at co-creating with our customers’ R&D experts. To truly succeed in becoming an industry classic, the final design of the product must also take factors like the microphone’s intended operating environment, end-users, and operators into consideration. Our close collaboration with customers also offers valuable insights into the intended real-world use of our products, explains Mr. Winberg: “All microphones perform well in laboratory settings. But many of our customers use them for testing in the real world where dirt and dust can quickly clog sensitive equipment. That means we must come up with solutions for that.”

He continues: “In addition, you can’t really expect microphones to always be handled delicately or expertly when used in e.g. a production line setting. That is what inspired us to develop microphones that are hard to produce wrong measurements with - and even harder to break.”

 

Customization is Good for both Parties

In the end, customization is not only a valuable offer for their customers, but for GRAS, too. By collaborating and co-creating with customers of all sizes around the world and across industries, GRAS Sound & Vibration always has its ears to the ground, as it were.

“For us to stay competitive and to stay up to date with trends and shifts in demand, it is crucial that we stay close to our customers,” concludes Lars Winberg.

 
 

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Monday, 27. May 2024

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