Gymnasiums, theaters, auditoriums, schools, and gun ranges alike all have a need for acoustical panels to assist in sound management. These panels make a significant difference in the reverberation of sound. But not every panel has the same acoustical properties.
The companies that manufacture them could easily make unprovable claims on what those properties are, skewing the consumer’s perception of their product’s performance. Independent testing, however, can substantiate those claims by making sure they are standard and comparable.
Still, it’s important to consider how a company tests its panels so you can be sure you’re getting the high-quality, long-lasting results you’re looking for. Here’s a look at the highly credible lab that tests each of the Cardinal Acoustics’ wood fiber acoustical panel product lines.
Our product testing partner is Riverbank Acoustical Laboratories (RAL) in Geneva, Illinois. RAL gives us the confidence that our products do what they’re supposed to and do it well.
RAL has over 100 years of experience testing acoustical panels and other products. The lab’s long history of dedicated sound science and engineering has earned it a spot as one of the premier acoustical testing centers in the nation and the company is an NVLAP-accredited acoustical testing agency.
RAL was formed as a collaboration between Wallace Sabine and George Fabyan in 1918. A wealthy patron of obscure sciences, Colonel Fabyan first hired Sabine to help tune an acoustical levitation machine built on specifications from a work by Sir Francis Bacon. Sabine believed the machine would never work and, despite telling Fabyan this, the two became good friends.
Later, Sabine expressed his dismay surrounding the poor conditions of his acoustical test lab at Harvard. Fabyan then decided to build a state-of-the-art reverberation chamber and test facility on his riverbank estate in Illinois in which Sabine could complete his studies properly. Sabine meticulously engineered the construction and the reverberation chamber remains one of the best sound-absorption labs in the world to this day. Thus, RAL was born.
Today, RAL is listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and recently celebrated its 100-year anniversary. The lab specializes in STC (Sound Transmission Loss per ASTM E90), NRC (Sound Absorption per ASTM C423), IIC (Impact Sound Transmission per ASTM E492), and Sound Power (ISO 6926) testing. RAL also performs field (remote) testing at customer sites, as well as non-standard engineering studies for appliances and other electronic devices.
With a highly qualified team of scientists experienced in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, construction, and acoustical consulting, RAL serves over 170 unique clients per year across the globe. Serving an almost entirely commercial/industrial client base, RAL’s clients include architectural building products suppliers, industrial noise control manufacturers, and aerospace companies including NASA.
Riverbank represents the same kind of values and dedication to quality as Cardinal Acoustics. Stay tuned for a future post on the specifics of RAL’s testing process. Meanwhile, if you find yourself in need of acoustical panels, we’re here to help. Reach out to us with questions or to learn more about how acoustical panels can control noise and beautify surroundings. We hope to talk to you soon about fulfilling your acoustical needs.