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Blaring music without blasting the woofer. (Computing).

Last year, Alumapro of Addison, Ill., a maker of woofers and subwoofers incorporating aluminum cones, sought the help of the audio consulting firm True Technologies of Kenosha, Wis.

Alumapro wanted help on a new 12-inch woofer. It wanted to make its aluminum cone better--although customers weren't returning the woofer at an excessive rate--and to minimize its failure rate, according to Robert True, founder of True Technologies.

"You wouldn't think that aluminum speaker cones could fail," True said. "But sometimes when kids hit it with 2,000 watts of a real hard bass shot, it'll just shatter the cone." Even when users exceeded a woofer's documented ratings, Alumapro replaced the product to satisfy customers. That's why executives sought True Technologies' help in further refining the aluminum cone.

True's goal was to optimize the woofer's moving assembly to minimize the stress on it. For this, True used finite element analysis software and a preprocessor called Cosmos from Structural Research and Analysis Corp. in Los Angeles.

The first step was to create a baseline model, True said. He defined that as modeling the thing that already exists. True built the woofer model in the FEA package so he could change the relevant variables later. To make the model accurate, True determined the standing properties of the product's material. For this, he mainly used his own lab equipment. Once he had the woofer's properties, he fed them into the model, applied the appropriate boundary conditions, and added the right forcing functions. He then validated the model; that is, he checked it to make sure it matched reality.

True then ran a baseline analysis on the woofer to get a picture of the structure's behavior. Using the FEA software to play what--if, he tested some ideas that led to a completely different design. True used the software to vary woofer elements, such as the cone's thickness, profile radius, and mass. He then plotted peak stresses against the variables to find which ones reduced stresses the most. Through the process, he came up with a new design for the cone. The software showed that the new design offered a big benefit to Alumapro. It reduced stresses so much that the redesigned woofer may never fail, according to True.

The company won't go into details about the new design, as it doesn't want to give away trade secrets.

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Title Annotation:Alumapro's woofers
Comment:Blaring music without blasting the woofer. (Computing).(Alumapro's woofers)
Author:Thilmany, Jean
Publication:Mechanical Engineering-CIME
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2002
Words:391
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