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Standard Tests For Suspended Seats - Can These Contribute To Protection Against Whole-Body Vibration? - Commentary On Historical Development And Current Work In CEN/TC231/WG9 (Seating) - Introduction; Proceedings Of The First American Conference On Human Vibration
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    Suspended seats perform two functions: Reduce effect of occasional large bumps; Reduce more continuous vibration at a lower level. The former needs high damping. The latter needs low damping. For most mobile work machines the inevitable compromise is generally better than a simple cushion seat, because that amplifies vibration at around 4 Hz which is a sensitive frequency for human vertical WBV. Why have standard tests for seat suspensions? • Seat suspensions are non-linear so any measure of performance depends on operating conditions. For comparison these need to be defined. • Seat manufacturers need benchmarks for product development; • Machine makers choose dynamic characteristics appropriate to their products; • Occupational health specialists wish to control operator exposure to Standard tests should be representative, repeatable and reproducible. These requirements are reviewed in relation to the history of seat test standards and the current position. Current position and history The current position is that we have standard tests for seats for agricultural tractors, earthmoving machinery, industrial (fork-lift) trucks. These tests comprise measurement of vibration transmission and of the rate of damping. Current standards developed as the technology developed, starting around 1960: 1. Test on machine driven over standard surface1. 2. Test on shaker reproducing standard surface. 3. Shaker input replaced by representative spectrum2. 4. Human subject replaced by dynamic dummy. (Not yet settled). Are standard tests representative? The development process has gradually moved seat tests further from reality. 4 hr samples of work exposure suggest that seats do not on average provide large reductions of vertical WBV3. For specific magnitudes of vibration they can work well. For low vibration, performance is reduced by friction and for severe vibration by length of travel. Recent work has led to a new test to quantify how a suspension controls over-travel 9.
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