Acoustica are an Australian manufacturer of sound insulation products for building and transport applications. In this interview AZoM’s Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Cameron Chai speaks to Acoustica’s Managing Director, Philippe Doneux (PD) about their products and technology and why they are so important.
In particular, we get the scoop on a new environmentally friendly product they are about to launch.
CC – First of all could you please give us a brief overview of who Acoustica are?
PD – Acoustica is the only “ONE-STOP-SHOP”acoustic company in Australia and has been manufacturing noise control barriers and absorbers for over 27 yrs. Acoustica has been providing soundproofing solutions for Residential, Industrial, Commercial, Transport and Marine applications and has won a number of industry awards and nominations, including; Western Sydney Industry Awards 2005 & 2007, Australian Engineering Excellence Awards, Cool Company Awards and The New Inventors.
CC – What is sound insulation and how does it work?
PD – Sound insulation is a way to control sound transmission from one area to another and/or control sound within a space. Acoustica produce barriers, absorbers, composite materials, construction systems to absorb or contain the sound depending upon the individual application or requirements.
CC – Where are they typically applied?
PD – Sound insulation in today’s world has become an integral part of everyone’s life. Our products have been used in residential, commercial, industrial, educational, marine and automotive applications in Australia and overseas. Blues Point Tower, High Gate, Horizon, Hyatt Sydney, Hyatt Melbourne, Sydney Airport, Qantas Workshop, RTA Alexandria, William Town Airbase, Project M2 Upgrade, Lane Cove Tunnel, SANIP, Channel 7, Channel 10, Fox Studios, James Packer Private Studio.
KlipTex acoustic stretch fabric ceiling installed at The Rocks HYATT.
EchoSorb acoustic baffles installed in a French school, Sydney.
EchoSorb acoustic baffles suspended at Russel Investments.
CC – Why is it so important?
PD – Research has indicated that noise is one of the major causes of loss of sleep and concentration. Medical research has found that long-term consistent exposure to noise can affect a person’s health. It is now an important part of occupational health and safety management plan for all occupations. Consistent exposure to noise in the long term can even lead to heart attack.
CC – If it is so important, does that mean there are standards for the various industries that you sell into that your products help manufacturers and builders meet?
PD – Yes, all our products are independently tested by third party certifiers and exceed the Australian Building Standards.
CC – Do you have products tailored for specific applications and can you give us some examples?
PD – We are a solution provider with in house capability for manufacture, research and development, supply and installation. We are one of a very few Australian companies still manufacturing in Australia so we can design and manufacture a solution for a specific application when off-the-shelf products just won’t do.
CC – What materials are typically used to make acoustic insulation materials?
PD – We should divide the acoustic material in 3 categories:
- Noise Barrier materials, traditionally heavy materials, e.g. brick, concrete, lead…
- Sound absorber materials, e.g. fiberglass, polyester/polyurethane foams , rockwool…
- A combination of the above
CC – Do these product also offer any thermal insulation benefits?
PD – Yes, that’s the beauty of it as you’re getting acoustic and some thermal insulation in one product.
CC – Many of the sound insulation products currently available in the marketplace use petroleum based materials such as PVC. I hear that you have a unique new product that is made from renewable materials and addresses sustainability issues. Can you tell us about that?
PD – Unlike traditional oil based viscoelastic noise barriers which are mass loaded with PVC or ethylene and include harmful plasticizers, QuietWave® is a water based noise barrier that includes other naturally occurring organic materials.
In developing the QuietWave® viscoelastic acoustic noise barrier acoustica has adopted the principles of Green chemistry, also called sustainable chemistry, which is a philosophy of chemical research and engineering that encourages the design of products and processes that minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances. Green chemistry seeks to reduce and prevent pollution at its source. It aims to avoid problems before they happen.
QuietWave acoustic insulation made from sustainable materials.
CC – Apart from the environmental benefits, how does this product perform against more conventional materials in terms of acoustic damping and price?
PD – The QuietWave® acoustic noise barrier isolates noise and dampens sound vibration to increase sound transmission loss. The vibration in Acoustica’s organic QuietWave® viscoelastic noise barrier parallels the theoretical performance of the ideal limp mass barrier.
At today’s oil price, our new organic material is equivalent to traditional flexible acoustic barriers.
CC – Will you be offering this product for sale overseas?
PD – At the moment have a number of distributors around the world that on sell our current products. Once we introduce the QuietWave® range of products these products will also be available to our overseas customers.
CC – Is it true that this product will also offer fire resistance in the event of such an occurrence?
PD – Certainly, the product is Group 1 fire rated certified by the CSIRO. So in the unfortunate event that there is a fire in the building the QuietWave® range of products will offer a high level of fire resistance.
CC – Do you expect to use renewable materials in more of your products in the future and do you see them superseding more conventional materials like PVC?
PD – Our aim at Acoustica is to eventually move a majority of our products away from the conventional materials used for acoustic insulation. In saying that, there are applications where the conventional materials will still be required for example, in the marine industry.
CC – Having your own R&D facilities, does this mean you are constantly looking for new markets for you products, and new materials for your existing markets? And do you welcome clients with new potential applications?
PD – We are always looking for new markets and our sales team are endlessly working to increasing our client base, however, we also find that being innovative is fundamental part of the business as it open up doors in our existing markets to solve a wide range of noise issues.
By the same token it can also lead into new markets.
At Acoustica we always strive to listen to our customers and if there is a potential application that can be easily adopted at our manufacturing plant we will certainly look at it in detail.
CC – As an Australian manufacturer, do you find it hard competing with cheaper imported materials, especially with the strength of the Australian dollar, and does the strength of the local currently make export difficult for Acoustica?
Acoustica – I always get asked this question and I enjoy answering it. At times it does get difficult competing against cheap imports but we have shown over and over again that our products are far superior. Not only from a performance point of view but also from an environmental one. Our products have some of the lowest VOC emissions on the market. I can’t say the same for some of those cheaper imports.
The export side of the business has been performing extremely well in the last 3 years. We have actually seen a substantial amount of sales in that area which is promising.
For more information about QuietWave or any other sound insulation products, please visit Acoustica.