Research shows noise in the workplace is a major issue. So how can nanofibre technology help?

Acoustics are a major workplace problem

If you work in an open plan office or education facility, you may well be one of millions bothered by noise and bad acoustics in your workplace. Research shows you're not alone - it is a major problem. Workplace specialists and industry experts around the world have tried to solve this problem.

Traditional solutions?

One solution has been to include sound absorbing materials in the design of workplace interiors (via wall panels, upholstered furniture etc.) Traditionally these materials are thick and heavy, which leads to bulky design solutions. Traditional soft materials are also limited in the amount of noise they can absorb.

We chose a more innovative solution

Our team has taken a fibre so small it can not even be seen by the human eye and looked at the problem differently...

Soft materials absorb some sound waves and can be used to try to reduce noise in environments such as an open plan office or education facility. But how much difference can they actually make?

How we use nanofibre to address the issue

Our design team knew that using traditional soft materials to absorb sound only solved a small part of the problem. Setting out to solve the noise issue, they began to investigate the option of incorporating nanofibre as a lightweight, yet dense, sound absorption alternative. Nanofibres are extremely fine fibres with incredible porosity which makes them exceptionally absorbant.

Products incorporating nanofibre are scientifically proven to help resolve the issues of noise in open plan spaces. The nanofibre absorbs an exponentially higher proportion of sound than conventional fibres and converts sound energy to heat energy which is then dissipated. This dulls the sound of speech to a more manageable and less distracting level.

Designed to enhance the absorptive features of the soft walls, the use of nanofibres in commercial furniture is a real game changer in terms of both design and functionality.

Nanofibre is scientifically proven to help absorb sound and dull noise to a less distracting level. Its ability to do this is much greater than that of conventional fibres.

About SonoLayr™ Nanofibre

The SonoLayr™ nanofibre used in our acoustic furniture is the thinnest, most light-weight acoustic material in the world.

Revolutionary acoustic properties

SonoLayr™ nanofibre is an electrospun nanofibre, designed and created in partnership with fellow Auckland Company NanoLayr specifically to enhance the performance of our acoustic furniture. The electrospinning process creates fibres so small they can only be seen under powerful microscopes. This gives SonoLayr™ nanofibre some revolutionary acoustic properties.

Powerful sound absorption

A thousand times less than the thickness of a human hair the very fine fibres, invisible to the naked eye, create thousands of layers of sound absorbing fibres. SonoLayr™ nanofibre creates huge surface area in an incredibly dense, lightweight layer, thus eliminating the bulk and weight of previous acoustic furniture solutions. Our streamlined acoustic furniture is the result and uses SonoLayr™ nanofibres inside the furniture as an acoustic substrate which enhances the sound absorbing features of the soft walls of the collection.

Scientifically proven to reduce noise

We carried out independent scientific tests to find out how effective SonoLayr™ nanofibre is at improving sound quality in a space. Tests were conducted to ISO 354 standards in a controlled environment by qualified industry experts in association with Callaghan Innovation. This standard describes methods for measuring the absorption of sound by single objects, such as acoustic furniture. This is measured across different sound frequencies. Tests were designed to measure the amount of sound that is absorbed by SonoLayr™ nanofibre as opposed to a fibre that does not include nanofibre.

How is sound quality affected?

Sound is vibration, therefore when it meets a hard surface it is reflected back unless absorbed by a soft surface such as the fibrous acoustic material of the SonoLayr™ nanofibre. When sound is absorbed the overall sound quality in the room improves.

Why test?

If we can control the parameters relating to sound absorption, we can create a more comfortable acoustic environment for the people occupying the space.

SonoLayr Performance

The graph shows that SonoLayr™ nanofibre is at least twice as efficient at absorbing noise as a fibre that does not contain nanofibre.

The ability of SonoLayr™ nanofibre to absorb sound is at its strongest in the medium frequencies which is the frequency of human speech and of many of the common sounds in an office environment.

Truly world-leading

By incorporating the use of nanofibre sheeting within our furniture PLN Group has created entirely unique and award-winning products. The enhanced sound absorption of our acoustic collection cannot be matched by any other furniture manufacturer around the globe. These solutions are already making a difference for our clients worldwide.

What are the Applications?

Our acoustic furniture systems offer a truly innovative and advanced sound absorbing performance applicable to offices, education and health/aged care facilities – anywhere sound quality is an issue.

Case Studies

Our acoustic furniture collection is currently in use worldwide in organisations like HSBC, Citibank, ASB and Motorola, Singapore. It's also used in libraries and universities like Wintec's Rotokauri Campus Hub.

Download our Layman's Guide to Acoustics for more info.

Products utilising nanofibre technology: