A vibrograph is a device which detects vibrations and charts them. These devices can be used in a number of different settings, and some creative individuals have even made their own for specialty projects. Numerous companies manufacture vibrographs for various applications, and they are available for sale through suppliers of scientific equipment, as well as directly through some manufacturers. Many manufacturers can also create custom equipment for specialized applications by request from customers.
One use for a vibrograph is in horology. When people work on watches and clocks, they can use a vibrograph to check accuracy. The device logs every tick, as well as other vibrations generated, and this data can be used to determine how accurate the timekeeping device is. Using a vibrograph, it's possible to extrapolate accuracy over a period of months or years. These devices are used to check on new watches, to confirm that repairs are satisfactory, and to gather information about a watch which needs repair before repairs begin.
Another use for vibrographs is in equipment monitoring. A vibrograph can be attached to a piece of equipment to provide data about the vibrations made by the equipment. Abnormalities can indicate that there is a problem such as too much pressure, a loose part, or a part which is about to break. The vibrograph can be used to catch problems before a human operator notices them, potentially saving on costly repairs by allowing issues to be addressed quickly. The device can also be used to check on the performance of a piece of equipment which appears to be faulty.
Vibrographs are also used to monitor vibrations at a site. In a vibrograph survey, a vibrograph is left at a site for a set period to record all vibrations. This can be useful for determining whether or not vibrations are occurring in a range which could be dangerous. For example, construction might threaten a historic building by subjecting it to intense vibrations. A vibrograph could be used to confirm that vibrations are in a safe range when crews work on roads, new buildings, and so forth.
There are other applications in which it might be useful to collect information about vibrations. Mining and other industries which use explosives sometimes utilize these machines to monitor safety and to confirm that charges are placed in the right location, for example. Vibrograph surveys can also provide information about the impacts of geologic activity, construction, passing vehicles, and so forth when people are studying fragile environments and structures.