Why You Need a Furniture Testing Laboratory
Furniture manufacturers and retailers face a myriad of uncertainties during production and shipping, as well as after products are in the hands of their consumers. Regulations governing quality, health, and safety are a minefield too, so using a furniture testing laboratory is an essential step to avoid costly recalls, complaints, and possible litigation, all the way from the factory floor to customers’ doorstep. Here we'll look at the challenges that furniture manufacturers and retailers face in conforming to international regulations, and the need for approved third-party laboratory tests to keep furniture suppliers in business.
Regulating Authorities Furniture Manufacturers and Retailers Need to Know About
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is a United States Government law restricting levels of hazardous materials in products imported into or made within the US, especially those for children. CPSIA demands third-party laboratory tests by accredited laboratories with tight restrictions on phthalates (plasticizers), lead and other toxic substances in products including furniture, especially for children such as beds, cribs, and highchairs.
Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is a European Union regulation that severely restricts the levels of specific chemical substances in all imported goods. This comprehensive and far-reaching environmental legislation is updated regularly. Manufacturers and suppliers at all levels of the supply chain are expected to be aware of the latest restrictions and face hefty penalties for noncompliance. Here are just some of the toxic substances regulated by REACH that require third-party laboratory tests:
Azo colorants in textiles
Nickel released from metal products in direct contact with skin
Substances of very high concern (SVHCs) that are known to pose serious public health and environmental risks are also tightly restricted by REACH. All products sold in the EU have to comply with the limit of 0.1% w/w (0.1% of total product weight) for the following SVHCs: Carcinogenic, Mutagenic or toxic to reproduction (CMR); Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic (PBT); very Persistent and very Bioaccumulative (vPvB); and endocrine disrupters.
Ensuring Furniture Quality
Defects and Failures
Undetected defects in furniture can cause hazardous failures that'll be costly to the manufacturer or retailer's reputation, as well as financially costly in recalls or liability in the event of any injuries or damage. Furniture manufacturers also have to ensure their products can withstand possible misuse of the furniture by consumers.
Manufacturers must know that the materials sourced and used in furniture production will last a long time. Textiles and fabrics used must be of a high quality to ensure against rapid wear and tear. Stitching and fastenings, being an integral part of any furniture item, must also be strong.
Textile colors can fade, run or bleed under various conditions. Light, perspiration, washing and seawater are culprits that can quickly cause furniture textiles to lose their original color. Ensuring against color loss is especially important for furniture intended for outdoor use.
Health and Safety
The EU, the US, and many Asian countries insist that a wide range of health and safety requirements are met for imported furniture and textiles. Regulations include restrictions on hazardous chemicals, dyes, and plasticizers. Restrictions are especially stringent for furniture and textiles intended for children.
Azo Dyes and Colorants
A total of 22 aromatic amines are substances commonly found in textile dyes and colorants that are restricted by the EU's REACH directives (Appendix 8, Annex XVII). The current maximum detectable limit stipulated for these substances is 30 mg/kg (0.003 % by weight). If furniture items are found by authorities to contain toxic chemicals in excess of the set limits, the manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers of such products can face hefty fines.
Essential Furniture Laboratory Tests
The laboratory tests listed below are essential to ensure your furniture complies with regulations and is fit for market.
Textile Physical Tests:
Fiber identification (textiles, synthetics, leather)
Colorfastness check (CF to light, ozone, burnt gas fumes, phenolic yellowing perspiration, water, bleach)
Functional tests (water vapor permeability, water resistance, water repellence)
Optical evaluation (appearance after desired care treatment)
Machine wash tests
Antibacterial and antimicrobial testing
Heavy metals in surface coatings
Flammability tests (EN 71-X, EN 1103, ASTM F963, CFR-X)
Dynamic and static standard tests, tensile force/pressure up to 10 kN
Dynamic and static custom tests, tensile force/pressure up to 20 kN
Durability tests and tests under constant load
Tests for increased loads
Testing of castors and hardware
Evaluation of construction and workmanship
Electrical Tests (for furniture with electrical / electronic components):
Electrical safety (LVD)
Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)
RED (Radio Equipment Directive)
Certifications for the Furniture Industry
QIMA offers certification for a wide selection of indoors and outdoors furniture, allowing you to demonstrate superior product quality and safety to your consumers:
The Benefits of Furniture Testing With QIMA Laboratories
QIMA has a worldwide network of laboratories in more than 100 countries that are fully accredited to carry out testing on behalf of CPSIA, SASO CoC and the China Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Association (CIQA), as well as ensuring your furniture complies with the latest REACH regulations.
Impartial Assessments for the Latest Regulations
Rigorous transparent and independent third-party laboratory testing with QIMA ensures your products are fit for the worldwide market by complying with the very latest international regulations. See the latest regulatory updates here.
Tailored Testing for your Specific Needs
We keep your laboratory testing costs low with fixed price product inspections, supplier audit programs, and laboratory testing.
Prestigious Partners You Can Rely on
We've got your supply chain covered with a network of professional partners and industry leaders in quality control, testing, freight forwarding, supply chain management and many more business partners leading the way today and in the future. See the full list of our partners here.
Reach out to us today for your furniture testing solution. Contact us here for an instant quote or assistance and advice for your specific needs.
The QIMA benefits
Independent quality control performed by product experts to protect your business interests.
Global coverage in over 100 countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, North and South America.
Speed and flexibility with an inspector onsite within 48 hours; modify or cancel up to the day before inspection.
Same-day inspection reports tailored for your product.
Online program management book inspections, make payments and download detailed reports.
Custom quality dashboard to identify trends and make informed decisions in real-time.