FIRA International has invested significant sums in new measurement equipment in order to offer enhanced ergonomic assessment services to the furniture industry supply chain, and to complement its current equipment base.
A newly purchased pressure mapping system has an active surface area of 81.28cm x 203.2cm and featuring 10,240 pressure sensors to show where products impact the body. Advanced software supplied with the equipment has the ability to provide test result images in both 2D and 3D. This helps manufacturers and designers assess pressure distribution and comfort for products such as mattresses, sofas, recliner sofas, task chairs etc.
Pressure mapping can also be used in conjunction with wider furniture testing services from FIRA International, such as durability tests, where products are subjected to years of use over a short period of time in order to gauge how well they will perform long-term. Pressure mapping before and after durability testing offers a comparison on comfort, and an indication as to how ergonomically sound the item will be after years of use.
FIRA International has also invested in an upgraded spinal tracing equipment which is the method Levent Çaglar, Senior Ergonomist at FIRA International has developed to assess performance of mesh back task chairs. FIRA will be proposing the use of this methodology for measuring lumbar adjustability of mesh chairs to the European Standards making body, CEN, for consideration in future European Standards. According to the Office for National Statistics almost 31 million days of work were lost in 2013 due to back, neck and muscle problems, costing the UK economy £14 billion a year, so it’s vital that furniture can be ergonomically assessed and tested to ensure it provides adequate support and promotes good posture. As such, the use of spinal tracing as part of ergonomic testing allows feedback on how chairs affect posture, assisting product development.
Speaking on the equipment investment, Levent Çaglar, senior ergonomist at FIRA International, says: “this new investment helps us continually advance our ergonomic assessments and capabilities. The new kit will give our clients greater insight to how their customers will experience their products.
“The new pressure mat and spinal tracing mouse adds to our current equipment base, which includes measurement dummies for BS EN 1335 (Office furniture. Office work chair) and BS EN 1729 (Furniture. Chairs and tables for educational institutions), a glossmeter for measuring reflection on surfaces; alongside various dimensional testing kits for everything from high chairs to aeroplane seats.”