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 at FIRA International, said “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.”
Further details on FIRA’s ergonomics services are available at www.fira.co.uk
The new European Standard covering requirements for the gas cylinders used in office chairs, and similar seating has been published.
The standard, BS EN 16955: 2017 Hardware for furniture – Tapered pressure tubes for self-supporting gas springs for the height adjustment of seating- Test methods and requirements for strength and durability, includes test methods for assessing the strength of gas cylinders based on different weights, uses and designs of seat.
In addition to the test methods, the standard also provides guidance on selection of the correct gas cylinder for the end use as well as how to mount gas cylinders safety.
For more information contact FIRA by email firstname.lastname@example.org or tel 01438 777 700
FIRA International have recognised CMD with an Ergonomics Excellence Award for their ‘Reach Spring Assisted Monitor Arm’. The Ergonomics Excellence Award identifies genuine ergonomic excellence across workplace and domestic furniture products.
To achieve the ergonomics award products are independently assessed by FIRA’s ergonomics department for ergonomic qualities; ergonomic design; whether the product is ergonomically and structurally fit for purpose; level of comfort and wellbeing for the user; compliance with relevant health and safety regulations; and ensuring the manufacturer has high quality standards and a good environmental policy.
Being spring assisted, the monitor arm’s tilt and position can be adjusted with little or no effort, allowing for numerous viewing angles and distances. Height adjustments result in the monitor arm being suitable for the sitting height of 5th to 95th percentile people. Whilst horizontal adjustments allow for a range of comfortable eye to monitor distances.
Speaking on the award, Levent Caglar, Head of Ergonomics at FIRA International, said “The team were very impressed with the assessment of CMD’s Reach Spring Assisted Monitor Arm. The range of movements, coupled with the ease of movement, make this a very ergonomically sound product. It’s vital for well-being that screen users can easily move the position of monitors to suit their tasks, and the spring assisted monitor arm gives this ability.
“As well as holding excellent ergonomic credentials, the arm also offers quality assurance; CMD hold ISO 14001:2004 (environmental management systems) and the arm is manufactured from recycled aluminium (42%), steel (32%) and plastic (5%).”
As part of the full criteria of Ergonomics Excellence, FIRA International also confirmed that the Reach Spring Assisted Monitor Arm had also met the applicable requirements of ‘BS EN ISO 9241-5:1999 Ergonomic requirements for office work with visual display terminals (VDTs). Workstation layout and postural requirements’. It also successfully fulfilled the ‘Level Severe’ requirements of FIRA’s structural integrity and durability test (PP 0045:2003).
The monitor arm joins over 21 products with a FIRA Ergonomics Excellence Award, including task seating, desking, computer accessories, mattresses and garden furniture.
Designers or manufacturers across the furniture supply chain who are keen to understand the ergonomic effectiveness of their products should email email@example.com, call +44 (0)1438 777 700 or visit www.fira.co.uk/ergonomics – which also includes a list of all current excellence holders.
Latest statistics on the production of manufactured goods reveal that the UK furniture industry continued to grow despite a comparatively difficult business environment and increasing competition from overseas.
Whilst the total turnover data for 2016 remain provisional, they are not anticipated to change significantly by the time that they are eventually confirmed this time next year. Time series data show that all sub sectors experienced a downturn as a result of the 2008 financial crisis. However, unlike some other industries, recovery was almost immediate. The brakes were put on the decline from 2009 to 2012 after which total furniture manufacturing turnover increased by 29% from £7.1 billion to a provisional £9.2 billion in just 4 years.
If you wish to become a member of the Furniture Industry Research Association to view this data, and other key resources, you can learn more about membership here. Or alternatively contact the team on +44 (0)1438 777 700, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Furniture Industry Research Association has published advice for members on how to be compliant with the new EU Green Public Procurement (GPP) guidelines for textiles, which were launched earlier this month.
The EU GPP criteria exist to facilitate the inclusion of green requirements in public tender documents. The criteria aims to reach a balance between environmental performance, cost considerations, market availability and ease of verification. Tender documents may include all or some of the GPP guidelines, depending on the specific requirements of the tender.
FIRA Members can download the guidance, which includes an introduction to the guidelines, scope and criteria of the guidelines, alongside compliance and assessment criteria from here: https://www.fira.co.uk/news/article/eu-green-public-procurement-gpp-guidelines-for-textiles
If you wish to become a member of the Furniture Industry Research Association to view this document, and other key resources, you can learn more about membership here. Or alternatively contact the team on +44 (0)1438 777 700, or email email@example.com
Humanscale’s new range of ‘Trea’ chairs has received FIRA International’s Ergonomic Excellence Award, which recognises companies who design and manufacture ergonomically outstanding products.
The award identifies genuine ergonomic excellence in both domestic and workplace furniture products; clearly distinguishing those that are outstanding from other products in the marketplace which do not meet this stringent criteria.
To achieve the award, products are independently assessed by FIRA’s ergonomics department for ergonomic qualities; ergonomic design; whether the product is ergonomically and structurally fit for purpose; level of comfort and wellbeing for the user; compliance with relevant health and safety regulations; and ensuring the manufacturer has high quality standards and a good environmental policy.
All five chairs in the range have been recognised and comprise one chair with a cantilever base, two chairs with a star base (one on castors and one on glides) and two square based chairs (one on castors and one on glides).
Speaking on the Trea range, Levent Caglar, Senior Ergonomist at FIRA International, said “whilst the bases on the Trea chairs may differ, the fundamental ergonomic design of the seat remains constant. And this was why we have awarded Ergonomic Excellence to the full range.
“Our assessment found that participants who trialled each of the Trea chairs liked the comfort they provided. The curved shell of each of the chair backs was found to support and comfort the curves of the user, with particular support given to the lumbar. The chair range also has a backrest which reclines to follow the natural point of rotation in the hip whilst cradling the user’s lumbar. These were standout reasons for the award, alongside green credentials of the range”.
The Trea range joins over 20 products with a FIRA Ergonomics Excellence Award, including mattresses, garden furniture, desks, IT accessories, task seating and storage holders.
Designers or manufacturers across the furniture supply chain who are keen to understand the ergonomic effectiveness of their products, or interested in working with FIRA to develop new best practice standards should firstname.lastname@example.org, call +44 (0)1438 777 700 or visit www.fira.co.uk/ergonomics – which also includes a list of all current excellence holders.
The Government are working through a planned withdrawal of apprenticeship frameworks over the course of the parliament as employers move from old frameworks to the new Apprenticeship Standards. The Skills Funding Agency have released a notification that the Level 3 Furniture Apprenticeship Framework will be withdrawn on 1st April 2018. The Furniture Trailblazer Group have submitted a proposal to develop a replacement standard but are having some difficulties in getting approval.
As a replacement standard won’t be in place until September 2018 at the earliest we are urging employers to appeal against the planned withdrawal by completing a short online questionnaire. The survey will only take a few minutes to complete.
Full details of the consultation can be accessed on the following link: www.gov.uk/government/publications/removal-of-apprenticeship-frameworks
The online questionnaire can be accessed here: www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/5ZPXL