Reviews in recent development of Furniture Technology

recliner chairs production system

Kettering-based Furniture

Based in Kettering, Northamptonshire, SATRA is primarily a membership-based organisation with over 1,500 member companies spread across 70 countries. These include manufacturers, retailers, resourcing companies and suppliers of materials, components and machinery. SATRA’s aim is to increase the profitability of its clients by giving them exclusive access to research and a wide range of independently accredited testing services and products.

SATRA has an annual turnover exceeding 7 million [pounds sterling] and derives is revenue from a mix of membership subscriptions, testing work for both member and non-member companies, sales of test equipment, and part-funding for a number of European based research projects.

It also offers management services and computerised systems to improve efficiency, and more than 100 items of test equipment for sale are made on site. Ongoing research covers topics such as furniture comfort, solvent-free adhesives, advice on implementing environmental legislation. Added to this is the regular publication of technical and market information.

In 1999 SATRA further developed its existing furniture testing facilities with the installation of a new furniture laboratory, representing an investment approaching 150,000 [pounds sterling] in new plant and equipment.

Today, SATRA’s furniture lab is temperature and humidity controlled and includes all the necessary equipment for assessing all types of furniture for a wide range of world markets, including domestic, hotel, hospital, contract and office sectors.

Extensive laboratories and trained staff evaluate materials and components such as: upholstery covers, cabinet materials, furniture finishes where resistance to liquids, solvents, chemicals, dry and wet heat, mechanical damage, abrasion and the effects of light. Facilities include five conditioned laboratories that allow testing to all relevant ISO, European and national standards.

Additional facilities include technology to measure the resilience and comfort of foam fillings, and several large climatic chambers (which can be set between -40 deg C to +40 deg C) to test the resistance to elevated temperatures for furniture assemblies, such as kitchen and bedroom doors and fascias, and the simulation of conditions inside freight containers.

SATRA also helps its clients with important safety regulations. Advice and full evaluation services are available to deal with flammability of beds and upholstery, entrapment issues with bunk beds and folding furniture, and the toxicity of materials (EN 71) used in nursery furniture.

SATRA’s Furniture Technology Centre

Head of SATRA’s Furniture Technology Centre, John Shipman, explains: ‘Our furniture laboratory has seen significant development in its testing and research capabilities over the last three years. This clearly demonstrates SATRA’s ongoing commitment to expanding its evaluation and testing resources. We can now offer a wide range of exciting opportunities to the furniture industry and provide an unparalled level of service.

‘SATRA is committed to providing the very best services demanded by industry at a price that can be afforded. We already serve a large customer base–including the domestic, contract, office, hotel, and shop-fitting sectors–and further expansion and investment has made SATRA the one-stop-shop for the furniture industry’s technology related needs.’

During 2003 SATRA has invested in a purpose built, state of the art, laboratory at its second site in Kellering. With over 70% of SATRA’s business coming from overseas, customers are keen to ensure that their products meet UK fitness-for-purpose expectations.

The new laboratory, planned for completion in January 2004, will include the largest, dedicated furniture flammability centre in the world. It will also be fitted with a range of SATRA-produced test equipment for evaluating beds, mattresses, bunk beds, office desks, office screens and office chairs etc.

SATRA offers a range of competitive services aimed at improving technology, reducing production costs, ensuring product safety, technical troubleshooting, and increasing technical awareness. Testing of materials, components and complete items of furniture, to UK and international performance standards, is available for suppliers, manufacturers and retailers. SATRA’s main services cover:

* Surface finish

The suitability of decorative and functional surface finishes can be evaluated through performance testing, which will determine whether materials are ‘fit-for-purpose’.

* Domestic upholstery

Upholstery cover performance is crucial to preventing complaints. SATRA can help ensure that products perform to customer expectations.

* Flammability

Flammability is a key issue for all types of upholstered furniture. Domestic products must meet specific regulations in the UK. Upholstered furniture and beds for use in hotels, and other contract situations must also meet special UK requirements.

* Cabinet furniture

Cabinet furniture in the home needs to be fit-for-purpose and able to withstand everyday knocks and repeated use.

* Beds and mattresses

SATRA offers unbeatable testing services for bed manufacturers that need materials or complete items tested by an independent third party for marketing, due diligence, or compliance purposes.

* Bunk beds

Bunk beds are recognised as major potential causes of injury in the home and in a few instances can lead to child deaths. SATRA can offer practical expert advice.

Production system for best recliners and furniture
Production system for best recliners and furniture

* Garden furniture

With the growth in garden furniture sales and the prospect of more products being made overseas, SATRA has created a set of Furniture Guidelines to help retailers, importers or resourcing companies be sure that the garden products are fit-for-purpose.

* Office seating

Accelerated testing techniques, unique to SATRA, are ideal for product development. Chair mechanisms can be tested in a few days rather than several weeks.

* Kitchen furniture

SATRA can ensure materials and methods of construction conform to the latest industry standards and SATRA Guidelines.

* Bathroom furniture

Steamy bathrooms can be potentially damaging to bathroom cabinets. SATRA’s high humidity chambers are used to evaluate wood based items for swelling, distortion and cracking of decorative finishes.

* Nursery furniture: best recliners reviews received from customers

Nursery reclining chair furniture must be safe. It sounds obvious, but there is the risk of manufacturers and retailers forgetting that the finish on the item must not harm users if it is ingested through sucking or chewing. In this reclining nursery chair segment, the company has received the most rated and best reviews from customers.

Tradition With a Modern Twist

Semi-detached brick cottage House

The first time architects Clinton and Diana Grobler inspected this 1880s semi-detached brick cottage, it seemed to have little going for it. Not only did the property sport a poorly conceived extension from the 1960s – which was painted in a violent mix of colours and created the feeling of a rabbit warren – but large trees at the front of the house blocked the light and the sweeping city views, and the backyard appeared to be a mishmash of outbuildings.

However, despite these apparent drawbacks, when Clinton and Diana first walked into the place they could immediately see its potential. And in their capable hands, it was soon transformed. The couple added a new, modern extension constructed of concrete slabs. Although contemporary in design, it was so sympathetically fashioned that the transition between the old cottage and the new space appears almost seamless.

“The generous Victorian room proportions – like the high ceilings – have been continued in the extension, and the vertical proportion of existing window openings have been reinterpreted into floor-to ceiling slot windows on the one side of the building,” Clinton says.

“Contemporary joinery and lighting has also been used throughout the existing and new buildings, which helps to unify the spaces,” he adds.

“And there is also a clear visual connection from the front door of the cottage through to the external terrace of the extension.”

Externally, too, the elevation of the extension is sympathetic to the height and proportions of the Victorian cottage – “Hopefully concealing the fact that the extension is a three-floor addition to a single-storey building!” Clinton says. “Our intention was always to design the extension as a contemporary space that complements the existing Victorian cottage without imitating it.”

semi-detached brick cottage
semi-detached brick cottage

Color Scheme

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Furniture industry and rules

Industry rule

When materials and components are not fit for purpose there is a high risk of customer complaints, product failure and the possibility of claims for compensation. Product specifications are a vital part of the buying process and ensure product uniformity. They assist with the task of demonstrating that due diligence has been exercised and that ‘all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure a product is safe’.

Key areas where SATRA can help retailers who are thinking of resourcing:

* Advice on the content of product specifications

* Up to-date information on product safety legislation including: The General Product Safety Regulations 1994 and 92/59/EEC; glass in furniture; bunk beds; upholstery; wire management in office furniture; the UK Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988

* Detailed performance standards for materials, components and complete items–SATRA’s Furniture Guidelines are useful here

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