But how do you determine the quality of your data center furniture?
Thankfully, a group exists that can do a bit of the quality assurance legwork for you: BIFMA (the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association).
What is BIFMA?
Created by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), BIFMA sets certification standards for reliability and long-term safety in the console workplace. (You may notice the BIFMA certification logo at the bottom of InRacks webpages.)
BIFMA asks manufacturers to submit their products for testing and then they run through a series of tests examining key areas for quality assessment. With all tests, they either pass or fail.
BIFMA Test Considerations
Testers consider everything when it comes to assessment and often think about how furniture stands up to years and years of use. Test plans are determined by experienced professionals with backgrounds in engineering and testing. Generally, upon a successful test completion, it is expected that any product within a specific product line would pass the required tests.
Here are some of the test considerations BIFMA uses when accrediting console room furniture.
- Leg Strength Test
- Forced Stability Test
- Distributed Functional Test Load
- Work Surface Vertical Adjustment Test
- Racking Resistance Test
- Storage Unit Drop Test
- Force Test for Door Locks
- Cycle Test for Extendable Elements
- Sit-Stand Seating
- Motion Seating
- Seating Durability Tests Impact
- Seating Durability Tests Front Corner Load-Ease
Basically, these BIFMA testers hope for the best, but plan for the worst. (Imagine how much fun it would be to try to break furniture—that’s literally their job!)
When it comes to testing console products, BIFMA only does “worse-case testing”, meaning that a worst-case product/condition/configuration will be representative of all models or units of the type tested. If a “worst-case condition” is not apparent, BIFMA will do a case-by-case product line analysis with the manufacturer to take into consideration any special attributes, methods of construction, materials, and/or design features, etc. However, many times several models must be tested to make sure all worst-case scenarios are determined. The manufacturer will provide documents and literature to help recommend compliance standards.
All for One, One For All
As mentioned before, because it’s rather cumbersome to imagine testing every possible product, generally the rule of thumb is that one product sample serves as representative for all other products, especially when they are all made out of the same materials.
A single product or test sample will be used for multiple tests. When it comes to durability tests, a single product will be put through a series of individual tests, which are often performed until the product no longer meets the acceptance levels of the assessment. If or when this occurs, the product does not fail the test, but the test is rerun using a new samples before continuing the test sequence.
However, some considerations will be made when there are different versions of products or when there is a test failure. For example, if a product is determined not to meet the requirements in a test, at round 9 of 12, then a new sample is permitted to be tested to confirm conformance to test 9 before moving on to the test sequences of 10 through 12 in the new sample product.
How Often Are Products Tested?
Testing the quality of a product through BIFMA is not just one and done. Testing frequency is important in establishing and reaffirming the durability of a product. Even if it’s made the same way each year, testing should be repeated on a regular basis. This of course will depend on how many of the products are produced, regulatory requirements, customer complaints, and other factors that may come up.
Console Room Quality
When it comes to Inracks furniture, customers can trust that their console room furniture undergoes quite a bit of testing and examination before it’s placed in your command center. There’s a lot of thought and care put into each and every piece, all in an effort to keep employees comfortable and able to do their job to the best way they can. In this case, quality in the furniture can determine quality in employee efficiency and morale. A chair isn’t just a chair: It’s a tool for success.
Inracks develops innovative Command and Control Room Furniture infrastructure solutions for a variety of clients. Most of the company’s early activities addressed custom design and manufacturing, which they found fit well with their principal core competency: creation of low volume, low cost solutions involving storage and racking of data processing equipment.