Quality controls for Santos kitchens: units, fittings and worktops
08 / 11 / 2021
Quality controls on units, fittings and worktops are key to ensuring both the safety and long-term performance of the kitchen. Santos carries out comprehensive testing on its cabinets’ vulnerable points, always in accordance with the standards laid down by European and Spanish regulations. In addition to this, there are also expanded tests, in which components are subjected to conditions that are twice as strict as the established minimum requirements. These certify that not only will the furniture remain firm and well fastened, but also that it can withstand extreme conditions or accidental situations such as impact to the worktop, overloading of shelves and spillage of corrosive products.
Quality control for units with shelves, wall and hanging units
Furniture with shelves are often subjected to sustained stress, withstanding heavy weights for long periods. To ensure that these units will not break or overturn, Santos conducts overload tests in accordance with the current regulations, always pushing test cycles beyond what is required. In some cases, the cabinets are kept overloaded for several months, in order to study how each item responds in this situation in depth.
The tests, adapted to the characteristics of each unit, consist in applying forces in multiple directions to measure the degree of deformation of the cabinet, thus certifying its stability and safety. What’s more, the brackets are subjected to impact tests to assess their resistance to fractures which could lead to the accidental detachment of the shelves if they were to take place.
Santos also performs overload tests on wall and hanging units, which are used to check the strength of the wall fastening mechanisms. These tests ensure that the hanging bracket is suitable for the volume of the unit, which will prevent possible detachment.
Quality control for fittings and mechanisms
Handles, fittings and opening, closing and braking mechanisms are the components that are most often used in the kitchen. The former, aside from facilitating access to the inside of the cabinets, adds to the aesthetic value of the whole. The fittings, safety mechanisms and elements, despite being concealed from view, are largely responsible for providing users with a more seamless, comfortable and pleasant experience. All of them function every time the furniture is used, which is why it is important to ensure that they remain in good working order for as long as possible.
Santos carries out laboratory controls and tests on all metal components of its kitchens—handles, hinges, guides, screws, drains, etc.—to guarantee their resistance to corrosion and wear.
Corrosion resistance test
The metal parts are placed inside a chamber, where they are exposed to salt spray for cycles of between 24 and 100 hours. This verifies that the samples meet the regulatory specifications for corrosion resistance.
Abrasion and frictional resistance
This is an additional in-house test conducted by Santos, in which metal handles are subjected to the action of a machine simulating the abrasion and wear caused by daily use. This test helps to determine whether a handle and its finish will be capable of withstanding the passage of time.
All fittings included in the Santos brochure are subjected to robotic fatigue testing, in which they must withstand open-and-close cycles with the cabinets loaded. In these tests, the brand always doubles the number of cycles required by the standard, to verify that the components will perform adequately over the years. It goes without saying that if a fitting does not pass these tests, it will not be used.
Quality control for worktops
Worktops are one of the most important elements in the kitchen, not only because of their visual impact, but also because they provide users with a comfortable work surface on which to prepare food. In this case, Santos gives priority to factors such as strength and safety over aesthetics, only including materials that have passed strict quality controls in its brochure.
Food safety control
The first mandatory requirement for a worktop is that it should comply with food safety regulations, that is, it’s completely safe to come into contact with food. To verify this, Santos tests the materials in qualified external laboratories, dispensing with those that either do not comply with the standard or only comply with the bare-minimum requirements.
Testing for resistance against food and cleaning products
Throughout its lifespan, a worktop will be exposed to an infinite number of ingredients and substances. In order to check that the material will offer performance and strength in accordance with this need, in the laboratory, it is exposed to the action of cold and hot food, as well as to the effects of chemical and cleaning products.
Santos performs these tests with all the substances included in current regulations, observing the specified amounts, concentrations and times. It also carries out additional tests with products that have not been specified such as balsamic vinegar, beer, soy sauce, food colouring, commercial cleaning products, etc.
Heat resistance test
In everyday life, it is possible for a worktop to be subjected to the occasional effects of extreme heat sources. To check the reaction of the material to this situation, Santos subjects it to a dry heat resistance test.
The test consists in placing a block heated to a high temperature on the worktop, which will remain in the same position for 20 minutes. This makes it possible to see whether any mark is left on the worktop or it undergoes any change due to the heat and weight applied.
Impact resistance test
This test assesses the material’s resistance to impact. It is conducted by throwing metal balls of different weights and from different heights against the sample. It is one of the strictest and most decisive tests when selecting a finish.
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