Quality controls for Santos kitchens: boards
16 / 04 / 2021
Santos has always designed and manufactured its kitchens with one main objective: to ensure that they stay as good as new for many years. This is why the brand subjects them to comprehensive laboratory controls and tests, intended to ensure that the materials and components meet high quality and durability standards.
All tests are carried out in accordance with the standards UNE 56875 V2—Kitchen furniture. Specifications, requirements and test methods—, UNE-EN 16122—Domestic and non-domestic storage furniture. Test methods for the determination of strength, durability and stability—and UNE-EN 14749—Furniture. Domestic and kitchen storage units and kitchen worktops. Safety requirements and test methods.
The tests conducted by Santos not only seek to comply with the minimum requirements laid down by European regulations, but also to surpass them by a wide margin—in some cases doubling or tripling the required values. In addition, Santos performs additional in-house tests, for increased product quality and safety.
Quality control for boards
The board is a structural element that constitutes the basis for constructing cabinets, so how long the kitchen will last will largely depend on its quality and strength. The boards used by Santos must pass strict tests for resistance to weight, bending or scratching, simulating conditions of use and wear equivalent to the entire lifespan of the kitchen.
First of all, Santos carefully inspects and analyses each batch received at its factory, checking that the tone and colour of the board are the right ones. Then, a sample is taken to ensure that its density and thickness meet the tolerances laid down by the standards. Should a board not have the required values, a new sample is taken from its batch to repeat the tests. If the values from these second tests are confirmed to be insufficient, the entire batch is rejected.
Tests for the mechanical properties of the board are set out as part of an incoming batch sampling plan. These tests are done through a series of laboratory tests aimed at confirming that the material meets the required parameters in terms of resistance to bending, perpendicular traction, surface tearing, screw removal and scratching.
Bending resistance test
It is carried out in a universal testing machine fitted with a span. It consists in applying weight on a board sample while measuring the force necessary to bend it until it breaks. This is used to check that the material is able to withstand heavy loads on its surface, a relevant factor to ensure the strength and safety of items intended to bear weights such as shelves.
Testing for resistance to perpendicular traction
This is a test to measure the adhesive strength between the glue and the particles or fibres of the board, an essential parameter to confirm that the kitchen fittings will remain in place between the fibres and will not detach. The segment to be tested is glued between two wooden blocks, on which perpendicular traction is exerted until the sample breaks. In this way, Santos checks that adhesion complies with the value specified in the reference standard, which is a good indicator of the quality of the material.
Surface tear resistance test
If the previous test is used to assess how solid the board is, this one checks the quality and strength of the glue that joins it to a hard outer coating, either melamine or laminate. It consists in measuring the force necessary to break the sample, and it ensures that the adhesion of the coating is adequate. In this way, it is possible to ensure that a surface will not detach from its board during the entire lifespan of the kitchen.
Testing for resistance to screw removal
This test measures how well the board resists screw removal. If a screw is easily removed, this means that the material does not offer enough cohesion and strength, which could cause hinges, guides and other elements screwed to the cabinets to detach. Therefore, it is a crucial test to guarantee final product quality. The regulations specify that this test should be conducted on the edging of all boards and on the decorative side of boards more than 15 mm thick, although Santos also carries out this test on boards with thicknesses below this.
Scratch resistance test
The objective of this test is to check the resistance to scratching of all the laminates and melamines available in the Santos brochure. It is performed using a diamond stylus, to which a load is gradually added until the weight under which the board begins to get scratched is determined. The regulations establish minimum weights with which the sample must not get scratched, which vary according to the finish. This is why different tests are carried out for melamines and laminates.
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