Fretwork | FFR cigarette test, which filling?
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FFR cigarette test, which filling?

FFR cigarette test, which filling?

FFR cigarette test, which filling?

The Schedule 4 test, better known as the cigarette or smoulder test, does not specify the type of filling to be used in this composite test, rather referring to the actual combination used in the manufacture of an item of furniture. Industry has ‘worked around’ this issue by using a so-called ‘worst case’ scenario approach of a non CMHR foam type as specified for the Schedule 5 test part 1 (better known as the match or open flame test).

However, there are fatal flaws in this approach. It is illegal, according to the requirements of the FFR, to use the foam specified for the Schedule 5 pt 1 test in the manufacture of upholstery in the UK. It is equally impossible for anyone other than a furniture manufacturer to determine exactly what is used in the production process and a large concern may use several sources of foam that would meet the specified requirements for any particular grade of foam. In this case it is the regulations that are flawed.

This is a fine example of one of the many ambiguities to be found in the FFR that have been known but ignored over decades. It is quite normal to use the Schedule 5 pt 1 filling but only provided the textile passes the test. It is a fact of life in this supply chain that some filling/textile combinations will fail, not the least when different textiles containing different fibre combinations or simply of different fabric weight are tested. It also fails to address the issue of presuming that a test over one type of foam (non CMHR) will give results that are relevant when comparison is made to a CMHR foam.

There is a possible solution in this matter by specifying that the worst case scenario be fulfilled by using the lowest density available of Combustion Modified Foam i.e. one that ‘could’ be used to manufacture upholstery in the UK. That would require the Testing Laboratory to perform the Schedule 4 test on a changed rig to the Schedule 5 pt 1 test with the consequent effect on costs or for various parts of the supply to continue to argue over precisely what should be done (or rather what should have been done?).

 

Peter Wragg
Peter Wragg
pjw@fretwork.org.uk
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