Testing toys’ materials, protecting children

Toys can only be placed in the European market if they bear the CE Mark, so toy manufacturersare under legal obligation to ensure that their products are thoroughly tested.

A toy is defined in law as a product intended for children under 14 to play with Every year thousands of new toys enter the market and are not normally expected to harm our children.

Since January 1, 1990, toys can only be placed in the European market if they bear the CE Mark.

Toy manufacturers are now under a legal obligation to ensure that their products are thoroughly tested.

Manufacturers and their dealers have special tests performed by organisations such as LGA in Nuremberg, Germany.

After successful results the LGA can also award the GS (gepruefte Sicherheit – certified safety) mark.

* Load cells – using a Zwick Z005 testing machine equipped with a 500N load cell, LGA carries out many mechanical tests.

These enable everyday situations, which might arise in the playground or home, to be simulated under controlled laboratory conditions.

One example is when a child tugs at a stuffed dog’s muzzle with its teeth.

The muzzle must remain fully attached even when a tensile load of 90N (9kgf/20 lbf) is applied using the Zwick machine.

With other toys it is absolutely vital that no small parts can become detached, as swallowing them can be fatal for children.

Subjecting parts of the toy to such pulling, pushing, tearing, bending, and cycling forces is ‘child’s play’ using latest Zwick’s testXpert II software.

The reason is, said Zwick to manufacturingtalk, that all the important parameters of the test machine, such as crosshead speed, travel distances, required force limits, and loading profiles, can be set up and stored in the software.

* Accuracy and consistency – accuracy and consistency are very important and LGA benefits from the wide range of applications, which are possible from a single load cell.

For example, the 500N (112 lbf) load cell achieves ISO 7500 Class 1 down to a lower limit of 1N (0.22 lbf).

This means that forces measured at 1N have an accuracy of 0.01N (0.0022 lbf).

This saves the time and cost of purchasing and setting up secondary load cells.

In addition to mechanical and physical tests on toys LGA also performs chemical tests and checks for flammability, conformity with LFGB (food safety legislation), electrical safety, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), radio frequency authorisation and hygiene.

* Machine flexibility – the flexibility of the Zwick machine means that it can be equipped with various sensors, tools and fixtures.

Control and evaluation of the tests is performed automatically by the testXpert II software.

The operator can quickly perform widely differing tests due to the intelligent wizards and context sensitive system.

The measured values and results are shown on the screen during the test, and all test results can be directly processed, printed out, forwarded, exported and archived.

* About LGA Nuremberg – Die LGA Beteiligungs (a subsidiary of the TUV Rheinland) is a technical service-provider group (testing, consulting, qualification, certification), based in Nuremberg, Germany.

It provides support worldwide to private and public clients seeking to boost their national and international competitiveness.

* About the Zwick Roell Group – Zwick Roell customers profit from 150 years’ experience in materials and component testing.

Zwick is a world leader in static testing and is currently experiencing significant growth with its dynamic testing systems.

With innovative product development, a comprehensive product range and worldwide service, this family business provides tailor-made solutions for research and development and quality assurance in over 20 sectors, satisfying the most demanding requirements.

With over 950 employees, a production base in Ulm, regional headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and Singapore, plus offices in 56 countries, the brand name Zwick guarantees the highest product and service quality.

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