If you’ve recently been shopping for office furniture, you may have come across the familiar blue tick. This certifies that the product you are looking at is certified and has a rating awarded by AFRDI. But what is an AFRDI rating? And is it important when purchasing office furniture?
In this article, we’ll explain everything that goes into an AFRDI rating and what it means for product quality. After reading, you’ll be able to accurately identify high-quality materials and professional manufacturing.
What is an AFRDI Rating?
AFRDI, which stands for Australasian Furnishing Research & Development Institute, is an independent organization that conducts research and provides technical information related to the furnishing industry. One of its primary functions is to develop and maintain a rating system for office furniture materials.
Depending on the type of office furniture, AFRDI offer differing levels of certification. The main “Blue Tick” certification scheme measures the quality and durability of office furniture materials on a scale of 1 to 6, with 6 being the highest rating. The ratings are based on several factors, including resistance to wear and tear, fading, and staining, as well as the ability to withstand impacts and weight loads.
Additionally, AFRDI provides a rated load certification (AFRDI 142) for office chairs designed for individuals weighing more than 110 kg under continuous use.
Manufacturers who have their products tested by AFRDI pay for the privilege, and formally agree to maintain product quality and submit regular samples for repeated testing. According to AFRDI Technical Manager, Ian Burton, their testing standards are “severe and realistic” and chairs which survive are “genuinely superior” products.
What Do the AFRDI Certification Levels Mean?
Although AFRDI has a scale that comprises six different certification levels, it usually grants only four.
- Level 3 – Suitable for domestic use
- Level 4 – Suitable for light commercial use (offices, hospitality, etc)
- Level 5 – Suitable for medium commercial and heavy-duty office use (industrial spaces)
- Level 6 – Heavy commercial use conditions (warehousing, construction, etc)
What Does an AFRDI Assessment Involve?
The chair is first inspected for functionality, adjustability and safety. The relevant standards test the major components of the chair, such as castors, gas springs, mechanisms, bases, fabrics, and filling materials. These include ranges and adjustability required for ergonomic reasons, as well as dimensions that relate to stability.
The testers examine the chair’s ability to endure sporadic, static loads and evaluate its response to long-term use. The testers apply forces to the seat and back of chairs in load cycles of 50,000 repetitions. Chairs with Level 4 rating can endure 50,000 fatigue cycles, while those with Level 5 rating can withstand 100,000 cycles, and chairs rated Level 6 can sustain above 200,000 fatigue cycles
AFRDI also conducts impact tests to assess a chair’s ability to withstand unexpected forces. They strike different points of the chair with a 6.5kg hammer to measure its impact resistance. The final impact test involves dropping the chair from a height such that it lands on a single leg.
Stability tests measure the likelihood of someone tipping the chair over in standard lean and recline tests. Rolling stability tests include performing the same tests while the chair is in rolling motion. After completing the test program, AFRDI testers inspect the chair once more to determine if the testing has caused any breakages or deformities and to verify that the chair is still safe and functional.
Tables & Desks
Although other regulatory boards may establish more challenging or less stringent tests, we consider the Australian Standard to provide sufficient assurance that the products will deliver good service beyond a ‘reasonable’ lifespan.
To obtain AFRDI certification, we evaluate tables and desks based on the following criteria:
- General safety
- Strength and durability
- Dimensional compliance.
Which OLG Products are AFRDI Rated?
Although we ensure that all our products meet some form of Australian or international standard as a minimum, only some of them receive an AFRDI Rating.
The Urban Mesh Chair has an AFRDI rating of 6, meaning its appropriate for heavy commercial use.
Two of our tables are also AFRDI certified, with the Agile+ range and the Modulus Flip Table both certified as AFRDI level 3.
Recently, OLG achieved Platinum partnership with AFRDI, which will allow us to test and certify more of our chairs and desks later this year.
Is an AFRDI Rating Important?
An AFRDI Rating is a great way for Australian sellers of office furniture to display their product’s build quality and durability. At a glance, buyers familiar with the “blue tick” can see if a product passes an extremely stringent testing regiment.
Having said that, products without an AFRDI rating aren’t necessarily poorly made or untested.
Whilst OLG products are designed for Australian businesses, they are also available in other parts of the world through our global partners. As such, OLG product is designed & manufactured with reference to a variety of relevant international standards, not just AS/NZS and AFRDI.
Some of these standards and certifications are listed below.
- ANSI/BIFMA. BIFMA is the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer’s Association (USA). The mission of this organization is to create voluntary standards that promote safe working environments. BIFMA operates under the auspices of ANSI, the American National Standards Institute. The highest-quality office furniture products are tested by independent laboratories around the world to ANSI/BIFMA performance standards. These standards are widely accepted across the Americas and APAC.
- BS EN. British Standards are the standards produced by the BSI Group which is incorporated under a royal charter, and which is formally designated as the national standards body (UK). BS ENs are British standard implementations of English language versions of European standards (ENs)
- ISO 9001. This international standard sets out the criteria for a quality management system in all areas of design, manufacture & supply. The integrity of business process is as important as the final product. OLG and its key factories are certified to this standard.
- ISO 14001. This international standard that sets out the criteria for an environmental management system, including product stewardship. OLG and its key factories are certified to this standard.
All these standards, irrespective of jurisdiction, set rigorous criteria for the accreditation of products and provide buyers & users assurance that the products are high quality & fit for purpose.
A Track Record of High-Quality Products is the Most Important Thing
While an AFRDI rating and a blue tick can definitely help from a marketing and trust perspective, more importance needs to be placed on how a product has performed over time.
All OLG products come with an industry-leading 10-year warranty coupled with an impeccable return and repair policy.
We’re Here to Help
Are you looking for premium quality office furniture? Or simply want a wholesaler that you can rely on? Feel free to give us a call at 02 8188 2732 so we can discuss some options.
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