Test methods in the Sleeplab
2014-10-10 [Press release]
According to research by Hilding Anders in collaboration with the AEH Centre for Occupational Healthcare, the four dimensions of ergonomics, hygiene, bed climate and durability are needed to describe and evaluate sleep systems. Because no European test institute has covered this range to date, the necessary test methods were developed in-house in collaboration with the AEH Centre on the basis of scientific literature and the valid European directives and standards. The following provides a brief insight into a complex process:
Essential precondition: The basic check
The fundamental properties, fabrication and service features of the mattress are examined: Existing zones and their location, presence of an edge reinforcement, processing of surface structure and materials, robustness of carrying handles, composition of covering and quilting material, completeness of documentation supplied at the same time (washing instructions and symbols, guarantees, certificates concerning material properties such as OEKO-TEX and quality testing).
Ergonomics: The measurement test bench
A method developed specially with the AEH, in which four measurements (at head, shoulder, lumbar and hip level) are carried out with different pressure stamps, determines the lying properties of the mattress such as point elasticity and shoulder and pelvic zone strain relief. To allow reliable conclusions to be drawn about active lumbar support, tests are also carried out with a dummy and an X-Sensor mat, whose 1664 sensors provide a precise image of the pressure situation and produce reproducible results.
Bed climate: The sweat dummy and the test chamber
To allow a meaningful comparison between different mattresses, they must be compared in defined, constant climatic conditions. These conditions are created in a climate chamber which guarantees a consistent temperature of 23°C and 50% relative humidity.
A revolutionary new test facility measures the microclimate on and in the mattress: For this, a dummy simulates human sweating and temperature behaviour during sleep within the constant conditions ensured by the climate chamber. Using sensors and a precision balance, the moisture, temperature and weight increase of the mattress and the conditions in the hollow of the bed are measured over a seven-hour sleeping period, along with the subsequent regeneration time until the absorbed moisture is released again.
Hygiene and care properties: The washing test
A washing test determines whether the mattress cover shrinks or felts after a gentle wash at 60° followed by spin-drying at 800 rpm and how long it needs to air dry. Ease of handling is also assessed.
Comfort and wellbeing: Human experts
The interplay of the various materials and the structure of a mattress are intended to provide optimum lying and comfort properties. However, only one test method can provide the ultimate assessment: the human user, with all his sensory skills. We therefore use suitably trained test sleepers of both genders and various age groups and sizes who test the mattresses for all sorts of different comfort characteristics when resting and moving and for freedom from odour using a standardised procedure.
Durability: The roller test bed
Standard measures as specified in EN DIN 1957:2012 determine the durability. The mattress is artificially aged by rolling a 140 kg-solid wooden roller at a specified speed and in three standardised sequences across the surface (100, 15,000, 15,000 cycles). The lying hardness, height loss and hysteresis are recorded specifically.
Analysis of results: The test report
After completion of all the tests, the results are analysed and evaluated using a defined system and assigned to the categories of ergonomics, hygiene, bed climate and durability, creating an individual performance profile for each mattress.
Certification: The AEH Test Mark
The Swiss AEH Centre for Occupational Healthcare, Ergonomics and Hygiene, a spinoff from the Federal Technical University in Zurich, checks the test results and then awards the products which achieve at least 5 points in all 4 dimensions, the “AEH quality approved/certified quality” seal. The AEH Centre, as an independent monitoring body, also reviews the procedures and results of the “Good Night’s Sleeplab” initially in six-monthly and then in annual audits.