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Experts at The Laboratory at The Birmingham Assay Office have demonstrated their long term commitment to offering a full range of services to the fashion accessories industry with the introduction of another set of tests, specifically required to measure the colour fastness of leather.  These “Circular Rub” tests applied under wet or dry conditions are part of the specification required by most quality retailers. They simulate wear by applying a circular rubbing motion to the item and then assessing any colour transfer. Leather Belt The test is in accordance with British Standard BS 1006 1990: part UK-LC. Specially designed equipment ensures the outer side of the article to be tested is subject to circular rubbing at a constant pressure and speed, with a weight applied to ensure close contact. A clean white pad of wet or dry fabric is used to rub against the leather and after the physical test both materials are carefully scrutinised by a trained colour expert. Any colour transfer is assessed using a UKAS accredited “greyscale grading” method, requiring carefully controlled lighting and comparison of the “before” and “after”.  The grading scale runs from 5 - before colour fastness testing - to 1, with a rating of 3 to 4 after rubbing usually considered acceptable as some level of colour loss is almost inevitable. The impact on the article is also carefully assessed with experts looking not only for colour change but also blistering, polishing and any other physical changes, all of which are carefully noted. 

Leather Wear Instruments 

The circular rub test is now offered in addition to the Veslic rub, whereby the leather is subjected to rubbing backwards and forwards with either a wet or dry pad of fabric. For all colour fastness tests, the number of reciprocations and the force applied to the sample can be changed according to the suppliers’ requirements which will vary according to the type of article and the amount of wear which it is reasonable to expect. Leather strap Colour fastness tests are undertaken for quality assurance, to ensure that the product is fit for purpose and will meet consumer expectations during normal use.  The Laboratory also offers a suite of chemical tests to ensure that leather products comply with legal requirements in respect of potentially harmful and toxic substances such as Formaldehyde, Azo dyes, Chromium VI and Chlorinated Phenols. Organic Laboratory Manager Ben Halmshaw says “The circular wet and dry rub test is a necessary addition to our portfolio and we are really pleased to be able to offer our customers the range of leather tests that they require to make sure that articles are both compliant with legislation and meet the necessary quality standards.” To discuss the New Leather Wear Test or to enquire about chemical testing please contact The Laboratory T: 0871 871 6020 or E: testing@thelaboratory.co.uk phone tim or steve

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