How Burrow Revolutionized Furniture Testing

Life happens on couches. For Burrow, that meant we needed to create a product that could stand up to the wear and tear of the real world.

As it turns out, the standards for performance, durability, safety, and sustainability testing in the furniture industry are pretty outdated. BIFMA (Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturer's Association) sponsors the development of safety and performance standards, but not a lot of them make sense and none of them are truly standardized or required.

So, since we know we’d pass the “standard” tests with flying colors, Burrow stepped it up several notches and conducted “real world” tests, too.

Spoiler alert: Burrow didn’t just raise the bar, they built a whole new way of measuring the bar when it comes to product testing.

Cushion & Frame Durability Testing

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More than 99% of the U.S. population weighs less than 300 pounds, but Burrow still went ahead and simulated a 300-pound person sitting on the Burrow couch 50,000 times. That equals out to more than 10 times per day, every day, for more than 10 years, and the seat cushions lost a mere 0.4 inches of depth. In layman terms, that means the couch was soft and broken in, but still comfortable and looking good after all that heavy sitting.

To take it a step further, Burrow also simulated a 500-pound person jumping onto the sofa by dropping a 500-pound weight onto the couch from 12 inches above the seat.

According to the Manufacturing Solutions Center in the heart of “furniture land” in North Carolina, most furniture manufacturers only test a 275-pound drop from six inches up, and many fail.

I guess you could say Burrow went a little overboard, but it shows you how serious they are about durability. (Also, if your 500 lbs sumo wrestling friend drops by and jumps on your couch, you’re covered.)

The next step that Burrow took to ensure the durability of their couches (yes, there’s more) was to test their wood frames. They did so by dropping them off the top of a 10-foot forklift onto a cement floor. Guess what? They didn’t break.

(Burrow hopes their customers don’t ever experience this in real life, but if they do, their couches should hold up.)

Fabric Stain Resistance

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It’s all fun and games until someone spills their red wine on the couch cushion.

But wait—good news! All of Burrow’s fabrics are stain resistant. (Yeah, we’ll give you a minute to let that magical news in.)

Burrow uses fabrics made of Olefin, aka polypropylene, which is an amazing material because it is totally inert. So it’s virtually unstainable!

It can also be cleaned with almost any household cleaner—even pure bleach will not damage the fabric.

This is because the fabric itself is not dyed, instead the thread is actually colored in the process as it’s made. Commonly used fabric, where the yarn is simply dyed on its outside, would lose its color if cleaned with bleach. Since this yarn is made as a color it will not be affected by bleach!

So what kind of testing goes into make sure it's stain resistant? Making a huge mess of course! Burrow's dumped everything from red wine, spaghetti sauce, beer, birthday cake and more—they throw some pretty killer parties…

Another dreamy part of this fabric? No need for the Scotch Guard cancer-causing chemical bath. These fabrics are 100% free of harmful chemicals and safe for you and your loved ones.

Fabric Durability Testing

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The current fabric testing used in the industry is called the “double rub” test. This is where the fabric is pulled taut and loaded onto a machine. Small discs of worsted wool or wire mesh are continually rubbed against the fabric. The fabric is inspected every few thousand “double rubs” for wear and tear, and the test ends when two yarns break or when there is a noticeable change in appearance.

In addition to the "double rub" tests, Burrow decided to conduct real world durability tests their customers could relate to. They did this by simulating what typically causes the most wear and tear on fabric: pets.

To do this Burrow teamed up with the scientists at the Manufacturing Solutions Center in Conover, NC to simulate animal claws scratching their fabrics with increasing amounts of force.

They 3D-printed two large, fake animal paws with long claws, attached them to a drive shaft, and rotated the two claws side-by-side in a circular pattern to simulate large claws scratching fabric over-and-over.

They applied a force of 2 pounds to simulate a small animal (think Jack Russell Terrier) and 5 pounds to simulate a large animal (think German Shepherd).

Pet owners rejoice! This test proved that Burrow fabrics can sustain over 200 scratches from a large animal in the exact same spot without showing wear and tear, and over 2,000 scratches from a small animal in the exact same spot without showing wear and tear.

Burrow wanted to give customers confidence that their couch will last, and through innovative testing that no one else is doing they do just that. Burrow truly sets themselves apart in being able to bring you a quality, highly durable sofa that can take whatever life throws at it.

Let’s see if the rest of the industry follows suit.



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