Archives for posts with tag: engineers

Most products that we use in our daily lives go through some form of testing before they are launched into the market. This is an important step to verify user safety, environmental compliance, and ultimately a positive overall experience. Have you ever thought about how your office furniture is tested? Here at HON we have an A2LA Certified Product Test Lab, an A2LA Certified Pack Lab, a Parts Approval Lab and a Color Lab, so you could say we take our testing very seriously!

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HON engineers test Empower Benching above and beyond BIFMA with 7900 lbs on 20 stations!

The first test we conduct is part-specific, and it takes place in what we call our Parts Approval Lab. For this test, we scan our parts with a laser and the software generates a 3D color map that will tell us exactly how much, if any, the part varies from the print. For example, when we model the back of a chair, we scan those parts to verify that all contours are exactly how we modeled it.

The second test validates our colors, and this takes place in our Color Lab. Dedicated members verify the colors of each part match the exact color composition that is specified, regardless of the material that is used. We check for consistency so parts don’t vary, which gets us the same great look every time.

The third test is shipment testing, where we simulate what could happen during the shipping and handling process. This category has three areas:

  1. Compression testing – simulates products being stacked in a warehouse
  2. Drop testing – simulates the possibility of products being dropped during a delivery or installation
  3. Vibration testing – simulates placing the packaged product in a semi-trailer to make sure the packaging doesn’t cause any scratches

We pay attention to details and obsess over small things, so we even go as far as testing in both freezing and humid climates to make sure our packaging can withstand any end destination.

The fourth test is structural and fatigue testing to ensure the safety of the end user. This testing simulates different situations in which the end users may find themselves, such as an individual putting books into an overhead in a panel system.

To deliver long-lasting products, we also test fatigue scenarios, such as the “caster durability” test.  In this test we simulate the chair rolling for a pre-determined distance to ensure the casters will remain dependable through the lifetime of the product.

These are abusive tests, meaning the forces we use are beyond what would be generated in normal use. Using both BIFMA test standards and our own, we make sure the safety of the end user is not in jeopardy.

The fifth test looks at the user interface and it includes standards that HON created to guarantee the consistent comfort of our products. For example, have you ever thought about the amount of force required to push the button for raising and lowering your task chair arms? Well, our engineers did, and alas a test standard was written for it! We standardize on this to make sure the user experience is as comfortable as possible.

The last test is what we call Live Environment Testing. Considering we work in an office ourselves, we are often asked the question “would you use this product in your own office?”. So, to answer this question, we made it a test requirement! As part of our full test plan, our engineers seek out members in the office with fresh eyes to the product and ask them to test it out. For example, I was once asked to use a prototype Ignition® 2.0 task chair at my workstation for a few days and provide feedback. This test is also a fun way for HON to engage with our community, such as getting feedback from the local community college or doctor’s office. After this process, the project teams compile the feedback and make any final improvements to the product. This type of testing is very important to make sure we can deliver the best possible product.

So, now you know the science behind what it takes to deliver the best office furniture on the market. If you would like to see inside our test lab, check out this video and be sure to visit hon.com to view our product brochures!

“BIFMA” stands for “Business + Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association”, and it is the “not-for-profit trade association for business and institutional furniture manufacturers”. They create and maintain the industry safety standard, as well as sustainability standard, and educate customers on the importance of product performance. You can read more about BIFMA here.

“A2LA” stands for “American Association for Laboratory Accreditation” and it is an organization that gives accreditation to all types of laboratories in accordance with ISO (International Organization for Standardization) standards. At HNI we place such a high value on quality assurance that we go through this accreditation process and gain the accountability of this third-party. You can read more about A2LA here .

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The HON Company is one of 12 operating companies under HNI Corporation, a leading global office furniture manufacturer. As a leading manufacturer, HON depends on its engineers to design and produce world-class, high-quality furniture for our Sales and Marketing teams to sell!

…But what is engineering?! We went straight to the sources to find out. Read below to hear how some of our HON members describe engineering!

engineering

Jim, Manufacturing Engineer: “Being able to take something apart, understand it, and put it back together.”

Joe, Manufacturing Engineer: “Solving the world’s problems.”

Nick, Manufacturing Engineer: “Innovation.”

Trevor, Manufacturing Engineer: “Development of new products and processes and improvement of previous products and processes.”

Brett, Manufacturing Engineer: “Solving problems.”

Shawn, Manufacturing Engineer: “Pure awesomeness.”

Russ, Engineering Manager: “The application of science and materials to manufacture products that will meet the needs of a person.”

Katie, Industrial Engineer: “Looking at a problem from various perspectives and being able to determine the best solution.”

Paul, Manufacturing Engineer: “Teamwork – working together.”

Shane, Product Engineer: “Quickly finding solutions to problems without disrupting the flow of product.”

Oisin, Manufacturing Engineer: Improving the world around you. It doesn’t have to be math- or science-related; it just has to be a problem solved for the better!”

TJ, Quality Engineer: “Designing and building solutions to complex problems using technology.”

Jonathan, Quality Engineer: A systematic approach to problem solving using quantitative information to determine the solution.”

So there you have it! Engineering means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. The HON Company leverages all of these perspectives in our processes to meet customer expectations.

Are you an engineer? Do you work with engineers? What does “engineering” mean to you?

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