The market is becoming progressively more attentive and receptive to issues such as quality, health and safety of furniture products, as they are present in the home and work spaces in which we tend to spend more and more time.
What is RAL: the German furniture quality mark
The RAL quality label identifies a ‘global’ quality concept as it takes into account several important aspects such as environmental protection, safety and the health of the end consumer.
The RAL, recognised by the Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft Möbel, is becoming increasingly popular not only within the German market, but also internationally.
To date, a large number of European companies have been awarded the RAL quality label and in particular around 70 manufacturers of top-quality furniture worldwide have been awarded the RAL quality label.
This recognition enables furniture manufacturers to guarantee high performance for the end consumer, as well as greater market transparency; furthermore, in the area of public tenders, the reliability of the RAL quality label simplifies procedures in tenders and invitations to tender.
How can such mark be obtained?
The RAL quality mark primarily denotes furniture that meets criteria in terms of guaranteed safety, ‘healthy’ living and certified quality.
Obtaining this mark is based on compliance with certain requirements in terms of safety, health compatibility and emissions from the materials used.
To this end, manufacturers can test their furniture products for compliance with the requirements of the main reference standards, which is a necessary condition for obtaining the mark.
Some of the main tests that can be performed, depending on the type and intended use of the furniture, are:
- Technical tests on furniture: strength, durability, impact resistance, structural stability
- Mechanical and electrical safety tests
- Life cycle tests and ageing tests
- Microbiological tests and assessments (e.g. resistance of materials to bacteria and fungi)
- Testing of VOC and formaldehyde emissions
RAL-GZ 430 applies to the following furniture products
- Bathroom furniture
- Outdoor furniture
- Office and contract furnitureSchool furniture
- Bedrooms and children’s rooms
- Upholstered furniture
The COSMOB test laboratory is officially recognised by the Deutsche Gütegemeinschaft Möbel according to RAL-GZ 430 (‘General quality assurance and test criteria for furniture’), which mainly focuses on stability requirements, service life (guarantee) and compliance with emission limits for health hazardous substances such as formaldehyde, VOC, heavy metals, etc…
COSMOB, through its Test Laboratory Division, is able to verify the conformity of products by performing physical-mechanical and chemical tests, the main test methods of which are accredited by ACCREDIA, thus supporting manufacturers wishing to obtain the RAL quality mark.
Dott.ssa Fabiana Baiocchi