Quality is the main characteristic that defines the footwear of Fal Seguridad. The tests that safety footwear is submitted to are well known to be thorough. Those tests are carried out in the FAL laboratory.
The laboratory constitutes a basic piece in the company’s quality philosophy and has just been completely renovated.
Equipped with sophisticated equipment, the FAL laboratory is in a position to rigorously perform a large number of tests based on international regulations. Two people are in charged to test each of the components that make up the shoes and boots, in order to ensure that the quality standards that different regulations require are met.
The tests made by the heads of the laboratory to our footwear can be classified into two large groups: those carried out on raw materials (leather, laces, fabric, insoles, soles …) and those carried out during the manufacturing process (polyurethane soles and complete footwear).
TESTS ON RAW MATERIALS
Following a sampling procedure, all raw materials that arrive to the factory (leather, laces, fabrics, insoles…) are subjected to various tests to verify their suitability.
Tests on leather
I. – Tensile / Tear Test: the leather of the shoe will endure much stress while walking. This test is performed on all types of leathers, and tries to find out if the material can withstand the stress during the manufacturing process and during the final use of each shoe. The tensile test determines the maximum load the material is capable of withstanding until it breaks.
II.- Flexion Test: any footwear is subjected to flexion where the foot bends, the leather is subjected to a constant effort at this area, therefore this may lead to deterioration. The flexion test attempts to simulate the conditions of use, evaluating how the skin will look like after use.
III. – Test to check the waterproofness of the leather: it tries to reproduce what happens when the leather is subjected to a movement of continuous flexion and introduced into water. The water resistant leathers are subjected to this test to check their water penetration resistance and the percentage of water absorbed.
IV. – Wicking test: the water resistant leathers are subjected to this test to verify that the water resistance is not only superficial and that the absorbed water will not be transmitted by the internal part of the leather. The wicking test checks the tendency of the leather, due to its capillarity, to absorb water.
V.- Leather elasticity test: try to check the extension and tensile strength of full grain leathers. This method is about defining the behaviour of the skin when moulded, if it is able to adapt to the shape of the footwear.
Tests on laces.
The laces are subjected to the tensile test, to determine if they are able to withstand the force to which they can be exposed by the user.
Tests on fabric materials.
The fabric materials are subjected to the tear test, in which the maximum and minimum load that the material supports until it is torn, is checked.
Tests on midsoles and insoles
Midsoles and insoles are subjected to two tests:
I.- Water absorption and water elimination tests: This is about determining the ability to absorb the sweat of the foot during a work day.
II.- Abrasion test: when walking, the sole of the foot rubs the insole and / or the midsole, producing the consequent wear. Abrasion tests on midsoles and insoles try to check if they are able to endure without wear the contact with the foot.
Tests on safety toecap
Most of professional footwear has as its main component a toecap able to withstand the impact of 200 Joules. Before incorporating this element into the footwear, it has to be tested to check if it is able to withstand the fall of a weight of 20 kilos, the protection offered by the toecap, which will guarantee that the fingers are not affected, is checked by the light that can pass through the tested toecap.
MANUFACTURING PROCESS TESTS
Throughout the shoe manufacturing process, several tests are carried out to control the quality of the product during its manufacturing process.
Tests on soles
I.- Abrasion resistance of the sole: it checks the wear of the sole produced by the use. Safety footwear can be used on different surfaces, so wear will be different. The purpose of this test is to check the abrasion resistance of the sole when it is subjected to the action of an abrasive agent. The wear of the sole is evaluated and the density and volume variation are checked.
II.- Flexion strength: It reproduces the flexion movement that happens when walking and how it can cause cracking in the soles. This test is based on the resistance of the sole when bending during a high number of cycles simulating the movement of the foot.
III.- Hardness of the sole: it checks the hardness of the two densities of the sole (to know how comfortable the user will be, since a sole that is too hard would cause discomfort to the user’s foot, and too soft would give insecurity in the step), as well as the hardness of the surface of the sole (if it is too soft, when stepping on irregular surfaces, the sole would transmit the irregularities of the ground to the foot).
Tests on complete footwear
I.- Electrical resistance test: there are many work environments in which static charges are required to be eliminated. The objective of this test is to check the resistance that footwear offers to the passage of electric current when a given power difference is applied. Depending on the resistance value obtained, the model will be classified into three types: insulating footwear (less than 0.1 Mega Ohms), antistatic footwear (between 1,000 and 0.1 Mega Ohms) or conductive footwear (more than 1,000 Mega Ohms).
II.- Upper/sole adhesion: one of the parts of the footwear that suffers the most is the union between the leather upper and the sole. Therefore, it must be ensured that the union between the two is solid and durable. This test measures the force required to separate the upper from the sole or to cause tearing in the upper or in the sole.
Thank to this new laboratory, which triples in surface to the previous one, Fal Seguridad strengthens its commitment to innovation, research and the materials used, which are just some of the many characteristics that makes Fal Seguridad different from other manufacturers, and that make this company stand out for its quality and for applying the latest technologies to your footwear.