Mattress and futon testing
The new federal flammability standard for mattresses and futons, 16 CFR 1633, went into effect on July 1, 2007. All manufacturers that sell mattresses in the United States must meet the open-flame requirements specified in the standard. As part of this new performance standard, the peak heat release rate of a mattress subjected to the required flame source is limited to 200 kilowatts (kW) during a 30-minute test, and the initial total heat release is limited to 15 megajoules (MJ) within the first 10 minutes of the test.
Manufacturers must also demonstrate that they have processes in place to ensure consistent production of mattresses that comply with 16 CFR 1633. Although in the past manufacturers have typically self-declared compliance to flammability regulations, 16 CFR 1633's quality-control requirement makes self-declaration a more cumbersome and complex process. Implications of noncompliance can result in product recalls and/or large fines.
UL tests mattresses and futons to the current editions of the following Standards:
- Federal Standard 16 CFR 1632, Requirements, Test Procedures and Apparatus for Testing the Resistance of a Mattress or Mattress Pad to Combustion Which May Result from a Smoldering Cigarette
- Federal Standard 16 CFR 1633, Standard for the Flammability (Open Flame) of Mattress Sets
- BFD IX-11, Boston Fire Department Mattress Fire Test
- CAL TB 129, Flammability Test Procedure for Mattresses for Use in Public Buildings
- CAL TB 603, California Requirements and Test Procedure for Resistance of a Residential Mattress/Box Spring Set to a Large Open-Flame (pre-empted by 16 CFR 1633 in July 2007)
In addition to providing comprehensive testing for initial as well as ongoing compliance to federal standards in the mattress industry, UL offers testing services for all types of building content products, including:
- Institutional furniture (TB 133)
- Home furniture (TB 117)
- Wall coverings (UL 715, UL 723/ASTM E84 Steiner Tunnel)
- Floor coverings (ASTM E648)
- Fabrics (NFPA 701)
Open-flame performance requirement
Mattresses and futons bearing the UL Classification Mark have been tested and evaluated to specific requirements, such as 16 CFR 1633's open-flame performance requirement.
In addition to testing mattresses for open-flame performance, manufacturers must also meet 16 CFR 1633's quality-control requirements. Manufacturers will have to demonstrate that a change of components will not result in a change in the mattress' fire performance. This means manufacturers are more dependent than ever before on the consistency of components they receive from their suppliers.
UL works with manufacturers to verify that ongoing production consistently meets compliance requirements. UL audits component suppliers a minimum of four times per year through its follow-up services program. Also, UL's recognized component program helps mattress component suppliers demonstrate consistency in the products they are providing to their customers.
With UL's mattress- and futon-testing services, mattress manufacturers can be confident that their products will comply with 16 CFR 1633. Component suppliers can provide confidence to their customers by having a third party confirm the consistency of the material they are supplying. And retailers can be confident that mattresses bearing the UL Classification Mark consistently meet 16 CFR 1633's requirements.
The UL advantage
UL is the most recognized independent, third-party testing and certification organization, with more than 100 years of product-testing expertise. UL remains at the forefront of fire-protection and -testing technology.
UL provides the flammability testing services, as well as the surveillance services, that manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and consumers need to feel confident that mattresses sold into the marketplace are compliant with the new federal requirements.