BLC Leather Technology

Hardware Testing

Hardware Testing

Most leather accessories have some form of hardware in their construction, such as buckles clasps and rings.  These serve as functional items, but are also often ornate in construction to give an extra layer of decoration to the product.  The majority of hardware used is metal and is often formed from several metal types to give the required structure and surface finish.  Most metals can tarnish relatively easily which results in an unattractive appearance and, in severe cases, breakdown of the components.

BLC offer hardware testing and can carry out a range of testing on metallic hardware to highlight any potential problems that are likely to occur during the lifetime of the product.  Analysis can be conducted to highlight any potential issues with the hardware, for example, saltwater corrosion, sulphide tarnishing and ageing tests.  Appropriate hardware testing such as plating thickness and metal analysis, can identify inconsistencies in construction and demonstrate whether or not the plating thickness of different layers is sufficient.

The majority of metal components are made from one main type of material, the base metal, used to form the bulk of the component and give its basic shape.  Typical base metals include zinc, which is easy to form and gives the component its shape.  The base metal used will depend on the qualities required.  For example zinc tends to be brittle, but is very light in weight. Components are usually coated with layers of different metals to give the required physical properties and decorative finish.  Some components have a layer of protective lacquer applied as a final coating to give extra protection, depending on the type of metals used.  Many metals will corrode or tarnish relatively easily. 

Corrosion or tarnishing often occurs in transit, especially if the components are shipped from overseas.   The problem may not have been evident when the goods were packed, but by the time they reach their destination the problem has become clear.

Some types of tarnishing are easily removed from the surface of the material by cleaning, however, the problem will often recur once the correct conditions prevail.  It is, therefore, important to prevent tarnishing and corrosion occurring in the first instance. 

Please click here to download a copy of our sample submission form.

BLC can help with all your hardware testing needs.  For further details of our hardware testing services please contact info@blcleathertech.com or +44 (0) 1604 679999.

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