Over the years, ACT has noticed that designers and end-users are increasingly demanding higher and higher double rub numbers when selecting textiles. As a result, we have felt a growing need to clarify how to use Wyzenbeek results effectively. When we first started to notice the trend toward over-specification of double rubs, ACT conducted a survey of our member companies to find out whether or not surface abrasion was a leading source of fabric failures in the field. The findings strongly indicated otherwise. Failures were far more likely to be from:
• Physical abuse
• Inappropriate cleaning
• Lack of proper maintenance
• Inappropriate application
The perception that abrasion test results are the most significant predictors of a fabric’s overall durability is therefore inaccurate. Accordingly, specifiers should consider the following qualifiers when assessing double rub ratings:
Wyzenbeek testing measures flat abrasion resistance and does not consider edge abrasion or other types of surface wear that may occur in actual upholstered applications.
Studies have shown that Wyzenbeek test results on the same fabric can and do vary significantly from test to test. For example, a variance of at least 60 percent was observed in a 2009 ACT Wyzenbeek Peformance Verification Fabric Study. Therefore, ACT does not recommend using absolute numbers for comparision. Consider a range of + / – as acceptable.
Higher double rub numbers do not necessarily indicate a significant extension of the fabric’s service life. In fact, Wyzenbeek results above 100,000 double rubs have not been shown to be an indicator of increased fabric lifespan.
A fabric with twice the number of abrasion cycles does not indicate double the service life.
ACT Voluntary Abrasion Guideline for Woven Fabrics
• 15,000 double rubs minimum = suitable for commercial light traffic/private spaces.
• 30,000 double rubs minimum = suitable for commercial heavy traffic/public spaces.
ACT Voluntary Abrasion Guideline for Coated Fabrics
• 50,000 double rubs minimum = suitable for commercial heavy traffic/public spaces.
In an effort to bring further clarity to the appropriate consideration of double rub numbers, as of April 1, 2015, textile companies and furniture manufacturers that use the ACT certification mark for abrasion on their samples will now include the following statement whenever publishing test results in excess of 100,000 double rubs:
“Multiple factors affect fabric durability and appearance retention, including end-user application and proper maintenance. Wyzenbeek results above 100,000 double rubs have not been shown to be an indicator of increased lifespan.”
ACT reminds you that there are many points to consider when specifying textiles. Wyzenbeek double rub numbers are only part of the equation in fully assessing a textile’s predicted durability and appearance retention. All of the following issues should be included in any such assessment:
• Type of Setting or Facility
• Specific Demands of End-Use Applications
• Durability Characteristics of the Textile
• Physical Properties (Pilling, Seam Slippage, Breaking Strength)
• Surface Abrasion Resistance
• Protocols of Maintenance and Cleaning
• A Material’s Ability to Withstand Cleaning Products and Disinfectants
• Aspects of End Product Manufacturing
Collectively, these considerations will facilitate your selection of the most appropriate fabric for the project.
For survey details and additional research, read our White Papers.