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What the testing involves

All the tests have been carried out by a UKAS accredited and independent testing house in accordance with the Coffin and Casket Testing Protocol developed between 2013-5.

The coffins have all been subjected to the following tests:

  1. Strength Test

    The coffin is placed on a set of 2 trestles of similar size to standard coffin trestles and then loaded with weights inside, evenly distributed across the base of the coffin. The weight distribution was arranged so that 50% of the total weight was placed in the middle the coffin with the remaining 50% evenly distributed over the coffin base. The coffin is then left in position for a minimum period of 24 hours and vertical dimensions of the coffin were measured before and after the test. This coffin was tested with a weight of exactly 1.25 the weight recommended by the manufacturing company (eg 190 kilograms for a recommended weight of 150 kilograms) with lid in place for the duration of the test.

    For conformity of tests the trestles were each placed exactly 0.6 metres from either end of the coffin.

    Vertical “sag” was determined by measuring any vertical drop in the coffin with weights at the end of the 24 hour (minimum) period. Any vertical “sag” in excess of 1 centimetre would be noted as a fail and photographic evidence would be recorded.

  2. Ball Bearing Bed “Slip” Functionality Test

    The coffin was loaded to the same weight and using the same weight distribution as per the Strength Test above and then placed on a standard crematorium roller bed for 12 hours. After this period the coffin was moved across the bed to simulate loading. This action was repeated 10 times and any jamming, snagging or directional instability was recorded with photographic evidence recorded as necessary. Any jamming, snagging or directional instability would be deemed as a fail for the test.

  3. Auto-Charger Test

    The coffin was loaded with the same weight as per tests above and coffin charging was simulated using a charging arm and plate measuring 300mm x 300mm. The plate was placed at the end of the coffin at a point in the centre of the end face and a force applied similar to that used in a crematoria.

    The force specified as being typical of a crematoria charging is 3KN.

    In order to ensure that a force of at least 3KN was being applied the start point was marked and recorded at the front of the coffin and the horizontal distance travelled during simulated charging noted. The weight of coffin plus load was then determined and recorded and the applied force calculated.

    The test was conducted moving the coffin in a horizontal traverse across both a standard crematorium roller bed and also a horizontal concrete surface in order to simulate the cremator hearth.

    At the end of the test the coffin was inspected and any damage/deformity to the framework noted and photographed. Visible damage to the coffin would be deemed a fail.

  4. Ignition/Radiant Heat Test

    A sample of the coffin was provided by the manufacturer which consisted of a small square section of representative material approximately 150mm square. The sample was clamped in a vertical configuration at a distance of 50mm from a provided heat source to simulate a coffin approaching the cremator during charging. The heat source utilised was a laboratory scale furnace where the heat source cross- sectional area was 20-30% larger than the cross-sectional area of the sample material.

    The exposure cycle started at 500 degrees centigrade and the heat source temperature was increased at a rate of 100 degrees centigrade every 10 seconds achieving a final temperature of 800 degrees centigrade.

    The heating process was inspected continually during the test and any smouldering or combustion noted. In the event of smouldering or combustion being observed the test would be classed as a fail.

  5. Ash Test

    The proposed ash test involved heating a representative sample of the coffin material on a ceramic surface at a temperature representative of cremator conditions i.e. 800 degrees centigrade. The size of sample supplied was approximately 150mm x 150mm having been used previously for the Ignition/Radiant Heat Test above.

    A representative sub-sample is weighed into a large ceramic crucible and then introduced into a furnace which is present to the design cremator temperature estimated at 800 degrees C

    The sample is then combusted in an oxygen atmosphere for 5 minutes and the crucible removed from the furnace

    The coffin material/ash is then agitated to simulate some movement of the coffin in the cremator

    The crucible/sample is then returned to the furnace for further 5 minutes and then removed cooled and weighed

    The crucible/sample is then returned again to the furnace and combustion continued for a further 2-3 minutes, removed again and cooled/weighed. No further weight loss should occur

    The ash content is then calculated in weight % and an ash level of <10% w=w />w would be deemed a pass.

  6. Ash Residue test

    The ceramic surface used in the ash test shall be inspected for incombustible residue, if any incombustible particles are noted the sample will be photographed and will be subjected to a sieving process, all oversize objects/particles would be reported. The expected incombustible particles are likely to be screws, pins & clinker etc. the ash will be retained for one month in case of any further tests on the ash such as metal oxide analysis were required.

  7. Handle Test

    The handles attached to the coffin were tested for suitability by utilising a fully loaded coffin as described in the Strength test above. The coffin was hoisted with web straps passed through the coffin handles from zero height to 1 metre. Any damage to any handle would be deemed as a fail.