When the STURDY Act came across Archbold Furniture Company’s radar, company culture instantly provided a framework for how this manufacturer would solve a monumental challenge.
The U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission’s STURDY Act (Stop Tip-Overs of Unstable Risky Dressers on Youth) is intended to protect children from injuries or death due to tip-related incidents. The STURDY Act was signed into law in December 2022 and the effective date of ASTM F2057-23 standards begins with production of applicable units on September 1, 2023. Clothing storage units such as dressers, wardrobes, and armoires are the products that must adopt these new standards.
“The approach to every challenge and decision our company makes is consistent with our mission statement: We are dedicated to providing quality furniture backed by extraordinary service at a value to our customers. We are committed to continually improving our level of performance to ensure a satisfied customer for life. Adapting 25% of our products [clothing storage units] to comply with the new anti-tip standards was no exception,” said Pat McNamara, President of Archbold Furniture Company. “Our leadership and employees embraced this challenge as an opportunity to improve our construction, tighten tolerances, and address assembly methods based on safety and ergonomics while providing our retail partners a better value.”
To become compliant, manufacturers like Archbold considered adjustments such as adding weight, restricting drawer extension, increasing depth, and adding drawer interlocks. In December 2022, Archbold hired an engineer, Evan Gardner, and assigned him with the project of listening to customers regarding key features that contribute to sales and then develop a full understanding of the ASTM F2057-23 requirements to identify a balanced solution. Archbold took everything into account from supplies available through delivery service, and ultimately, the consumer being satisfied with the style, color, and functionality (full extension drawers).
“Our leadership got everyone on board knowing we would be changing several of our operations,” said Tyler Cordes, employee in Archbold’s assembly department. “We understood that our quality couldn’t be compromised. By working together, we focused on what is best for our customers and I believe we are building a better product.”
Using the current structure of their clothing storage units, Archbold built in a patented and tested drawer interlock system. The interlock allows products to offer 14” full extension glides, no change to product dimensions, and minimal additional weight (15-30 lbs.). By switching from 5.2mm backs to a high density 18mm back material, Archbold accomplished both the counterweight and improved construction. Archbold took the extra step to independently certify the changing products with an accredited independent lab, therefore eliminating compliance concerns with third party validation.
“Meeting the improved safety requirements can be a challenge for manufacturers due to the substantial changes to the standard, but with the rapidly approaching deadline for compliance to the rule, it is imperative that companies meet this challenge head on,” said Kyle Richards, Verified Testing Services’ Test Lab Manager. “Working with groups such as Archbold Furniture Company to meet their stability goals has been rewarding because of their commitment to understand and meet the performance requirements by the compliance deadline to effect a positive change in the safety of the bedroom furniture market.”
Archbold is proud to be 100% compliant on all products manufactured on and after September 1, 2023. Samples were presented months earlier at High Point Market in April 2023 for existing customers to preview what to expect. Archbold has also helped other manufacturers in the industry by being a leading example with American Home Furnishings Alliance’s (AHFA) education efforts.
“Since the adoption of ASTM F2057-23 as the final mandatory stability standard required by the STURDY Act, AHFA has developed extensive compliance guidance for its member companies, including videos and live demonstrations of the new testing methods. We could not provide these materials without help from members like Archbold Furniture Company that generously shared their expertise and resources as they worked toward compliance with the new standard,” said Bill Perdue, AHFA Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. “Archbold’s product is featured in our new video demonstrating the correct test method for units with a drawer interlock system – which is a critical component for many companies. They also shipped their product to High Point so we could demonstrate the test method live at our Regulatory Summit in August.”
“It is reassuring to know our partners like Archbold Furniture Company have taken a strong initiative on the new anti-tip standards,” said Jack Steger, President of Steger’s Furniture & Mattress in Pekin, Illinois. “We have confidence knowing that their updated products will meet our customers’ needs without sacrificing on value, appearance, or function.”
Quality has improved, functionality has been maintained, and impacts for Archbold and their customers are fairly minimal. While it wasn’t a fast and easy solution, it delivered an outcome consistent with Archbold’s mission statement.