The toy company Schleich from Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, produces toy figures with a high level of detail and particularly focuses on the production of high-quality products. Tests are performed with a ProLine Z005 static universal testing machine from ZwickRoell—to optimize enjoyment for both young and old. Tensile tests are carried out on standardized specimens such as tensile rods to determine tear strength, tear strain and stress values in accordance with relevant standards including DIN EN 71-1 or DIN 53540, and ensure compliance with safety standards.
In the testing lab of toy manufacturer Schleich in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Quality Manager Alexander Fischer and Quality Director Andrea Wolf are preparing for a test: the beloved giant lizard Tyrannosaurus Rex, or rather the Schleich toy dinosaur version, is gripped in the ProLine Z005 static universal testing machine . The objective: to determine the stability of the head and the key feature of this toy figure—it’s movable lower jaw. “I’m proud to say that we test and optimize our products according to the highest standards with ZwickRoell. This allows us to offer the same high level of quality on a consisten basis,” says Andrea Wolf. Toy manufacturer Schleich, with headquarters in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, was founded in 1935 and today is a global leader in the toy industry with an excellent reputation for producing high-quality children's toys. In addition to the T-rex from the Dinosaur Play World, Schleich also offers a wide range of figures and playsets based on various themes, such as Wild Life, Farm World, Horse Club and other fantasy characters.
The products are best known for their design and high quality. Each figure is developed with great care and attention to detail, as well as with partially movable elements, such as the movable lower jaw of the T-rex, which provides a realistic and educational experience.
Schleich set a goal of continuously improving the pre-development phase of their materials on the basis of tensile bars and standardized tests on figures in accordance with DIN EN 71. The tests intended for this purpose relate to the safety requirements that must be met by the toys, such as the European standard EN 71. This standard specifically establishes essential requirements and test methods to ensure that toys are safe for use by children. For example, the standard covers various safety aspects, such as mechanical and physical properties, which must be determined by the tests. In the case of toy figures, standardized tests sometimes include checking for small parts that can be swallowed, sharp edges or points, contaminants in the materials, tensile strength of the parts, and other relevant safety aspects.
In the past, tensile tests were performed manually and reproducibility was of poor quality due to a lack of digitization. In the same context, there were no available digital values to support better analysis and documentation.
Toy company Schleich decided to use ZwickRoell’s ProLine 5 kN tensile testing machine to carry out materials testing using standardized specimens, as well as testing the actual figures. The ProLine specifically targets standardized testing of materials and components. Due to its mechanical modularity with a large selection of test tools and specimen grips, the testing system can be expanded with customized test fixtures. Advantages include the quickly adaptable plug and T-slot system as well as a wide range of crosshead mounting options. This allows specimen grips and test tools to be changed whenever required, enabling a wide range of tests to be performed with the same testing machine.
“Easy handling of the machine allows us to work efficiently and precisely to ensure that our products meet the strict requirements of the standards. In this way, we are committed to ensuring that every toy that leaves our production facilities also consistently meets the expectations of our customers, both young and old, in terms of safety, durability and play value.”
Andrea Wolf, Quality Director at Schleich
The ZwickRoell testing machine is used to perform materials testing using standardized specimens such as tensile rods to determine tear strength, tear strain and stress values using tensile tests according to the applicable standards. In addition, standardized tests are performed on the figures to ensure compliance with the safety standards. And since many figures have movable components, such as the jaw of the T-rex, the tests can also be used to verify the holding force of adhesives and prevent small parts from being swallowed.
The use of the ProLine testing machine led to significant improvements: With the tensile testing machine, all types of data and values can now be determined, recorded, individually retrieved and displayed in a user-friendly manner. And this additionally contributes to a noticeable improvement in the product quality.
Furthermore, the user-friendly testXpert testing machine software from ZwickRoell facilitates fast and convenient test performance. Through the use of ZwickRoell testing machines, Schleich has been able to significantly improve material pre-development and standardized tests. The possibility to record accurate and reliable data has contributed to increased product quality and toy safety improvements.
Note: The head and jaw of our dino Tyrannosaurus Rex passed every test. “While we test dinosaurs, thanks to the machine, we as a company are way ahead of the times in terms of testing technology and—figuratively speaking—not a dinosaur at all,” adds Fischer.
Image source/copyright: Schleich GmbH