drawer slide testing - BHMA vs. BIFMA

by Anne Marie Roeper, CSI, CCPR

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There are two types of testing done on drawer slides - Builders Hardware Manufacturers Association (BHMA) and Business Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA).

The BHMA testing is a reference standard used in some specification programs such as MasterSpec and is also referenced in AWI standards. If you are currently using this reference standard in your specifications, you may be open to inferior substitutions.

The BHMA testing has become the standard for nylon roller type slides. This test cycles the slides at only two/thirds of the travel of the slide. It does not test for wide drawer applications nor does it perform safety tests.

BIFMA rates office furniture not slides, but tests slides as part of a whole component. This is more of a true test of the slide capability as it is done in application. BIFMA performs slide cycle tests on wide drawers (as in lateral files) and safety tests to prevent drawers from falling out of a cabinet or rolling into an aisleway. The key difference between the two standards is BIFMA tests at full travel, giving a more accurate dynamic load rating.

BIFMA has become the acceptable standard for ball bearing slides. Nylon roller type slides cannot presently pass this testing.

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2000 Anne Marie Roeper, CSI, CCPR, Accuride

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