Since 1997, Dr. Harvey West, director of the Product Testing and Evaluation Laboratory of the Furniture Manufacturing and Management Center (FMMC) at North Carolina State University has provided the furniture and related industries with answers to questions about furniture design, construction, and reliability. The laboratory is currently equipped with three computer-controlled pneumatic flexible furniture testing frames (affectionately known as The Bifmatics), a 20,000 lb. capacity universal materials testing machine, a computer controlled fatigue testing device and two programmable environmental chambers. The lab is also equipped with multiple state of the art high powered digital microscopes,

Physical tests have been performed on finished goods such as office chairs, side chairs, classroom chairs, outdoor chairs, sofas, loveseats, ottomans, tables, storage units, TV stands, and even exercise benches. Sofa and chair frames have been evaluated to determine the effects of changes in materials or joint designs. Data obtained on raw material has helped manufacturers with supplier issues. Environmental tests have been conducted to determine the stability of veneer and joint constructions, or to evaluate the effectiveness of packaging methods. The FMMC staff has also assisted with other materials-related issues such as the metallurgical analysis of hardware, scanning electron microscopy of surfaces, or elemental identification of unknowns via X-ray spectroscopy.

Since the beginning of testing, Harvey has completed over 400 testing projects for a wide range of furniture companies, and the demand for the FMMC Testing Lab remains high. Dr. West has also been instrumental in the materials development activities that have been ongoing since 2003 with our Arcam electron beam melting technology.

If your company has any testing needs that the FMMC staff can help you with, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Harvey West at: 919-515-8527, or email him at:

Dr. Tim Horn manages all of our fabrications services . Tim can be reached by way of email at