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Incomparable experience in footwear testing machines

How SATRA test equipment benefits from the organisation’s wider expertise.

by Peter Allen

SATRA test equipment is designed and manufactured in the UK and supplied to a global market. Our range features over 300 test machines, devices and accessories which are purchased by many organisations globally, including brand owners, retailers, manufacturers, component and material suppliers, test houses, research institutes, universities and other training organisations, as well as government institutes. SATRA test equipment draws on the expertise gained over almost 100 years of history of fundamental research, development of over 400 SATRA test methods and the extensive use of SATRA machines in our own commercial laboratories. SATRA test machines, test methods and quality consumables are highly regarded in the global footwear and leather industries. In addition, we have a long track record in assisting the establishment and development of effective testing facilities.

This article outlines the important connections SATRA’s test equipment has with the considerable expertise and experience to be found within the organisation. This makes SATRA a unique developer, manufacturer and supplier of quality test equipment, and allows us to not only sell test equipment, but also to provide to our customers a range of services helping them to achieve an effective testing capability.

SATRA research

From its inception in 1919, SATRA has conducted research into many aspects of the performance of consumer products across a range of sectors, as well as contributing to developments in manufacturing processes and production efficiency. Our connection to complete supply chains through SATRA membership (global brands, sourcing companies, retailers, finished product manufacturers, component and materials suppliers, chemical suppliers and production equipment suppliers) provides an important source of information and solutions to problems. These feed into SATRA’s research topics – one output from this research being the development of SATRA test methods. Good quality research is fundamental to the development of meaningful test methods which provide reliable and relevant test information to the industry. Along with the development of SATRA test methods, our engineers develop prototypes and then production test machines, devices and accessories. As well as test methods and machines, we also develop performance guidelines, for SATRA test methods.

SATRA test methods

The majority of the test methods developed by SATRA over the years are related to footwear testing. These test methods emanate from SATRA research, our experience obtained from product testing in our own laboratories and SATRA experts’ knowledge of industry requirements. SATRA research and the development of test methods have led to the design of many SATRA test machines, as well as the foundation for our extensive commercial testing services. In many cases, SATRA test methods have been adopted as national and international test methods, including EN, ISO, ASTM and GB methods.

When developing a test method, it is important to understand the fundamental principles (physical or chemical) which are relevant to the question under consideration. It is also vital to know the nature of the products being tested and the environment and application associated with the products during their intended use. SATRA test methods are extensively referenced in brand owners’, retailers’ and manufacturers’ product specifications.

SATRA’s testing laboratories

SATRA has a long history of providing a comprehensive commercial testing service to industry. Benefiting from our research, test methods and test machines, comprehensive guidelines have been developed for all SATRA test methods. Through many years of testing experience, we have developed an extensive expertise and are able to advise on what to test, how to test, and how to interpret the test outcomes. This is also aided by our expert technologists who have an in depth expertise in a wide range of manufacturing techniques and product performance. SATRA test machines are used extensively in our own testing laboratories. This is an invaluable source of information for proof of performance, durability and reliability of the equipment.


Assessing leather in a SATRA laboratory

SATRA training

SATRA has a long-standing track record for delivering a wide range of training around the world, through seminars, courses and customer-specific on-site training. With respect to our test equipment, training includes the use of the machine, the preparation of specimens, conducting tests and understanding the results. To obtain meaningful testing, it is important to use good quality equipment. It is also vital for the laboratory team to know how to use the machine, prepare specimens correctly, use the correct consumables, conduct the tests accurately and interpret the test results obtained.

SATRA Laboratory Accreditation and calibration

SATRA has a well-established and respected laboratory accreditation programme, with over 170 laboratories accredited worldwide. This gives us unprecedented exposure to a wide range of laboratory operations and different types of test machines across a wide spectrum of laboratory operations. While SATRA Laboratory Accreditation is available only to SATRA members, we also offer a comprehensive calibration service which is available to all customers.

The SATRA Laboratory Accreditation service is often specified by brand owners and retailers for their supplier laboratories, although it is also taken up independently by many companies. The accreditation process covers a wide range of aspects for the laboratory operation, including laboratory environment, test methods and standards, test equipment, staff training, maintenance and calibration, reference materials, progress of work, reporting, retention of records and test specimen retention. The formal assessment includes visiting the facilities, and assessing procedures and staff competency.

Following a successful assessment, a SATRA Accredited Laboratory certificate listing the methods covered is issued for the facility. Separate certificates are issued for individual staff members, listing the tests against which they have been successfully assessed.


Using the SATRA STM 528 Pedatron and pressure-mapping equipment to monitor footwear feel-through

SATRA consumables

Ensuring reliable, accurate and repeatable testing relies on many factors – not least of all the quality of any reference materials or consumables associated with the test method. However, the importance of using appropriate, tightly specified and controlled reference standard materials is often overlooked or misunderstood. SATRA supplies a wide range of quality consumables for tests on leather, textiles, rubbers, footwear, leathergoods, gloves and many other consumer and personal protective equipment (PPE) products. Our consumables are manufactured to high quality standards and checked and certified (where applicable) before despatch.

As with the test equipment itself, the production of SATRA consumables also benefits from our research experience, expertise in test method development and the experience of testing in our own commercial testing laboratories.


SATRA LabPlus is a service to help companies establish a laboratory for the first time, or an existing laboratory to expand – perhaps into a new area of product testing. The service draws on much of our expertise described above. SATRA is well placed to provide advice on what to test, how to test, what laboratory facilities and layout are required and what test equipment should be used. Advice can also be given on specimen preparation and the required test consumables. Along with the supply of test equipment, SATRA can offer training as detailed above. Our calibration service, supply of consumables and – for member companies – SATRA Laboratory Accreditation completes the overall LabPlus package.

SATRA test equipment

SATRA test equipment is available to carry out not only our own test methods, but also a wide range of international and national assessments, in addition to many companies’ in-house test methods. Whatever the testing need, whether compliance testing, quality control testing, product development or new product validation testing, SATRA is well placed to provide the advice, equipment and associated support needed to achieve meaningful test results.

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Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 34 of the May 2017 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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