Blum’s Triple Commitment: Function, Quality, Elegance

April 28, 2016No comments

Blum is the world leader in manufacturing high-quality cabinet hinges and drawer glides. So it is no surprise that at CliqStudios we install Blum hinges and drawer glides on every cabinet.* After all, our cabinets carry a lifetime guarantee, so we need hardware that, in addition to providing smooth opens and soft closes, will stay the course.

lab machine testing open-close cycles of cabinet hinge

A laboratory stress test subjects Blum hinges to 200,000 open-close cycles.

To learn more about Blum’s manufacturing, their approach to quality, and how the company achieved its dominant position, I contacted Debbie Cannon, Marketing Technology and Communications Manager at Blum USA.

“Our quality testing is rigorous. I’ve been in the lab where test machines simulate years of use on hinges and drawer glides. A hinge, for example, is opened and closed 200,000 times, then examined for signs of wear.” said Debbie.

One of Blum’s ongoing efforts is to reuse materials wherever possible. All zinc and nylon components are produced virtually waste-free in closed cycle processes, therefore there is almost no waste in the production of these items. Blum mixes recycled material with virgin raw material in many of its production processes. Amounts vary depending on the effect of recycled material on strength and appearance.

The Blum Dynamic SPACE team explores the aging-in-place kitchen.

The Blum DYNAMIC SPACE team explores ways to optimize kitchen ergonomics.

It became apparent as we talked that the Blum definition of quality extends beyond high performance, smooth motion and long life. I asked Debbie about the Blum tagline, “Perfecting Motion.” She explained that a well-designed product is both functional and beautiful.

“We are concerned with more than producing sleek, functional hinges and glides, however. Blum is the only company in the kitchen industry that uses the DYNAMIC SPACE AGE EXPLORER suit to simulate movement restrictions associated with aging. The suit has weights that simulate loss of muscle, a visor that limits peripheral vision and fogs vision, and gloves that simulate arthritis. You have to wear the suit for about two hours before the effect really kicks in. Then you find out how dangerous it can be to swing a cabinet door open over a dishwasher and how, for a person with arthritis, it can be a challenge to open a cabinet drawer. This research allows us to develop hardware that helps optimize spaces for motion and function.”

cabinet hinge on cherry door

The COMPACT MOTION hinge’s slim profile belies its strength.

And when asked to explain how something as simple as a cabinet hinge can be beautiful, Debbie points out that the COMPACT BLUMOTION hinges are strong, yet have a low profile and sleek styling, so “the cabinet is beautiful when it is open.”

A veritable fount of research-based information, she filled our last minutes together explaining a study that found people with damage to the part of the brain that processes emotions have trouble making important decisions. This made me consider how excellent design, even in a feature as apparently minor as a kitchen cabinet hinge, can make a home more functional for every user at all points in time.

picture of smiling blond woman

Debbie Cannon, Marketing Technology & Communications Manager at Blum

*Blum hinges are not available for our revealed-hinge-barrel inset styles (Austin and Fairmont) and Blum glides are not available for the wall drawer cabinet and spice drawer cabinet. Your kitchen designer will be happy to answer any questions.

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