When we travel, it’s not only us who tread the rough path, but so does our luggage. While global travel is often marked by lost or stolen luggage, travel in India is a whole new story, as one moves across arrange of transport and weather, from a rickshaw in a crowded street, to an auto across a pot-holed path, to the up and downs of railway stations and airports.
Therefore, it becomes crucial that at least the leading luggage makers test their products for every possible onslaught that they can face in the reality of life. When Myntra, the online fashion portal, added Samsonite the famous luggage brand – it meant that its loyal customers would be able to buy a luggage reputed to be the strongest luggage in the world.
In fact, the makers of Samsonite, when they launched the product, had named it after Samson, the Biblical superhero of immense strength.
Even today, the company prides itself on performing the most rigorous product test, anticipating all possible challenges it can face. A Samsonite suitcase is usually tested on a mileage tester, across a distance matching 32 km, at the rate of 4 km per hour.
That’s not all. The luggage even undergoes the upright position test. Then, for a country with a famous monsoon season, it goes through a 15-minute rain tester, with water poured on it from every side.
Then comes the “jerk” tester, the toughest test, which tests how good or long lasting are its handles, wheels and shoulder straps. Believe it or not, 50 cycles of tumble tests and 5000 wheel tests are conducted on the luggage.
To top it all is the “case drop” test. The suitcase is dropped from a height to see if it will survive the fall.
Samsonite India conducts these tests on its products:
The Handle Test about 3500 times, where jerks are given to the handle for about 3500 times in a loaded condition; the Wheel Test, where the wheel is carried for 32 kms in a loaded condition to check the wear and tear on the wheels; the Drop Test, where a bag is dropped five times on the ground at all corners and sides. The zipper test is done as many as 15000 times, with force applied to sliders and zippers to test the strength of the zippers and pullers. Then comes the tumble test, across 50 revolutions and obstacles. In this test, the bag is tumbled at 50 cycles in a loaded condition. Finally, the Lock Test – Push & Release Cycles – helps to check the durability of locks by operating the lock for 15000 cycles in one continuous movement.
Like the test done for the Samsonite, Myntra conducts rigorous tests on all its products, so as to showcase and sell only the most authentic products on its platform.
Like Myntra, many luggage makers give punishing and tough tests on their products so as to separate the grain from the chaff, as the saying goes. They give what is known as the “suitcase must die” test, from being attacked by a sledgehammer (really) to being run over by a car (unbelievable but true).
The tests just go to find out how much each luggage can take, or what they are made of.
The Sparta Kick test tries to simulate a fall or a baggage handler's throw from an aircraft luggage hold to the tarmac, by kicking each suitcase from a height of about 1.5 metres to the ground.
In the Hammer Attack, a 10-pound sledgehammer actually hits at the luggage, to replicate the battering that luggage can experience in transit.
Much as one hates to imagine that anyone will actually kick our precious luggage, it might happen on a journey, so luggage is also tested for the kick.
The penultimate test is a car actually driving over the suitcase! You may think, the suitcase can’t escape unharmed through this rough test, that it will either be crushed completely or at least emerge with many scratches, but there are some pieces of luggage out there that survive even this test.