A Visit to the CPSC Lab in 2003
This page is obsolete! CPSC opened their new National Product Testing and Evaluation Center in Rockville, Maryland, in 2011. Here is our tour of the new lab.
The Old Lab
In 2003 the Consumer Product Safety Commission's test labs were located in Gaithersburg, Maryland, just north of Washington DC. In this location the Commission performed all compliance testing for its bicycle helmet standard. This is historic. CPSC has a whole new lab now.
The buildings were old, but well kept. The site was once a test facility for Nike rockets.
The helmet test lab, located with equipment for other types of testing, got a new test rig in 2001.
The lab compared well with others we have seen. The staff has a thorough understanding of the test protocols and applies them conscientously. In this photo Rick McCallion prepares to drop a demonstration helmet for a tour group with a mouse click. (This is not actual CPSC compliance testing!)
The monorail test rig and data acquisition equipment were supplied by Biokinetics in Ottawa, Canada.
Lower part of the monorail, showing the velocity gate on the right.
Headforms and anvils came from Cadex, another Canadian supplier. The anvils are chromed.
From left: wet sample immersion tank, hot and cold conditioning equipment, rolloff test apparatus.
CPSC developed this design for testing strap stretch and strength.
Senior Engineer George Sushinsky demonstrating crib test equipment in another area of the lab. George has since retired.
After a tour of the lab and a briefing from the staff, we had confidence in the validity of CPSC's helmet test results in that period.
These photos were taken on June 13, 2003. CPSC has a whole new lab
This page was updated or partially revised on: October 1, 2015.