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Tag: Test Manikins

Calibrated EN13138 Test Manikins

by on Dec.22, 2017, under China Manufacturing Blog

Calibrated EN13138 Test Manikins

QPILtd is now producing 3rd generation test manikins for the latest release of EN13138, the European Standard covering Buoyant Aids for Swimming Instruction.

The QPILtd manikins are used by Test Labs conducting performance testing of the Swim Seats, including the critical in water stability testing.

If a calibration certificate is required they can be calibrated a specialist test equipment laboratory prior to shipment.

Many factories are recognizing that it is worth having manikins for in house product development and quality control. That will become more relevant one EN13138-4 is released and manikins are also used to test other Learn to Swim devices covered in EN13138-1 (Part 1 devices to be worn, such as a Armbands, Vests, etc).


QPILtd Heritage in Learn to Swim Products and Testing

This project is very near to our heart.

Klaus Maertin (inventor of Floaties Learn to Swim Products) developed the first baby swim seats in the 1980’s as part of the Floaties Range, of Learn to Swim Products. Along with Helmut Maertin, Klaus came up with ways of testing the stability by making “top heavy” devices to sit in the seat, mimicking a young child trying to lean in the seat.

In the 1990’s a number of unfortunate incidents involving “copy products” lead to some fatal and near fatal accidents in Europe. Most of the incidents involved the products not being used in accordance with instructions, and some “copy products” did not have adequate instructions. All of which prompted a review of the standards pertaining to Learn to Swim Products for sale in Europe.

Other members of the Maertin family and QPILtd went on to help draft and update EN13138.


Swim Seat Manikins – Part 3

EN13138-3:2014 is the latest iteration covering Swim Seats to be Worn.

They specify 3 manikin sizes, to test the Swim Seats suitable for children up to 3 years old, or up to 18kg in weight.


Standing vs Seated Style Test Manikins

EN13138-3:2014 includes the traditional “standing style” manikin very similar to those in earlier releases of the standard.

It also includes a “seated variation” of the manikin. The seated version of the EN13138-3 Manikin also comes in 3 sizes.


Conical vs Straight / Round Arms

Part 3 specifies conical shaped or tapered arms for testing the Swim Seats.

Part 4 manikins will have round arms with straight sides.

The QPILtd EN13138 manikin, sizes I – III have interchangeable arms, so that they can be upgraded to comply with the yet to be release EN13138-4.


EN13138 Part 4 Manikins

Part 4 includes preliminary specifications for an additional 11 manikin sizes. (size IV – XIV).

They will be used to asses the other Swim Devices to be worn, which are covered in EN13138 Part 1.


3 Generations of Manikins

EN13138-3:2014 is the 3rd generation of the published European standard for Swim Seats.

All three versions of the EN13138 standard have included test manikins, and QPI has produced manikins for all three generations.

The overall size and weight of the manikins have remained the same, which leads many to ask what the differences are.

They are subtle but significant.

Certainly for a test lab an outdated manikin would not pass the periodical 3rd party calibration which is required periodically.

For factories, it is certainly worth upgrading from the 2003, or 2007 version to the 2014, as there are significant differences in performance, so it worth having a manikin which will perform in the same manner as the test lab certifying the Swim Product.

Obviously the earlier 2003 & 2007 manikins will not be compliant to En13138-4, used to asses EN13138-1:2014 compliant products.

Only the 3rd generation EN13138-3:2014 manikins (with arms exchanged) will be able to asses EN13138-1 products designed for children up to 3 years old, or up to 18kg in weight.

Below are some key differences between the 3 generations of manikins, featured in EN13138-3:2003, EN13138-3:2007 and EN13138-3:2014.


EN13138-3:2007 vs EN13138-3:2003

The main change from the original 2003 version to 2007 were buoyancy in the chest area, and a clearly defined airway.

The buoyancy in the chest area is designed to replicate the residual lung volume (RLV), which provides some buoyancy in humans.

The RLV buoyancy in 2007 it was 4, 6 & 8 Newton’s respectively, which makes that area considerably more buoyant than the 2003 versions.

The face has a marked triangular section that clearly delineates the nose and mouth area.


EN13138-3:2014 vs EN13138-3:2007

There are about half a dozen minor changes to the manikin, including how the balance point is measure and calibrated.

Additionally there is an additional 2  – 4 Newton’s of residual lung volume buoyancy.

For 2014, it is now 6, 8 & 12 Newton’s for each of the 3 sizes.

The face area still has a clearly delineated “airway zone”.


EN13138-3:2014 vs EN13138-4 (Part 3 vs Part 4)

As mentioned above, the shape of the arms is the only difference for sizes I to III.

It is mainly to facilitate testing armbands as they would not stay on the conical shaped arms of the Swim Seat Manikins.

Sizes IV – XIV of course get larger and heavier.

Size IV jumps up to 30kg, with a RLV buoyancy of 13 newton’s, with size XIV getting up to a RLV 33 newton’s.



Test labs are required to periodically have all of their test equipment calibrated.

QPILtd has access to the same calibration laboratory used by test labs, and can provide a calibration certificate if required.


Flight Case

The manikins are shipped in sturdy “flight cases” which are idea for safe storage between use. They are also of course ideal for labs who have to ship them out for calibration periodically.

QPILtd EN13138 Test Manikins size I, II & III

EN13138-3 Swim Seat Testing Manikins size I, II & III. Part 4 manikins also available in sizes IV to XIV

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