SAIL CLOTH & LAMINATE TESTING
North Sails tests the capabilities of every fabric or laminate style we use on an ongoing basis. Tests include stretch, breaking strength, tear strength, measurement of the adhesive bond in laminates, evaluation of peel strength in fasteners and the breaking strength of seam stitching and bonding techniques.
All cloth lots produced by North Cloth are tested and graded prior to placement in inventory, ensuring North Cloth styles meet our stated specifications. Developmental materials are likewise tested allowing objective comparison to established products.
Cloth stretch testing has always been the key to sailcloth understanding and quality control. When Lowell North started the company in 1957 he soon figured this out and bought a stretch tester called a “Scott Machine”. Primitive by today’s standards, it was replaced in the late 1980s by a second generation of cloth tester designed and produced for North Cloth by Princeton Engineering Professor Bill Putnam. The Putnam cloth tester was the industry standard for many years. Today, North uses two sophisticated computer driven systems for cloth stretch testing.
North also uses a custom hydraulic powered test setup for high-load stretch and breaking strength testing of hardware, fittings and webbing and a custom “peel” tester for measuring bonding strength of laminates.