All insulated digging tools need to conform to the specifications of BS8020:2011 for live working and to ensure products conform to these specifications they have to go through many individual tests.  If an insulated tool fails any of these individual tests, then they could pose a risk of electric shock for users.

That is why Rollins undertakes a number of meticulous tests in a specially designed UK facility – to ensure that the testing process is rigorously adhered to and therefore, every Bulldog Powerbreaker insulated tool is always the safe choice that can be trusted and relied upon by users.

There are seven main tests that these tools have to pass to ensure that they meet the exact standards required:

  1. Preconditioning immersion test
  2. Preconditioning hot and cold test
  3. Abrasive test
  4. Bend test
  5. Flame test
  6. Dry electrical test
  7. Wet electrical test

But what actually happens in each of these tests?

  1. The Preconditioning Immersion Test

The test piece is immersed in tap water at 23˚c (+/- 5˚c) for 24 hours (+/- 0.5 hours) for conditioning. Following this, the material is wiped dry and electrical testing commences within 5 minutes.

  • Preconditioning Hot and Cold Test

Before undertaking the mechanical tests, the insulated hand tools are conditioned by placement initially in a cooling chamber for 2 hours at -20˚c (+/- 3˚c) and then into a heating chamber for 2 hours at 70˚c (+/- 3˚c).

The tools are allowed to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes following each period of conditioning and then electrically tested.

  • The Abrasive Test

The test piece’s underguard (150 cycles) and overguard (1500 cycles) are subject to the abrasive test with a weight of 5kg placed on the top of the tool blade.

Following the underguard test, there should be no metal parts of the tool exposed, there should be no cuts or splits in the underguard insulation and the tool should then pass the electrical test specified.

After the overguard abrasive test, the underguard should not be exposed, there should be no cuts or splits in the overguard insulation and the tool should then pass the electrical test specified.

  • The Bend Test

The test piece is inserted into the test rig and clamped in place where a force of 750 N is applied to the top of the handle. This is repeated to 1000 cycles ensuring that the tool will not bend or break.

  • Flame Test

The test piece is clamped in a horizontal position before a burner is placed with the tip of the flame just touching the tool for 10 seconds. The flame is then withdrawn and the test piece is then observed for 20 seconds for any flame propagation. The flame used should have a heat content of approximately 37 MJ/m³.

  • Dry Electrical Test

The test piece is placed on the calibrated test machine and a voltage of 10kV AC (rms) 50Hz is applied continuously for three minutes across the electrodes, after which the test machine will indicate whether the tool has passed or failed.

  • Wet Electrical Test

The test piece is immersed with its insulated part in a barrel of tap water. The phase conductor of the test supply is then connected to the metal head and the neutral conductor connected to the electrode placed in the water bath. A voltage of 10kV AC (rms) 50Hz for three minutes is then applied across the electrode and the test machine indicates a pass or fail.

Unique Number Certification

On completion of the tests, each tool has a unique number etched onto its head and the matching certificate of conformity.

All of these tests are undertaken in the UK and not only conform to the standards set by BS8020:2011, but in almost every case surpass them.

Each tool is individually tested to 10,000v and is guaranteed to 1,000v with a unique certificate of conformity – remember if you don’t get Unique Number Certification, then your tool hasn’t passed the BS8020:2011 standard.