They get to break stuff, make loud noises, and operate dangerous machinery. Who needs powder skiing?
The inner child is alive and well (can you hear that joyful laughter?) at the Dynafit Center of Excellence, a fancy name for the company’s quality control testing and analysis center near Munich, Germany.
Dynafit always had somewhat of a ski gear test and prototyping center in Aschheim, Germany where their corporate offices are. But the facility was cramped and not modernized. They stepped things up in 2014, using former warehouse space to build a bright roomy system of interconnected workshops and offices that’s so clean you could make strudel dough on the floor.
Any legit manufacturer of products that involve personal safety needs to have a facility such as this, or pay a third party (time consuming and expensive) to do the work. In my opinion, testing to this extent has been woefully lacking in the ski touring tech binding industry and is perhaps still on the minimal side with some of the garage brands. But the big players had to step it up. Interestingly, the engineers will tell you that no matter what they do in the lab, things do happen once a product reaches the consumer. “We do our best,” they say “but nothing is perfect and it’s difficult to keep the quality control going all the way from prototype to the product you purchase in a store.”
A couple of things go on here, sometimes simultaneously with a given product, as well as being repeated for prototypes, pre-production “finished” units, and finally on a percentage of retail product to do statistical quality analysis and control (meaning you test a percentage of product from a given batch; if there is a failure recycle the whole batch.) For example, 10% of produced bindings undergo a complete test suite that’s an abbreviated version of the testing TUV does as well as some extra tests specific to a given binding. If any of the 10% have a problem then the whole batch is pulled.