Printed material on different products can get abrasion damage during handling, shipment, or storage. The abrasion can significantly degrade the product and reduce its value and legibility. Industries use scuff testing, otherwise known as rub testing, to measure the degree of abrasion done on an item in the aforementioned processes. This article looks at the Sutherland rub test and how it works.

What is the Sutherland Rub Test?

The Sutherland Rub Test is a procedure widely used to gauge the degree of abrasion resistance on different item labels. This test imitates the effects of surface abrasion or continuous human contact on various label materials.

In this process, one label is placed into the SUTHERLAND® 2000™ rub test machine, while the second one is placed on weight. The two labels are rubbed against each other at high speed. After a set time (usually predetermined), the tester checks the abrasion resistance of both labels. The inspector also visually examines the two samples to see if the ink is still in good condition or has worn out.

This procedure, however, doesn’t define the test as pass or fail. The abrasion resistance is typically determined using a set number of rubs, and then conclusions are drawn from the amount of ink that has smeared or worn off.

A Sutherland rub test is useful in determining the durability of the printing and if it can withstand different conditions in its handling, transportation, and use.

Most textile and fabric manufacturers use this scuffing test to check how well the garment can hold color when exposed to wear and tear. This is an important test for all garments. The test can also determine how fast a fabric can get stained, depending on whether it is dry or wet.

Benefits of Sutherland Rub Test

Labels are an essential aspect of any product; therefore, they should be durable and can last long under several conditions. Sutherland scuff testing is important for the following reasons:

1.      Enhances Product Safety

When labels are in good condition, important safety information such as warnings and usage instructions can easily be viewed by users. If this information is distorted, users can encounter safety problems which could be dangerous.

2.      Strengthens Product Value

End product users see clear, quality, and durable labels as a quality feature for a product, especially if used for many years. It can also give any product a high resale value.

3.      Standards Compliance

Product labels have to comply with national and international standards such as IEC. This means it is crucial to perform a rub test to ensure your labels are up to the set standard.


Printed label placement on packaging systems is vital in providing critical information to the user. For the information to be helpful, the integrity of the labels has to be maintained. Damages such as abrasion can compromise this integrity. With Sutherland scuff testing, you can determine the durability of the color on the labels. This helps you use a reliable print.

By Manali