The ASTM D996 protocol presents a series of technical definitions that are universally used and understood in packaging and distribution environments.

It is therefore a question of establishing a manufacturing terminology, which entails providing valuable information for the industry and trying to unify and clarify concepts for use in the industry.

ASTM terminology facilitates the exchange of information and the improvement of communications in packaging and distribution environments.

The ASTM international association plays a key role in a huge number of industries, including the transport and packaging environments. 

Thus, the ASTM D996 protocol encompasses different standards that must be met in order to guarantee safety and the highest quality of services in the industry. 


ASTM D996: what it is about

ASTM D996 refers to a document prepared by the ASTM international organization that defines the exact manufacturing terminology related to packaging and distribution environments. 

The ASTM terminology included in this guide leaves out the most well-known terms or those that can already be consulted in other references to focus on those terms whose definition has not yet been established. 

The document attempts to provide a concise definition of a single sentence. However, for some of the terms described, the guide is intended to include other considerations that may serve as clarification, e.g. in what contexts the word is used, or the different types of materials covered by a single term.

The ASTM D996 guide is organized so that each ASTM definition is grouped according to thematic groups. Within these groups, terms appear in alphabetical order. 

In addition to each ASTM definition, the document refers to dozens of other standards or protocols, both from the association itself and from other organizations.  

The ASTM D996 document therefore was put together with the aim of providing the packaging and distribution environment of a kind of glossary of manufacturing terminology in which the vocabulary of the industry is defined. In this way, it is possible to ensure that the terms are used accurately on a global level. 

In addition, the association tries to renew and keep the guide up to date, so that it remains ever current. The last revision of the ASTM D996 standard took place in 2016, the year which corresponds to the version available on its website.


What ASTM represents

The nonprofit organization ASTM develops and publishes standards on materials, products, systems and services thanks to the contribution of global experts. 

With the definition of ASTM standards, the objective of the association is to guarantee the quality of products in a global scale, to improve safety, to improve access to markets and trade, and to promote consumer confidence.

ASTM is an association known and respected in the whole world which offers solutions and protocols for very different industries. 

The organization’s origins date back to 1898, when the American Society for Testing Materials was founded. This organization arose to solve the problem that some corporations had with their suppliers, seeking a consensus to measure the quality standards of industrial materials. 

In 2001, and after a series of transformations to adapt to the progress in the industries, the organization became the ASTM International. 


In which contexts are ASTM protocols applied?

The definition of ASTM standards is not limited to the packaging and distribution industry, but includes many more such as plastics, textiles, energy, metals, consumer products or health services, among others.

In this sense, ASTM standards are applied globally and in diverse environments. It is common for them to appear in research and project development contexts, in addition to quality systems and product quality assurance. 

Among ASTM’s success stories we could mention the application of sterility assurance standards for Johnson & Johnson, and the amusement park industry standards applied by the Canadian company WhiteWater West. 

Thus, meeting ASTM standards implies a global guarantee that an organization obeys the safest and highest quality protocols. 

We may also highlight their protocols for transporting cargo to ensure security in the distribution environment. In this sense, the association presents dozens of standards and protocols that guarantee the safety of goods and compliance with transport regulations. 

Likewise, by means of certain documents establishing manufacturing terminology such as ASTM D996, such protocols and standards are applied in building a global framework for the packaging and distribution industry. 


What exactly ASTM does

ASTM’s work is to set protocols and standards for a wide range of industries. In this way, it provides quality guidelines for companies in different fields seeking to optimize their processes.

In summary, it could be said that the definition of ASTM standards is about making processes and systems in a variety of industries work better and more efficiently. 

In figures, ASTM could be summarized as follows: 

  • More than 12,500 standards generated for the industry on a global scale, ensuring greater security and improving processes in multiple areas. 
  • More than 30,000 volunteer members who develop new protocols and edit existing standards to adapt them to changing industries. ASTM is always seeking technical experts who can provide their knowledge and ideas to generate the most efficient protocols. 
  • The participation of more than 140 countries, making ASTM a global organization.
  • 120 years working to meet these objectives.

In an ever-changing world, ASTM standards stand out for their ability to adapt to market needs and social changes quickly and efficiently, as well as to new regulations in the industry. 

In this sense, ASTM is dedicated to writing and publishing standards through more than 140 technical committees, which are responsible for developing tools to ensure customer satisfaction and competitiveness of companies in different markets. 


What is an ASTM test method?

ASTM defines its testing methods as “passports for success in a global market strategy”. 

These protocols are developed through expert committees and guided by the World Trade Organization, so that any company (from the most powerful multinational conglomerates to the smallest start-ups) may participate in the market by offering quality products. 

In this sense, documents such as the ASTM D996 standard try to provide a scenario in which any company at a global level can use the same manufacturing terminology.

To provide an example in the context of transport, we could mention the ASTM D4169 protocol. This document proposes different testing methods to ensure the safety of goods depending on the distribution cycle that is to take place. Thus, 18 types of distribution cycles appear and existing methods for securing loads are described depending on the type of goods and the means of transport. 

In order to comply with the protocols of this specific standard, it is necessary to apply transport simulation machinery, including a vibration test, an impact test and a drop test. It is also desirable that such machinery be specifically designed to meet the relevant ASTM standards. 

In short, through compliance with the protocol established in ASTM D4169, it is possible to offer global guarantees that the goods will go through the distribution cycle safely and with optimized packaging.  


The Annual Book of ASTM Standards

The ASTM organization is responsible for compiling annually the standards produced to date in a document known as the Annual Book of ASTM Standards. 

This book reproduces and compiles all the documents  produced by the different ASTM committees and is available in online format. ASTM also provides access to other formats of its annual book, which includes more than 80 volumes. 

The index organizes the huge number of standards produced by the association according to the industry to which they belong, so that, for example, section 1 is devoted to Metal and Steel Products, section 4 to Construction, section 7 to Textiles, and so on. 

Are you interested in complying with ASTM standards related to the transport or packaging industry? Does your company belong to these environments and do you want to optimize your processes according to the international protocols established by ASTM?

At Safe Load Testing Technologies, we help companies and organizations comply with ASTM protocols, with the use of machinery specifically designed to comply with these standards. 

A number of companies, such as Duoplast, have already put their trust on us to execute ASTM D4169, ASTM D4003, ASTM D880 and ASTM D4728 protocols and optimize their processes and systems. 

In this way, thanks to the equipment developed by our experts in packaging optimization, we can offer you the guarantee of accessing and complying with ASTM quality standards

Please contact us and we’ll tell you how we can help your business move towards quality and safety.