ASTM is an international nonprofit organization that develops and publishes approximately 12,000 standards developed by expert volunteers from around the globe for materials, products, systems and services. More specifically, the organization was created in the year 1898 under the name American Society for Testing Materials and it wasn’t until 2001 that it changed its name to ASTM International.

ASTM members create testing standards that apply to almost every field: metals, paints, plastics, textiles, petroleum, construction, energy, environment, consumer products, healthcare services, devices and electronic products, among many others. The goal of ASTM testing is to improve product quality, increase security, facilitate access to the markets and trade and encourage consumer trust.

“ASTM members create testing standards that apply to almost every field”

ASTM testing standards for transport

ASTM testing standards have many advantages when compared to other procedures, but they particularly stand out because they offer the ability to quickly adapt to social and market needs. In other words, they quickly respond to the immediate requirements of new industry regulations.

ASTM has created a great number of standards for the freight transportation sector, with the most important being:

  • D4169 – 16 Standard Practice for Performance Testing of Shipping Containers and Systems
  • D642 Test Method for Determining Compressive Resistance of Shipping Containers, Components, and Unit Loads
  • D880 Test Method for Impact Testing for Shipping Containers and Systems
  • D951 Test Method for Water Resistance of Shipping Containers by Spray Method
  • D996 Terminology of Packaging and Distribution Environments
  • D999 Test Methods for Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers
  • D4003 Test Methods for Programmable Horizontal Impact Test for Shipping Containers and Systems
  • D4332 Practice for Conditioning Containers, Packages, or Packaging Components for Testing
  • D4728 Test Method for Random Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers
  • D5265 Test Method for Bridge Impact Testing
  • D5276 Test Method for Drop Test of Loaded Containers by Free Fall
  • D5277 Test Method for Performing Programmed Horizontal Impacts Using an Inclined Impact Tester
  • D5487 Test Method for Simulated Drop of Loaded Containers by Shock Machines
  • D6055 Test Methods for Mechanical Handling of Unitized Loads and Large Shipping Cases and Crates
  • D6179 Test Methods for Rough Handling of Unitized Loads and Large Shipping Cases and Crates
  • D6344 Test Method for Concentrated Impacts to Transport Packages
  • D6653 Test Methods for Determining the Effects of High Altitude on Packaging Systems by Vacuum Method
  • D7386 Practice for Performance Testing of Packages for Single Parcel Delivery Systems

The most significant and widespread of them all is ASTM D4169 – 16 which provides a guide for the evaluation of shipping units by means of a uniform system, by using representative test methods that reproduce real transportation.

“ASTM testing standards stand out because they offer the ability to quickly adapt to social and market needs”

How to accomplish with the ASTM packaging standards

How to comply with the ASTM packaging test standards

As we already saw, ASTM International standards are quite widespread, and are used in highly diverse settings, such as researches and development projects, quality systems, product quality assurance and commercial transactions all over the world. As a result, many companies and fields are required to comply with these standards.

In the case of transport and distribution, the standards to be complied with will depend on the characteristics of the transported products, but as we have already seen, the ASTM D4169 standard is the one that sees the most use, since it lays out different testing protocols depending on the distribution cycle, and it is the client who decides which one it better tailored to its needs. This standard proposes 18 different distribution cycles based on the type of freight and the type of transport.

In order to comply with the ASTM packaging testing standards laid out in the D4169 standard, the following tests must be performed, among others: vibration test, impact test and drop test, all of which require specific machines.

“ASTM International standards are quite widespread, and are used in highly diverse settings”


The Safe Load TT drop tester can be used to carry out the ASTM drop tests outlined in the following standards: ASTM D4169-16, ASTM D7386, ASTM D52276-98 and ASTM D6179-07. In addition, the horizontal impact tester and horizontal impact & acceleration tester complies with the ASTM D4003-98 standard, which establishes standard testing methods to  simulate horizontal impacts in containers and shipping systems.

In order to perform the ASTM vibration tests, at Safe Load we have the Vertical Vibration and vertical vibration + pitch & roll system, which complies with the ASTM 4728-17 and ASTM D999-08 standards; while ASTM impact tests can be performed using the inclined impact tester (ASTM D880-92 and ASTM D5277-92). Lastly, the compression tester ensures compliance with the ASTM D7030-04 and ASTM D642-15 standards.

Our experience with ASTM tests

At Safe Load TT we have significant experience with ASTM testing, and we have machines that are especially designed to comply with safety standards and guarantee the CE marking with the highest reliability and precision. A clear example of this is the innShock horizontal impact tester machine, which can reproduce a 300ms horizontal impact. This condition is outlined in the ASTM D4003 standard, and is very difficult to find a machine on the market that can reproduce such long impacts.

Clients such as Duoplast have purchased Safe Load TT machines certified by DakkS for the performance of tests as per the following standards: ASTM D4169, ASTM D4003, ASTM D880 and ASTM D4728. This guarantees to any company that is in the need to subject its products to ASTM testing standards that our systems are highly reliable.

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