The distribution and transportation of fragile materials such as ceramic flooring tiles requires the performance of specific distribution testing in order to guarantee that the packaging that protects them is capable of preserving their integrity throughout the distribution cycle.
To this end, we must know well the properties of the product and, above all, the hazards that it faces. Subsequently, thanks to transport simulation tests, companies can reproduce the hazards faced by the load under laboratory conditions to design an effective protective packaging.
Each company may, in addition, design ceramics testing protocols tailored to their products and distribution cycle, or apply international standards such as ASTM or ISO.
An adequate ceramics testing process focuses on all contingencies linked to this material, so as to prevent damages during shipping, handling and warehousing.
The importance of ceramics testing for your products
The distribution cycle is a complex process during which a number of threats may exist:
- During handling of the load, it is common for impacts and tilting to occur from the end of the production line to the warehouse. Despite this being a short path, the number of incidents is considerable.
- Stowage and warehousing are other critical moments, since any shock or movement may endanger the load stability, in addition to putting operators at risk of injury in many cases.
Furthermore, during warehousing there is a high risk linked to the stacking of loads, which is directly related to the load that the product-package system can withstand.
Warehousing is also a critical point where products and packages deteriorate due to the passage of time in the warehouse. Known as creep, this phenomenon takes place due to the stresses of constantly storing a load, compounded by the wear of the materials.
- Transportation is a decisive moment to take into account during the distribution cycle in order to guarantee a safe cargo. Here, the inertia resulting from the movement of the transport, vibrations and the consequences of practices such as product stacking – including impacts and drops – come into play.
In the face of these risks, ceramics testing is a fundamental step for companies intending to optimize their product-package system for their distribution cycle to be safer.
Advantages of ceramics testing for your business
Through ceramics testing, companies can thoroughly analyze and evaluate the protective capabilities of their product + package system before it faces the real distribution cycle.
This, in turn, enables companies to:
- Optimize financial costs. Thanks to transport simulation and distribution testing protocols, companies can optimize their products so that they can withstand the shipping & handling process, preventing shrinkages resulting from poor packaging, and inadequate stowage or their warehousing. In this way, they also avoid expenses linked to over-packaging or under-packaging, using an optimal amount of packaging material and avoiding unnecessary financial costs.
- Select materials and perform quality control. Ceramics testing makes it easier to validate new packaging materials with sights on guaranteeing a safe cargo and a stable load. For example, thanks to stability testing it is possible to determine whether the tertiary packaging being used is suitable to ensure that the load remains stable during transportation.
Ceramics testing is also useful to improve the sustainability of the product + package system. By performing the right simulations, a company can analyze incorporating eco-friendly materials in its packaging or eliminating unnecessary components or processes, reducing the carbon footprint and waste generated by the packaging.
Types of ceramics testing
Handling contingency simulations
It is possible to evaluate the resistance to impacts by performing palletized load drop tests using the innDrop machine.
In addition, by using horizontal stability testers, companies can evaluate the deformation and stability of a load, and optimize it accordingly, while the innTilt system allows for controlling the quality of the packaging system at the end of the production line.
Ceramics storage testing
Compression tests simulate and measure the resistance to stacking of a load as part of the ceramics testing process. This includes the creep effect, which modifies the resistance as time passes.
Here we can find three main techniques.
- The first one consists of performing a compression test while applying a safety factor.
- The second one involves studying the stress-strain curve of the packaging system in combination with a reduced creep effect, and extrapolate.
- The third one consists of using prototypes, studying them alongside the load for the period of time that they are expected to endure. This last technique is not recommended due to the testing times that are required (50% more than the maximum stowage time of the full distribution cycle) and due to the workplace risk involved in having an unstable load (since it is typically kept in a corner of the warehouse).
No matter the technique, the main tool used for these tests is the Compression Tester system of the innPress family.
Transport simulation for ceramics testing
Here we could highlight the horizontal impact tests performed using innShock family systems, designed to simulate the shocks caused by slack during transportation and other phenomena, such as the coupling of railcars.
On the other hand, the resistance of the product + package system to the inertia experienced as a result of changes in direction, turns and hard braking during transportation – mainly by road – are tested via acceleration tests such as the one outlined in the EUMOS 40509:2020 standard. Stability systems of the innSlide family are used in the performance of these tests.
Additionally, the vibrations and rattling are simulated via vibration testing, using for this purpose vibration systems such as those that are part of the innWave product family developed by Safe Load Testing Technologies. Other cases also require the performance of distribution testing on stacked loads under compression. The compressometers mentioned above are used for this purpose.
Standards to improve your ceramics testing
There are a series of international standards that enable companies to test their chosen packaging during their ceramics testing:
- The ASTM D6055 standard tests the stability during handling through the use of a forklift, for the cases where this type of handling method is used.
- Drop tests, which need to be tailored to each case, include the UNE 22248 standard and the UNE 14149 rotational drop tests.
- There are a number of standards that outline tests related to stacking, due to the high financial and personal risk linked to this process. These include standards such as ISO 2234 for stacking, D7030 on the creep test, ASTM 642 for compression and specific standards such as FEFCO 50. In any case, it will be necessary to determine which one is best suited to each specific case.
- For horizontal impact tests, we could highlight standards such as ASTM 4003 and ISO 2244.
- The EUMOS 40509 standard deals with acceleration tests, and outlines the testing method to analyze and evaluate the rigidity of a load.
- The ASTM D4728 and ASTM D999 standards outline protocols for the performance of vibration testing.
Furthermore, the complexity of the distribution cycle calls for standards to evaluate entire distribution cycles. Here we can find standards such as ASTM D 7386 and the ISTA testing procedures, such as the Amazon standards.
No matter the situation, it is recommended to count with personnel that is experienced in transport simulation and distribution testing.
For example, it is common in the implementation of these standards for a curve definition, a testing profile or other requirements to prompt technicians to resort to phrases such as “use the following testing profile if you don’t have one that is specific.”
Cases such as this highlight the importance of the experience of technical teams such as the one of Safe Load Testing Technologies in the field of transport simulation, which allows for improving the testing process to apply it both to the characterization and to the verification test.
Safe Load Testing Technologies‘ advice covers many aspects:
- The selection of adequate testing machinery
- The optimization of package design processes
- The selection, testing and quality control of packaging materials
- Advice related to product redesign for reducing the use of packaging
- Testing of the packaged product
With this in mind, we offer a complete consultancy and training service in the aforementioned fields both for companies that are outfitted with Safe Load TT machines and those that have equipment by other suppliers and are looking to make the most out of their ceramic testing and other packaging transit testing.
Do you want to know more about ceramics testing? Are you looking for a packaging optimization and testing solution provider? Get in touch with us and let’s talk about how we can help you.