Know the drop test procedure is essential when guaranteeing the safety of loads during shipping and handling. These tests simulate the drops and rotational impacts that a load may experience during the distribution process and allow for compliance with the most stringent load safety international standards, such as ISTA, ASTM or EN. Therefore, knowing how to carry out a correct drop test procedure allows companies to optimize their packages according to the actual transport conditions, saving costs and avoiding losses.

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What is drop test in packaging?

Packaging drop tests simulate the drops and rotational impacts that packages may experience during shipping and handling. These tests allow for the calculation of damages that a package’s corners, edges and surfaces may suffer, as well as knowing how a drop may affect the transported product. Thanks to a correct drop test procedure it is possible to evaluate the ability that a package has to protect the product that is being transported, and optimize it so that it guarantees the safety of the load. Performing drop test in packaging also has several advantages:

  • It provides data related to a package’s resistance to impacts and allows for the necessary changes to guarantee the safety of products.
  • Characterize the package or the protection of goods translates into savings for companies. Packaging drop tests help avoid over-packaging, which is more expensive for businesses, as well as under-packaging, which endangers goods and implies higher costs due to shrinkage of the destruction of products during transportation.
  • Package drop tests also allow for the product to be evaluated, and for compliance with laws, as well as with industry or specific company standards.


Drop test procedure: What standards enable compliance with?

International product transportation organizations establish drop test standards to ensure the safety of loads. On one hand, a correct drop test procedure allows compliance with the drop test standards of the ASTM D4169 protocol, which outlines the procedures for the performance of drop or impact tests that simulate the shipping and handling environment. This standard is also supplemented by ASTM D4169, which describes the process for the performance of packaging tests “for single parcel delivery system,” as well as the way in which the collected data is to be obtained. On the other hand, a correct drop test procedure allows too compliance with standards outlined in EN 15552:2008 (UNE-EN 15552:2009 in Spain). These drop test standards describe the process to perform free fall tests as well as tests to be performed in common distribution chains. In addition, drop tests are specified in various ISTA drop test procedures, including 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1G, 1H, 2A, 2B, 2C, and 3A. 3B, 3F, 3K, 4 and the 6-FEDEX and 6-SAMSCLUB series. The ISTA-6-AMAZON.COM procedures, required by Amazon for most sellers that use Amazon’s distribution system, will be of special importance in the year 2019. Packaging drop tests is one of the transport tests and simulations that are to be complied with in order to obtain the Frustration-Free certificate that Amazon will establish as a requirement for many sellers before August 1, 2019.

amazon frustration free packaging guidelines

Drop test procedure: how to perform packaging drop tests

Packaging drop tests simulate the drop of a package and the impact that it receives from a specific height and in various angles. During these package drop tests, a product is dropped in the same way that it would when being shipped or handled. A Packaging drop test procedure vary depending on the standards to be complied with and the characteristics of the load, among others. The tests are defined based on three variables:

  • The height of the drop, which reproduces what actually happens when workers handle the products. This height is usually 100mm to 450mm (though it may be as high as 900mm in some highly stringent cases). The height of the fall is based on ergonomic criteria (taking into account the package measurements and weight).
  • The position from which the cargo is dropped, which may vary to evaluate the more common areas where impacts may affect the products. Generally, the base of the package, the edges of the base and the corners of the base are tested; however, every side is tested for flat products.
  • The number of drops undergone by the package, which is generally set at six drops for one same product (which may include an extra series of six drops). Each of the drops is performed on a different area of the package, in order to measure the damages suffered during the distribution cycle.

The values of these three variables within packaging drop test procedures are defined based on the type of product and how hazardous the distribution cycle to be experienced during its transportation will be. Some standards require three different testing levels for compliance. Therefore, various heights, orientations and numbers of drops are used for each test, obtaining results for a large number of possible scenarios. The purpose of drop test procedure  will be to determine the consistency of packages when facing these issues. Tests will be passed if a visual inspection shows that the package has been able to protect the product after the drop.

eumos 40509:2020

Drop Test procedure: Machine features

Safe Load TT’s Drop Tester allows for the simulation of drops and rotational impacts on packages of up to 1000 kg (2205 lb.) that fall from a height of up to 2 meters (6′ 6.74″). In addition, it has been designed to comply with the ISTA, ASTM and EN standards, which guarantees the safety of loads as per the protocols established by these organizations. The Drop test machine uses advanced technology combined with an innovative design implemented by Safe Load TT‘s R&D department when performing a correct drop test procedure.


Drop Tester


The Drop Test Machine is available in four models, depending on the type of cargo to be transported and its volume:

  • Models SF-DP600 and SF-DP1200 can perform tests with packages of up to 600kg and 1,200kg (1,323lb and 2,646lb) respectively. In order to perform the testing procedure, a steel cart is elevated and roped on a steel rail/beam. The load falls freely and the cart is equipped with hydraulic shock absorbers, which prevent damages.
  • Models SF-DP100 and SF-DP200 perform tests with packages of up to 100kg and 200kg (220lb and 440lb) respectively. For the performance of the test, the load is placed on supports that are elevated and retract, allowing the load to fall. The model for smaller goods also allows for the placement of obstacles to be impacted by the load, and includes a release mechanism that prevents the supports from interfering with the free fall.

In all cases, the Drop Test Machine includes an arm mechanism that allows for testing edge and corner drops, expanding the ability of the machine to obtain results that are closer to real life. This machine may be combined with the Data Recorder of the innRecord product line, a device that, when placed on a truck, ship or airplane, records the motions that imply hazards to loads during transportation (among others, potential drops). Based on data recorded by the Data Recorder, the Drop Tester can simulate the drops that take place during transportation.

Why should I choose Safe Load’s Drop Test Machine?

Safe Load Testing Technologies’ Drop Tester offers solutions to companies that wish to guarantee the safety of their products during transportation while complying with international standards. There are several reasons why you should choose this equipment:

  • Our long track record in the package research sector guarantees that we are experts in the industry.
  • We strive to provide personalized solutions tailored to our clients. We will study the needs of your business and propose the best solutions for you to accomplish the results that you seek.
  • We have the skill and know-how to design and implement turnkey testing equipment.
  • We offer package engineering and transport simulation training, so that when you work with us you understand what the best options are, and why.
  • We work to make complying with international standards easy for you. This is why our Drop Tester is designed to comply with the ISTA, ASTM and EN standards.


In addition, we sought to offer solutions to those who need to comply with ISTA 6-AMAZON.COM, by offering a set of machines known as the Amazon Lab. With these 5 machines, Amazon sellers can perform the procedures outlined in ISTA and ISTA and obtain Amazon’s Frustration Free-Packaging certification. Companies from various sectors (packaging, e-commerce and hygiene products, among others) have already trusted Safe Load Testing Technologies for their equipment to realise a correct drop test procedure. If you want to do a perfect drop test procedure to obtain results, get in touch with us and we will help you find solutions to protect your products during transportation, comply with international standards and save costs.

Load stability guide: drop test procedure