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Vibrations are one of the main threats to the integrity of goods being transported. It has been demonstrated, through transport simulation and vibration studies, that damage caused by transport vibrations occurs most frequently at resonant frequencies. Through ASTM vibration testing protocols such as the vibration test standard ASTM D3580, it is possible to know the resonance frequency in the shipping environment to design suitable and safer packaging to protect the transported products against vibrations.

What is ASTM D3580?

ASTM D3580 Standard Test Methods for Vibration (Vertical Linear Motion) Test of Products allows the determination of the response to vertical vibration forces of unpackaged products and unpackaged product components. It is a standard oriented to product design, or for the design of containers or inner packaging, taking into account critical vibration frequencies within the transport environment that could cause damage or breakage.

In addition, the information obtained from ASTM D3580 testing provides engineers with valuable information for evaluating the fatigue characteristics of resonant components and for product modification. This can be critical if a product’s response to vibration requires the redesign of a shipping container that has proven to be ineffective and very costly.

Test methods for ASTM D3580

ASTM-D3580 uses a vertical linear motion on the surface on which the product is mounted to find the resonance. Through a vertical vibration system, products are subjected to vertical vibration forces to observe their behavior using two alternative test methods.

  • Test method A: resonance search using sinusoidal vibration
  • Test method B: resonance search by random vibration

It is important to note that the two separate test methods are not equivalent. Different results may be produced with each method. Typically, the random vibration test is a better simulation of the conveying equipment. The random vibration test is also usually faster.

Vibration Testing Equipment for ASTM D3580

Vertical Vibration System

Designed to simulate the vertical vibrations produced throughout the distribution cycle, the Vertical Vibration System is compatible with the ASTM D3580 standard and can reproduce standard vibrations, as well as those recorded from actual conveyor routes by systems such as Data Recorder.

ASTM D3580-vertical-vibration

Vertical Vibration + Pitch & Roll System

In addition to the vertical vibration tables, there are other solutions on the market capable of simulating vibrations on more than one axis. This is the case of the vertical vibration + Pitch & Roll system which integrates the vertical vibration system plus the Pitch & Roll module patented by Safe Load Testing Technologies. This system allows to simulate vertical vibrations as well as pitch and roll movements with high accuracy.

ASTM D4169: standards and procedures

Pitch and Roll Module

Different studies conclude that loads are not only affected by vertical vibrations but also by other movements such as rocking and pitching motions.

The Pitch & Roll Module allows to simulate these movements, bringing vibration testing closer to the reality of the conveying environment. Installed on an existing vertical vibration table, from any supplier, the Pitch & Roll Module uses a sensor to measure the inclination of the test surface in two axes and by means of two actuators is able to generate pitch and roll movements, reproducing real transport situations, impossible to simulate with a single-axis machine.

Thanks to the patented Pitch & Roll vibration module technology, Safe Load Testing Technologies can upgrade any vertical vibration table into a vertical plus pitch & roll vibration system capable of simulating vibrations in three axes.

ASTM vibration test: other standards

ASTM Standards for packaging not only include the ASTM D3580 standard to simulate the vibrations that occur in the distribution environment. There are other ASTM vibration testing standards aimed at simulating and analyzing vibration such as:

ASTM D999: Standard Test Methods for Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers

This standard sets out the standard test methods for vibration testing of shipping containers. These tests can be used to evaluate the performance of a container, both in terms of strength and the protection it provides to the contents when subjected to vibrations such as those experienced in transport.

ASTM D4728: Standard Test Method for Random Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers

This test method covers random vibration testing of filled shipping units to evaluate the response of the filled shipping container, with its inner packaging and closure means, in terms of its robustness and the protection provided by the contents when subjected to random vibration.

ASTM D4728 provides guidance on the development and use of vibration data in the testing of shipping containers. The standard also indicates that random vibration simulation may be performed in any axis (vertical or horizontal) or in any orientation of the package using a vibration test system, which shall consist of a shake table of sufficient strength and stiffness so that the vibrations applied are essentially uniform over the entire test surface when loaded with the specimen to be tested.

The vibration table should be supported by a mechanism capable of producing single-axis vibration inputs at controlled levels of continuously variable amplitude over the entire desired range of frequencies. And suitable fixtures and guides should be provided to restrict unwanted movement of the test specimens.

ASTM D5112: Horizontal Linear Motion for Vibration Test of Products

In the ASTM standards list, there is also the ASTM D5112 standard whose objective is to determine the resonances of unpackaged products and their components by applying horizontal linear motion on the surface on which the product is located.

The standard proposes two alternative testing methods:

  • Test method A – Resonance Search Using Sinusoidal Vibration
  • Test method B – Resonance Search Using Random Vibration

The information obtained on the response of products to vibrations, whether random or sinusoidal, is used in the product or packaging design phase, so that it is able to minimize the damage that vibration forces can cause.

ASTM D7387: Standard Test Method for Vibration Testing of Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs) Used for Shipping Liquid Hazardous Materials (Dangerous Goods)

This test method comprises the vibration test on IBCs (intermediate bulk containers), their means of closure and the dangerous goods they contain.

Therefore, through the ASTM D7387 test method, it is possible to analyze the interaction of the container components and test both its design and the type of material.

This test method is required as part of the qualification of intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) in accordance with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Title 49 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) and the United Nations Recommendations on the Transport of Dangerous Goods (UN).

At Safe Load Testing Technologies we help companies to generate safe packaging in accordance with international standards such as ASTM D3580 through our simulation equipment. Find out more about our vibration simulation equipment and contact us to learn more about how we can help you.


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