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In the world of logistics and supply chain management, ensuring the safety and integrity of products during transit is a paramount concern. This is where the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) plays a crucial role, particularly through its ISTA 6 series of tests. The ISTA 6 series is a collection of rigorous packaging tests designed to simulate real-world transportation scenarios and challenges. These tests are critical in determining whether a product’s packaging can withstand the physical rigors of shipping and handling, thereby ensuring that products arrive at their destination in good condition.

The ISTA 6 series encompasses various protocols, each tailored to the specific requirements of major retailers and carriers. The diversity within the ISTA 6 series allows businesses to choose a testing protocol that best matches their distribution channels, providing a more accurate assessment of how their products will fare in the real world.

Exploring the ISTA 6 Series: Types of Tests

The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) has developed a series of standards known as ISTA 6, which are designed to test packaged-products for their ability to withstand the rigors of transportation. These standards are particularly focused on simulating the challenges products may face in the global distribution environment.

Here’s an overview of the various ISTA 6 standards and what they entail:


  • Purpose: Specifically designed for vendors supplying to Amazon, this standard tests the ability of packages to withstand the stresses of Amazon’s distribution system.
  • Tests Include: A series of tests that simulate the handling and transportation environment within Amazon’s distribution network, including drop, compression, and vibration tests.

ISTA 6-FedEx-A and ISTA 6-FedEx-B:

  • Purpose: These are two separate tests developed in collaboration with FedEx. They are designed to test the durability of packages shipped through FedEx’s system.
  • Tests Include: ISTA 6-FedEx-A focuses on smaller parcels, while ISTA 6-FedEx-B is for larger shipments. Both include a series of drops, vibrations, and compression tests tailored to FedEx’s handling and transportation processes.


  • Purpose: Developed for suppliers to Sam’s Club, this protocol is intended to challenge the package and product to survive the Sam’s Club distribution environment.
  • Tests Include: Tests that replicate the shipping, handling, and storage conditions that products might encounter in the Sam’s Club supply chain.

ISTA 6-Over Boxing:

  • Purpose: This standard is for products that are sold in a primary retail package and then shipped in a master shipping container (over box).
  • Tests Include: It includes tests for shock (drop), compression, and vibration to ensure the product and its retail packaging can withstand being shipped in a larger box.

Understanding ISTA 6 Sam’s Club Standard

The ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB certification represents a significant advancement in the packaging and transportation sector, setting the standard for efficient, sustainable, and reliable packaging solutions. This certification is essential for companies looking to optimize their packaging processes while adhering to environmental and safety standards.

ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB is a packaged products test for Sam’s Club distribution system shipment. It is used for simulating Sam’s Club’s importation as well as distribution environment. The test considers the product’s nature, its packaging, the loading patterns, and whether it is a domestic or an international shipment. This test was introduced as an ISTA project in October 2010.

The test protocol is designed to simulate the capability of products, in their packages, to withstand the distribution hazards of Sam’s Club importation and distribution environment.

Conduct ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB testing

The ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB certification is highly sought after by retailers and suppliers, especially those involved in large-scale distribution like Sam’s Club. This certification is crucial as it ensures that their products can withstand the rigors of transportation and storage, reducing the risk of damage and enhancing customer satisfaction. Adhering to these standards not only improves product safety but also reflects a commitment to quality and sustainability.

Proper product placement on pallets, along with the use of high-quality stretch film and protective packaging, is essential. This ensures stability during transportation and minimizes movement that can lead to damage. Effective packaging also plays a critical role in protecting the products from external forces and environmental factors, thereby maintaining the integrity of the goods throughout the distribution process.

The ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB test procedure involves a series of tests designed to simulate various transportation and storage conditions. These tests include vibration, shock (drop), and compression tests, each tailored to replicate the specific challenges faced during the distribution process. The goal is to ensure that the packaging can protect the contents effectively under various stress conditions.

The equipment needed to conduct the ISTA 6-SAMSCLUB test:

Vibration Testing System: This machine  is designed to simulate the vibrational forces encountered during transit. It’s essential to use a Vertical Vibration Testing Machine, as it mimics the up-and-down movements typically experienced during road transportation. This testing systmen is also capable to reproduce other vibration forces from different transportation vehicles, such as airplanes and trains.

Vertical Vibration Test System

Drop Tester: Essential for simulating the impacts a package might experience during handling,abrupt drops when loading or unloading packages from the delivery van, or falls from pallet jacks or other means of handling goods. Then, the Drop Tester evaluates the package’s ability to withstand drops from different heights and angles.

Drop Testers

Clamp Tester: This machine simulates the horizontal compressive forces and stresses that packages undergo during clamping operations in transportation and warehousing, effectively replicating the impact of clamping forces.

Clamp Tester

Compression Tester: It is used to evaluate a package’s resistance to crushing forces, such as those encountered during stacking and storage.

Compression Tester

Benefits of Conducting ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB

Conducting the ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB test offers small businesses several key benefits.

  • It ensures that products are well-protected during shipping, reducing the risk of damage and saving costs. This leads to happier customers and can help meet the requirements of large retailers.
  • It also boosts a business’s competitive edge and supports eco-friendly practices, which is great for the brand’s image.
  • The test provides valuable data to make informed decisions about packaging materials and designs.


What is ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB, and why is it important for packaging?

ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB is a specific set of testing procedures developed by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) for Sam’s Club distribution system shipments. These tests are designed to ensure that packaged products can withstand the physical demands of the distribution process, reducing the risk of damage during transit. This is crucial for maintaining product integrity and customer satisfaction.

What types of tests are included in the ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB protocol?

The ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB protocol includes a series of rigorous tests that simulate different aspects of the transportation environment. These may include drop tests, compression tests, vibration tests, and atmospheric condition tests. The goal is to mimic the stresses that packages will encounter during shipping and handling to ensure they can protect their contents effectively.

How can a company get their packaging ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB certified?

To obtain ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB certification, a company must have its packaging tested at an ISTA-certified laboratory. These labs conduct the necessary tests as per the ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB protocol. If the packaging passes all the tests, it is then certified, indicating that it meets the high standards required for Sam’s Club distribution.

If you have any questions about ISTA 6 SAMSCLUB or how to implement the machines from Safe Load Testing Technologies in your packaging tests, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experts. At Safe Load, we are committed to providing comprehensive support and guidance to ensure your packaging meets the international standards as ISTA 6 series.

Contact us today to enhance your packaging testing process with the expertise and technology of Safe Load Testing Technologies.