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Drop testing machines play a crucial role in evaluating whether a packaging system is capable of withstanding the impacts that occur during the distribution cycle.

For this reason, it is also important to develop accessories that can test all the circumstances that may arise in the logistics faced by a package from the moment it leaves the warehouse until it reaches its corresponding destination. These tools are vital to ensuring the safety and integrity of products during transportation.


The drop testing machines, along with their accessories, are various tools used in different drop or impact testing processes and tests available that allow for the simulation of real-life situations. Additionally, they have to adhere to established regulations that provide guidelines and standards for properly conducting these tests, ensuring the quality of packaging to secure the goods being transported.

Drop testing machines: an introduction to impact testing equipment

Through drop testing machines, precise and controlled simulations of falls and rotational impacts that affect packages during shipping and handling can be performed.

These machines raise the product to a predetermined height based on its weight and then drop it onto all its faces, edges, and corners to assess the safety of the packaging and its ability to protect the products it contains.

Also known as a “free fall tester” or “vertical impact tester,” this equipment is essential for quality control and packaging research in the corrugated cardboard manufacturing industry, solid cardboard, and shipping containers, among others.

The main objective of conducting drop tests is to simulate the potential damages that fall can cause to both the packaging and the products contained within it. Therefore, this tool is essential for optimizing packaging design, providing precise information about its performance, and allowing for redesign if necessary.

Furthermore, thanks to Drop testing machines included in our innDrop Family, it is possible to simulate the damage that these impacts can cause to the packaging and the goods inside, providing information on how the packaging performs. This information is highly valuable for both the design and optimization of packaging, as it allows for selecting the appropriate packaging to withstand the hazards of the distribution cycle.

ISTA vs ASTM: which one suits your products best?
Drop Tester DP100
Drop Tester DP1000
Algunos estándares de ensayos de impacto incluyen ASTM D880, ASTM D4004, ISO 2244 y ASTM D5277. Si comprendes la importancia de los ensayos de impacto para proteger tus mercancías durante su transporte y manipulación, te invitamos a conocer más sobre nuestras soluciones de simulación de transporte, donde podrás realizar los ensayos de carga de impacto y caída.

This translates into the reduction of unnecessary costs due to losses or damages that could be caused by such impacts. This is particularly relevant considering that it is estimated that up to 10% of goods shipments may end up being subject to a claim due to the arrival of the package in poor condition.

Testing methods to perform with the Drop Testing Machines

Drop testing machines are essential tools in the fields of engineering and quality control, used to assess the resilience and durability of products against impacts resulting from drops.

These tests are crucial for products that may be susceptible to drops during handling, transportation, or use. Below are some common drop-testing methods:

Free Drop Test:

  • Description: In this method, the object is dropped from a specific height to simulate a free fall. The drop height is selected based on the expected conditions of the product’s use and transportation.
  • Objective: To evaluate the product’s resistance to direct impacts from different heights.

Angle Drop Test:

  • Description: Here, the product is dropped so that it impacts the ground at a specific angle. This is useful for simulating drops that occur at non-standard angles.
  • Objective: To check how different angles of impact affect the product’s integrity.

Edge Drop Test:

  • Description: In this method, the product is oriented so that it falls onto a specific edge. This is particularly important for devices with vulnerable edges.
  • Objective: To evaluate the resistance of the product’s edges and corners.

Rotational Drop Test:

  • Description: The product is dropped in a way that it rotates during the fall, impacting the ground in various orientations.
  • Objective: To simulate more complex drops where the product may hit the ground in different positions.

Sequential Drop Test:

  • Description: Involves dropping the product several times in a row, often in different orientations.
  • Objective: To assess the product’s durability after multiple impacts.

Controlled Parameter Drop Test:

  • Description: Specific devices are used to control variables such as drop speed, impact angle, and impact surface.
  • Objective: To obtain more precise and reproducible results for detailed analysis.

Testing accessories for the innDrop machine

To more accurately replicate associated hazards, it is possible to use different accessories during the execution of drop tests. These accessories are available as additional options when purchasing the various models of drop testing machines developed by Safe Load Testing Technologies.

Our innDrop family products offer a range of possibilities and high precision

All our accessories are adaptable for any drop testing machine, regardless of manufacturer, allowing for accurate results when performing ISTA drop test protocols.

Support block: 

Support blocks are accessories used during drop tests, particularly in edge and corner scenarios, as found in the ISTA 6 Amazon SIOC test sequence and other ISTA tests.

These support blocks must comply with the apparatus sections of ASTM D6179 or ISO 2876 and have a height of approximately 3.5 to 4.0 inches (or 90 to 100 mm).

Additionally, they must be at least 8 inches (or 200 millimeters) longer than the package to be subjected to the test.


Concentrated impact gadget:

This is the tool placed in the drop testing machine to guide the fall of the impact mass that is dropped onto the package.

Concentrated impact mass:

This type of accessory is used in both free-fall and guided free-fall drop tests. (guided free-fall of impacting mass). These tests are fundamental to assess the strength and impact absorption capacity of materials and packaging.

Concentrated impact tube:

In this case, the drop test is conducted through a tube, through which the concentrated impact mass is released.

Dispositivo de impacto concentrado (Concentrated impact gadget)

Hazard box:

It involves a wooden box being dropped onto the package at the specified height indicated by the test. It is used to perform free-fall tests on the edge.

This type of accessory is used in the drop test procedures specified in ISTA-6-FedEx and UPS.

Cross section hazard block:

This accessory consists of a block on which the package is dropped. The dimensions and density of the block are specified in the corresponding test standards (ISTA-6-FedEx and UPS).

Rotational drop:

In this case, two support blocks measuring 200x100x50 are used, onto which the load is placed. During the test, the support blocks are quickly removed to allow it to fall.

Forklift circuit:

Simply, it can be described as sheets with circuits that simulate bumps through which a forklift truck passes. In this test, the forklift truck, loaded with the goods, must traverse the circuit a certain number of times.

The objective of this packaging test is to evaluate how the stability of the load is affected during transportation.

This test is part of the ISTA 3B testing protocol and is specified in the ASTM D6055 or ISO 10531 standards.

Drop Tester Accessories for drop testing

Box drop tests

The box drop testing method is used to simulate the impact experienced by a package when dropped from a specific height or when subjected to pushing forces during transportation. Its purpose is to identify potential weaknesses in the packaging and design a suitable one that can withstand such impacts.

Hazard drop testing

This is a type of drop test where the objective is to drop the sample onto a specific obstacle, either made of wood or metal and of varying sizes, instead of a flat surface. To perform this test, the accessories described earlier are used in conjunction with a drop testing apparatus.

This is a required test to meet the Amazon Ships In Own Container (SIOC) testing requirements, which is part of Amazon’s Frustration Free program.

UPS drop testing (ISTA 3A)

The UPS drop test is a procedure that simulates the falls that the merchandise may experience, to evaluate the effectiveness of the packaging in its protection. To carry out this test, a drop testing machine is used, such as our innDrop, which allows for simulating both vertical and rotational drops, adapting to the weight and specific characteristics of the merchandise.

The UPS drop test follows the requirements of the ISTA 3A protocol, which is globally recognized for packaging design and testing.

During the UPS testing procedure, a unit is randomly selected to undergo the test, ensuring a representative sample. This unit must be prepared for shipping so that the simulation closely resembles the actual conditions of transportation.

There are three important variables to consider during the UPS drop test:

  • the drop height
  • the position from which the package is dropped
  • the number of drop repetitions

These values are determined taking into account the type of product being transported and the route it will follow during its distribution cycle, considering aspects such as air or ground transportation, storage type, among others.


The FedEx drop test is one of the tests proposed by this company to simulate the potential damages that may occur during the package distribution cycle. In addition to the drop test, FedEx also conducts vibration and compression tests to ensure the integrity of the shipment.

The FedEx drop test procedure has specific requirements:

Firstly, the drop height from which the package is dropped varies depending on its weight. Additionally, the drop testing procedures for FedEx differ for domestic and international shipments. For international shipments, a second sequence of drops is performed after the vibration test. Additionally, a free-fall drop test is conducted in each of the possible orientations for the package’s fall.

Another important test is the concentrated impact test, which is performed using a drop test machine and a special box mentioned earlier called the “dense wooden box.” This box has dimensions of 12″x12″x12″ and is equipped with an iron angle on its bottom edge. It is filled with sand to reach the required weight of 21 pounds. During the concentrated impact test, the package is dropped from a height of 30″ onto the dense wooden box placed on a steel or cement base.

In addition, a bridge impact test is carried out using a drop tester and a box with the same characteristics as mentioned above. In this test, the package is dropped onto the box from two 4-inch blocks located at opposite ends of the longest dimension of the package and parallel to each other at the shorter edge of the package.

After conducting the tests, an inspection of the contents is carried out to verify that the package meets the established requirements.

Do you want to get additional information about the different drop machines and how to take advantage of their use to improve packaging design? At Safe Load Testing Technologies, we have over 20 years of experience in transportation simulation and we are available to provide you with advice. We invite you to get in touch with us to discuss how we can collaborate and assist you with your specific needs.


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