Skip to main content

Drop testing is a vital evaluation technique used to determine the robustness of packaging under conditions that mimic the stresses and impacts experienced during transit, handling, and storage. The goal of this testing is to ensure that packaging can protect its contents from damage, ultimately maintaining product integrity and customer satisfaction.

Standards and procedures for drop testing: leading standards for drop testing

To ensure consistency and reliability in drop testing, several standards have been established by reputable organizations. These standards provide guidelines on how to conduct drop tests, including specifics on drop heights, surfaces, and evaluation criteria.

Drop Testers Machines FAQ Guide

Military and Shipping Standards

Packaging and drop testing protocols, including military standards equipment drop test guidelines, offer comprehensive frameworks to safeguard materials, products, and equipment throughout transport, handling, and storage processes.

In the realm of military logistics and commercial shipping, the implementation of these military standards equipment drop test protocols is essential. They ensure the packaging’s resilience significantly influences the operational efficiency and readiness of military assets, alongside guaranteeing that commercial products are delivered intact to their destinations.

Key Features of MIL-STD Packaging:

Rigidity and durability: Packaging must withstand physical shocks, vibrations, and compression forces that could occur during transportation or storage.
Environmental protection: Packages are designed to protect against environmental factors such as moisture, dust, and other contaminants that could degrade the equipment.
Standardization: Allows for the uniform packaging of materials, facilitating easier handling, storage, and transportation.

Military and shipping drop standards

  • MIL-STD-810: Test methods for evaluating equipment responses to environmental extremes.
  • MIL-STD-202: Test methods for electronic and electrical parts to ensure performance under military conditions.

Standards and procedures for drop testing: ASTM and ISTA Regulations

Drop testing is a crucial evaluation method used to assess the durability and protective capabilities of packaging materials and designs. It simulates the impacts packaging might encounter during handling, shipping, and storage, ensuring that products can withstand the rigors of their journey and reach consumers undamaged. Two leading organizations that set the standards and procedures for drop testing are ASTM International and the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA). Both bodies provide comprehensive guidelines to ensure consistent and reliable testing outcomes.

ISTA Standards

The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) specializes in creating and publishing standards that ensure the safe transit of goods across the globe. ISTA’s protocols are widely recognized and adopted by manufacturers, packaging designers, and logistics companies. They offer a variety of test procedures, including several specifically focused on drop testing.

  • ISTA 1 Series: Non-simulation integrity tests that evaluate packaging’s ability to withstand impacts, compression, and vibration.
  • ISTA 2 Series: Combined simulation tests for transit that include controlled atmosphere and physical strength tests.
  • ISTA 3 Series: Simulation tests for individual and palletized packages shipped through common carrier delivery systems.
  • ISTA 4 Series: Project-specific advanced simulation test procedures for products and packaging in their anticipated transport environments.
  • ISTA 6-Series: Developed in partnership with Amazon to simulate package delivery through Amazon’s distribution network.

ASTM Standards

  • ASTM D5276: This standard specifies the method for conducting drop tests on loaded boxes, containers, and cylinders. It outlines how the test should be performed, including the height from which packages should be dropped, based on their weight.
  • ASTM D4169: Standard practice for performance testing of shipping containers and systems.

Why following standard testing methods is important?

Standard testing methods for drop testing are crucial for assessing the robustness and effectiveness of packaging designs. These methods simulate real-world drops and impacts to ensure that products can endure the typical stresses they might encounter. The procedures involve systematically dropping the packaged product from a specified height onto a hard surface in various orientations, and then evaluating the package and product for damage.

The check drop method plays a key role in meeting the drop test standards for packaging, ensuring products are durable enough for transport and handling. By following packaging drop test standards, this method helps companies evaluate and improve their packaging’s impact resistance, aligning with industry benchmarks for safety and reliability.

Key components of drop testing procedures

Performance testing: Shipping standards often include performance testing protocols, such as drop tests, to simulate conditions that packages might encounter during transit.
Material specifications: Guidelines on the types of materials that should be used for different kinds of packaging, taking into account the weight, size, and fragility of the contents.
Labeling and marking: Proper labeling and marking requirements are specified to ensure that packages are handled appropriately throughout the shipping proces.
  • Preparation of test sample: The product is packaged exactly as it would be for shipment, including all internal and external packaging materials.
  • Selection of drop heights: The drop height is determined based on industry standards, the type of product, and its shipping environment. Standards like ASTM D5276 and ISTA protocols provide guidelines for selecting appropriate drop heights.
  • Drop Orientation: The package is dropped in specific orientations to test its strength from various angles. Common orientations include flat on each face, on edges, and corners.
  • Conducting the Drop Test: A drop testing machine or a free-fall method is used to ensure precise and repeatable drops. The method of dropping (manual or mechanical) should align with the standard being followed.
  • Inspection and Evaluation: After the drop test, the package and product are inspected for any signs of damage. The criteria for passing or failing the test are based on the specific requirements outlined in the testing standard.
  • Documentation: Detailed records of the test, including conditions, drop heights, orientations, and the outcome, are maintained for analysis and future reference.


We put our knowledge in packaging engineering, transport simulation, tests and regulations at your disposal so that you can apply it to your project

Request help from our experts

Our team will help you solve any doubt

Do you want to start a project with us?

We help you with the necessary first steps

Want to contact us?

We would like to meet you and learn more about your project