What is impact testing?
Impact testing is used to analyze the resistance of a material. The test involves looking at the material when it experiences a shock that causes the sample to fracture, deform, or break.
Impact testing is used to study the hardness of a materials; in other words, how it behaves when it experiences an impact and its ability to absorb energy during plastic deformation. As such, impact testing is used to determine the fragility of a material based on the degree of plastic deformation that it can withstand without breaking.
Types of impact testing
The three most frequent types of tests are:
- Drop testing: this is one of the most commonly applied tests in the transport simulation industry, and it can be used to know how vertical and rotational drops will affect the integrity of the package and the products within.
These tests are performed using drop testers that are especially designed to simulate flat, edge or corner drops using the latest in testing technology combined with a modern design. The choice of drop tester will depend on the size and weight of the package that you want to test.
- Inclined and horizontal impact testing: the purpose of this process is to simulate the prevailing shocks and impacts that affect the safety and stability of a load.
These impacts can be simulated by means of an inclined impact test, where the load to be tested is placed on a dolly that travels on a surface that is sloped at 10°, ultimately impacting the impact surface. For the horizontal impact test, the load is placed on the dolly and accelerated in a controlled manner until it strikes the high-rigidity impact surface.
Horizontal impact tests can also be performed using a horizontal impact tester, which enables impacts to be controlled and for how the load behaves to be analyzed, leading to economic savings for companies.
The three tests determine the same characteristics and differ in the orientation of the test sample.
Purpose of impact testing
The purpose is to determine the material’s ability to absorb impact energy. This energy determines the tenacity, the resistance and its characteristics.
Why is impact testing important?
The impact simulation tests are very important to check the resistance of the goods to these possible impacts that might occur during the distribution process.
To carry out these simulation tests, the load is subjected to different tests, such as dropping the goods from a certain height, placing the load on a cart and making it collide or leaving it fixed and crash into a mobile part.
Safe Load Testing Technologies has developed two machines that perform impact tests: inclined impact tester and horizontal impact tester. Both simulate the horizontal shocks that affects stability and safety of the load, produced by various means of handling and transportation. Although the testing procedure is different, the purpose of both machines is to predict the damages that goods may suffer during the transport and thus avoid losses and reduce costs.
Inclined Impact Tester installed in a Technological Institute of Packaging, Transport and Logistics.
An impact simulation must meet with these regulations
> ASTM D880: Standard Test Method for Impact Testing for Shipping Containers and Systems. This testing standard includes two methods to perform the impact testing on loaded containers and palletized unit loads.
> ASTM D4003: Standard Test Methods for Programmable Horizontal Impact Test for Shipping Containers and Systems. The testing methods included in this standard measure the ability of a package to withstand horizontal impact forces. Rail Switching and Pallet Marshalling Impact Tests are also included.
> ISO 2244: Complete, filled transport packages and unit loads — Horizontal impact tests. This international package testing standard outlines impact methods on a ready-to-ship unit load sample. It is presented both as a single test and as a sequence.
> ASTM D5277 Standard Test Method for Performing Programmed Horizontal Impacts Using an Inclined Impact Tester. 4.1 By following this method, it is possible to compare how different configurations and samples react, and observe the progressive failure of a system.
Benefits of performing an impact test:
> Reduce waste during the distribution process: through impact testing, companies access information that is necessary to optimize the packaging that protects a load. In this way, it is possible to avoid over-packaging, designing solutions that generate less waste and, in turn, testing new eco-friendly materials to find more sustainable packaging solutions.
Some examples include Stretch film manufactured using non-oil based resins; reusable bags, packages or pallets; recyclable corrugated cardboard used to divide the contents of the packaging and inflatable biodegradable pouches, among others. In addition, companies are investing in R&D to find new packaging materials en widen the sector’s possibilities, addressing consumers’ concerns, who increasingly demand more environmentally-friendly products.
Thanks to impact tests and other testing protocols, any company wishing to incorporate these new materials to the design of their packaging can test their protective ability under laboratory conditions before deploying their products to the real distribution cycle.
> Reduce the economic cost: the information offered by impact testing makes it easier to achieve economic savings in at least two fronts: on one hand, it avoids shrinkages during the distribution cycle resulting from a poor packaging; on the other, it enables packaging to be made lighter and to use less material so as to achieve a more efficient and economical transportation.
> More rigorous analysis about the risks that the goods or their packaging may suffer: thanks to impact testing simulation machines, accurate and reliable data can be obtained in relation to the fragility of a load and the types of impacts that it can withstand. The company does not leave the protection of its products to chance, but rather thoroughly studies the types of contingencies that might endanger them and is capable of acting with foresight and knowledge.
In Safe Load we designed innovative packaging testing solutions to simulate the forces suffered by the loads during the distribution cycle. If you want more information about how can optimization packaging for your business, contact us. We create technology adapted to your needs.