Globalization and the spread of electronic commerce have resulted in an unstoppable rise in the volume of goods being transported around the world. 

Other factors, like COVID-19, have led many companies to modify their business model, turning to online sales or expanding the delivery of their products internationally, which has caused the transportation of goods to grow exponentially during the last few months. This results in more trucks or ships transporting goods, and therefore, more expenses due to shrinkage or accidents linked to the distribution cycle. 

It is for this reason that the many packaging testing methods in existence have become even more important in helping companies minimize the risk of damage to their goods during transportation, storage and delivery. 

Learn about the shipping tests currently in existence and which to apply based on the product and distribution cycle that it will follow. 

 

Why should packaging testing methods be applied?

During the distribution cycle, goods face a series of hazards that endanger their integrity, which may range from drops to vibrations and impacts, among others. 

Many companies underestimate (or are unaware of) the cost of damaged goods during transportation. The numbers offer a clear view of the risks of failing to adequately protect the load: 34% of returns take place because the product has been damaged during transportation, according to Amcor.

This number translates into two economic consequences: on one hand, the economic cost significantly increases by having to pick up the damaged product, replace it, and redeliver it. On the other, there is a reputational cost for the company, which risks losing the client’s trust and, therefore, see its sales decrease. Both problems may become even more serious when it comes to food or pharmaceutical packaging

Packaging testing methods are available to companies as a way to lessen the effects of the distribution cycle over the goods. Through package testing, it is possible to optimize the packages for the distribution cycle that they will undergo, additionally offering other advantages, like the generation of a sustainable packaging that is also economically effective.

 

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What packaging testing methods are there?

Atmospheric conditioning

Atmospheric conditioning forecasts how factors such as humidity and temperature will affect the package and the goods inside it. It takes into consideration the atmospheric conditions at the location where it is packaged, the transportation route (altitude changes in air transport, damage due to moisture in maritime transport, etc.) and the final market. 

It is applied to cartons and packages that might be affected as a result of atmospheric changes, especially for cellulose-based components. 

Piercing resistance

This is one of the essential packaging testing methods for corrugated boxes or packing cardboard. This test can be used to simulate collisions that normally take place during the distribution cycle in order to evaluate the package’s ability to withstand them.

Vibration test

Means of transportation such as trucks are particularly aggressive for goods since the vibrations that they generate can affect the load, the package or its seals. This is why, by using vibration simulation machines it is possible to simulate the distribution cycle of the goods in order to determine the protective ability of the selected system. 

 

Discover the standards that apply to vibration testing in order to perform it successfully

 

Drop test

It is estimated that a package is dropped up to 17 times during the distribution cycle, according to figures published by Marketplace. The package drop test and drop test standards such as ASTM D5276 are aimed at preventing these situations and designing suitable packaging.

Compression test

In this case, the goal is to simulate a package’s ability to withstand external compression forces that might affect the shape of the package, its edges or the products inside it. 

A Compression Tester is used for this purpose, and it is recommended to apply it on products such as boxes or containers that will be stacked during their transportation or storage. 

Impact test

Both horizontal and incline impact simulation machines simulate the damages suffered by a load when subjected to different types of shock (caused, for example, by sudden braking or collisions). They are mainly applied to loaded shipping containers, bags and drums.

Tilt test

The tilt test enables companies to know the resistance of their packaging systems to inclinations that may lead the goods to fall or shift. In order to perform this test, the load is tilted in a controlled manner using a tilt testing tool, thereby simulating the consequences of this motion over the stability of the load.

In addition to the above, there are a myriad of packaging testing and material testing methods on the market whose purpose is to determine how the product + package systems can withstand the various hazards posed by the distribution cycle. These include pressure drop testing (essential for air transport), folding tests, break resistance tests, toxin tests, moisture absorption, and corrosion testing, among others. 

It is essential to count with the advice of experts that can study which packaging testing methods are necessarily based on the product being transported and the route that it will follow, while also taking into account the economic needs of the company and the sustainability of the package. 

Do you want to design a safe packaging? At Safe Load Testing Technologies we offer companies our transport simulation solutions so that they can design and test their packaging systems based on their distribution cycle. Contact us and let’s talk about how we can help you. 

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