Freight can be threatened by a number of hazards while en-route: anything from vibrations, to shock or extreme weather. Shipping simulation allows for a package’s resistance to these threats to be predicted in order to guarantee that the product will arrive safe and sound to its destination.
What are shipping simulations and what types are there?
Performing a shipping simulation means testing a package and its various configurations in order to guarantee that it will be able to withstand the real transportation conditions and potential hazards.
Shipping simulation testing, therefore, involves testing transportation settings in laboratory conditions through the use of purpose-designed equipment.
The simulation is usually performed using representative samples of the product+package system configuration to be transported. This allows for a package testing that guarantees reliable and realistic results.
Consequently, shipping simulation studies not only the protective ability of a package, but also how it interacts with the product.
It provides companies with valuable information to design effective packaging systems that ensure that a product is protected, or to correct possible errors that lead to economic losses due to shrinkage and/or accidents.
The main packaging testing methods include:
A drop test consists of simulating the vertical drops and rotational impacts that might take place during the distribution cycle, and which threaten the integrity of the product.
To accomplish this, there are machines such as the Drop Tester, which is a system that can simulate these impacts, including edge and corner drops.
Vibration forces are among the transportation hazards that might endanger a load. Vibration tests are among the most common shipping simulations as a result.
A vertical vibration system allows for the simulation of vertical vibrations, testing the product+packaging system. It is also possible to add a Pitch&Roll module that offers simulations that are closer to real transportation conditions by mimicking the pitch and roll motions.
A compression test is used to test the protective ability of a package against these forces, which are commonly experienced during transportation and storage when stacked.
By using a Compression tester, it is possible to know how a package reacts to compression forces, and to perform the creep test.
Impacts are also commonly experienced during transportation under real conditions. Thanks to inclined and horizontal impact simulation machines, companies can predict the effect of impacts on their products and design a package that is capable of protecting them.
Horizontal stability test
A horizontal stability test simulates the accelerations and decelerations that might endanger the loads, which commonly take place during road transportation, through the use of a horizontal stability tester.
Extreme temperatures, humidity and other environmental conditions might endanger a package and the product inside it. In order to predict how they react to different environmental conditions, it is possible to perform the tests in environmental chambers.
Benefits of shipping simulation
Shipping simulation allows the packaging to be studied in-depth in order to guarantee that it will protect the load, while ensuring that it is economically efficient for the company.
In line with this, it is possible to research the use of different materials and packaging material amounts required for a specific load, in a way that leads to lower costs without endangering the product that is being transported.
Complying with standards
Ship testing is included in a series of national and international standards that aim to guarantee safe and quality transportation.
Some examples of such standards are Directive 2014/47/EU on load stability and the United States’ FDA regulations on medical packaging. In this case, shipping simulation does not only allow standards to be complied with, but also to do so in the fastest and most effective manner. This ensures that the load is being transported in a safe manner, avoiding economic losses due to shrinkage and accidents, as well as avoiding fines due to and inadequate cargo stowage.
Shipping simulation testing standards
These standards define which package testing methods must be performed to guarantee the safety of specific products or types of packaging.
By subjecting different samples to these testing standards it is possible to get certified by different organizations, such as ASTM or ISTA.
This results in uniform, controlled and repeatable criteria for the packages and loads that will be subjected to the hazards of the distribution cycle.
The main shipping simulation testing standards include:
- ISTA testing (International Safe Transit Association), which proposes 7 families of standards, including the ISTA 6-Amazon standard
- ASTM, an international organization that promotes and publishes voluntary agreements on technical standards for various products, services and systems, including packaging.
- ISO packaging
Complying with these testing standards requires having shipping simulation machines that are suitable both for the standards and for the type of load to be transported.
At Safe Load Testing Technology we help companies perform the necessary packaging testing to optimize costs and comply with the corresponding standards through the implementation of our transport simulation equipment. With a track record of two decades in the shipping simulation industry, we offer you our know-how to provide increasingly accurate solutions that more closely reflect real conditions.
Do you want to know more about shipping simulation testing and how it can help you optimize your packaging? Contact us and let’s talk about how we can help you.