Although the problems in load stability are as old as the transport of goods itself, the concern to bring to a laboratory the way to simulate the acceleration forces present in the different types of transport (mainly terrestrial transport since it is the most aggressive in these forces), in order to be able to simulate these accelerations and the behaviors of the load against the forces previously mentioned, is relatively new. . This is why, new testing protocol are so important. As the recent stability testing protocol, designed to ensure de rigidity and safety of the loads, in order to prevent accidents on road. 

The European Commission indicates that 25% of truck accidents are due to a poor burden-holding, which implies very large numbers in terms of material and, above all, personal damage, something that the European Commission is determined to reduce to a minimum possible as it appears indicated in its zero road fatalities objective for 2050.

25% of truck accidents are due to a poor burden-holding

Moved by this great concern, they decided to adopt the method EUMOS 40509 of the association EUMOS, dedicated to the rigidity of the load, as a valid method to measure the stability of the load. For that reason, they included this testing method in the directive 2014/47 that all member countries transposed into their national legislation and that entered into force last May 2018.

Continue learning: Maximize cargo securing during transport with EUMOS 40509

Which regulations and laws include product stability testing

EUMOS 40509 is the only method that is globally accepted as a valid method for measuring load stability during transport and is currently used  not only in Europe but it is employed by companies in all continents. There are private companies that carry out their own load stability tests, not on the basis of any standard known today but on their own assumptions.

Until the creation of this normative, the only type of stability tests were based on tilting the load to a certain degree, simulating the horizontal accelerations suffered by the load. It should be noted that, in this case, we would be talking about a static test, meaning the behavior of the load is completely different. However, it was recognized as a useful method since there wasn’t any other standard and/or better technology.

Among the tests that some companies are performing, the most widespread one is an impact test on an inclined plane team.  These machines have a carriage that moves on a ramp of 10° of slope until finally impacting against a surface bigger than the load. The stability test performed in this type of equipment consists in introducing an element that allows the load to carry out the descent without being inclined itself. In this case, it is this element that suffers the impact and not directly the load. The problem with these tests is, as their name suggests, that they are impact tests that obtain impact curves and not acceleration ones.

Continue reading: What is an incline impact tester and what is it used for?

Stability testing protocol: how to develop it step by step

To perform a test using the EUMOS 40509 method, you must have a team that is able to horizontally accelerate or decelerate the load. In our case, we have the innSlide family, capable of carrying out horizontal accelerations up to 1.6g.

  • Firstly, the load must be placed in the horizontal stability machine carriage in the direction in which it is to be tested. Once the load is in place, the desired test will be selected: acceleration or deceleration.

It is important to know that the test must be recorded with a high speed video camera with a minimum of 80 frames per second.

  • Secondly, the load will be accelerated or decelerated by the machine for at least 300 ms which will produce a deformation on it during the course of the test, which we will call elastic deformation.

Thanks to the stretch film plastic properties, the load will try to recover, to some extent, its initial situation. The difference between the initial position of the load and the situation at the end of the test is the so called permanent or static deformation.

The reason for the duration of 300 ms and no more (if we attend to what actually happens during transportation, the accelerations sustained are maintained for longer times) has a mathematical and physical explanation.

The part that suffers the most this type of accelerations is the stretch film, which covers the load and supports it and that is a plastic element and, as such, is sensitive to deformation, which in the case of transportation is due to acceleration changes and not to the acceleration per se. Thus, accelerations maintained for longer than 300 ms will produce the same deformation in the stretch film and, therefore, in the load.

  • In order to consider the test valid, that is to say, that the load is rigid or stable enough to overcome the selected acceleration or deceleration, the elastic deformation must not exceed 10% of the load height nor exceed 5% of the height in the permanent or static deformation.

What is stability testing on packaging transport

Goals of the stability studies

The stability test methods have a triple objective:

  • To increase road safety by better load stability, avoiding, this way, numerous accidents during transportation due to a fall of the elements of a load.
  • Cost optimization. Packaging material optimization not only concerns the cost of the raw materials in question. Reducing the number of losses due to product falls or damage during transport or handling is also indicative of this packaging optimization. A holistic vision when designing the product + packaging is very important. It should be taken into account that the product + packaging will be transported and there will be more and more different channels for distribution. Optimizing the packaging for the product and the distribution channel used allows for a drastic optimization of the costs.
  • Sustainability. Thanks to the optimization in the use of materials, we can help the environment and we contribute in a positive way to take care of our planet.

The issue with load stability is common to all kind of manufacturers, distributors or consumers and, to this day, that inmediancy is not only important but even something assumed and expected, the fact of not receiving the merchandise because of problems during the transportation it is, in many cases, terrible for the company since the consumer will quickly choose another brand that is able to meet their needs, as mentioned previously, almost immediately.

Safe Load TT technology for stability testing : your best partner

Currently, there are multiple cases of success and from Safe Load TT we have helped many companies with this triple objective thanks to our help with the different services and solutions that we offer.

A particularly interesting case was that of a cosmetics company that wanted to improve the safety during transport due to the numerous losses they suffered at that moment with their product + packaging + bailing combination. In addition, knowing that they had to invest in new bailing lines, they also wanted to know what kind of investment was viable for them.

Safe Load TT horizontal acceleration innSlide equipment was used to perform stability tests in their solution at the time, proving that the problem was the load’s low stability meaning a small acceleration or slowdown during the transportation meant the drop of the load.

The following tests were performed next by trying different options: keeping the current bailing and stretch film equipment and different stretch film combinations and new baling equipment.

The idea of not investing in new baling equipment was quickly discarded since not doing it meant a stretch film cost 5 times higher per unit of bailing (pallet) than other solutions that included an improvement in bailing lines and stretch film change.

The interesting thing about this case is that, as we can see, the methods of stability can help us not only to optimize costs in packing material, to improve road safety and to be more sustainable but it can even be used to know if it is advisable to make an investment in other aspects as, in this case, the improvement in the lines of bailing.

Undoubtedly, stability testing is a good tool for finding solutions to many of the problems that may be affecting your load. In addition to optimizing your packaging and saving costs, it can also help you find a way to be more competitive in a constantly changing market in which product quality and speed to reach customers are the strengths of a company.

If your company is seeking to improve the stability of its loads, as well as optimizing your product + packaging system, please contact us and let’s start working together.


eumos guide