Certain distribution cycles are characterized by presenting continuous challenges for the safety of the goods. Among the major hazards we can find the vibrations caused by the different means of transportation (land, sea and air). Knowing how to test your packaging for vibrations and applying this information to the design of the package allows you to protect your goods, saving on unnecessary costs and eliminating obstacles to trade. 


What can you find out through a transportation vibration test?

Transportation vibration tests can be used to determine the protective ability of the package when faced with the vibrations that take place during the distribution cycle. 

Through the use of specialized machinery, tests are performed in a laboratory setting that show how the package and goods react to different types of vibrations that they will endure during their shipping & handling. 

Vibration testers are part of a family of transport simulation testing machines that can be added to a laboratory for this purpose.

While during the first few transport simulations decades ago they simply tested for the results of drops and shocks, it was later found that vibrations (perturbations or oscillations experienced by an object without altering its position or moving) also affect the cargo being transported.

Transportation vibration testers must use the most advanced and precise technology, since the motions —such as road vibrations— are particularly complex and present different amplitudes and frequencies that are constantly changing. 

Only by performing tests is it possible to design an optimized packaging that is prepared to protect the goods in the distribution cycle environment.


Transportation Vibration Measurement: how to test for vibrations

Vibration testing has evolved non-stop during recent years: from using a hardly accurate technology to allowing for a deep analysis of the way in which packaging reacts to vibrations. 

It is therefore advisable to know all the available options and choose the one that is better suited to the needs of each company or type of good. 

Different tests available

  1. The vertical vibration test simulates the vertical vibrations experienced by the load during handling and transportation via road, rail, air or sea. 

Researching this transportation phenomenon we can conclude that vibrations can be characterized based on:

    • The type of transportation used to distribute the goods: land, air, sea;
    • The type of vehicle used for their transportation: airplane, truck, bicycle, etc.;
    • The type of road and its quality;
    • Speed.

Vertical vibration tests generate random vibrations that mimic the vibration profile of the vehicle and defined route. By simulating these vibrations in a way that is comparable, one can verify whether the package can withstand these motions, protect the goods and is optimized.

  1. Vibration + pitch & roll testing allows for the addition of the pitch and roll motions that take place during transportation. 

While during vertical vibration tests only one axis moves, the vertical + pitch & roll test takes into account that, during transportation, there are certain motions that go beyond one single direction. In this way, a multi-axis vibration is added, which allows for more realistic simulations and tests that were not possible before. 

By performing a comparative analysis between these two types of tests, we can see that the vertical vibration test can be important in electronic component rigidity tests, which the vibration + pitch & roll test offers a simulation that is closer to the real circumstances of the distribution cycle.  

Necessary equipment

Nowadays, when faced with the issue of how to test for vibrations in a way that is compliant with international standards and is highly precise and effective, the answer is using 3 machines: 

innRecord. This is a recording device that monitors and records the hazards experienced by the load during the distribution cycle, including axial and angular vibrations. 

When installed on the selected means of transportation during the traversal of the target route, the Data Recorder can store, and then reproduce in vibration testers, the actual transportation conditions experienced by the packaging. 

Vertical vibration tester. A testing machine that consists of a table in different sizes (tailored to the goods being tested), with a servo-hydraulic vibration system, capable of reproducing PSD recordings. Includes Real Vibrations, an intuitive and advanced control software. 

The various models offered by Safe Load TT allow for a frequency range of up to 300 Hz, an acceleration of 3.9 g and can handle packages of up to 1,800 kg / 4,000 lb. 

Pitch & Roll Module.  This is a solution patented by Safe Load that adds pitch and roll motions, so demanded by the scientific community. This can provide a simulation that is closer to real transportation conditions and motions, which were impossible to perform in single-axis machines. 

The Pitch & Roll module can be easily installed by our technicians on any existing vertical vibration table, transforming a basic technology into an innovative three-axis (vertical, pitch and roll) vibration table. 

This converts it into a more inexpensive system than a complete Pitch & Roll vibration machine, since it does not require an extra base or seismic mass, with a completely independent module controller and a designed tailored to the vertical vibration that has been already acquired in the past.  


Some of the most important international industry standards include vibration testing among their provisions. 

These include: 

EN 15552:2008 Packaging: Complete, filled transport packages and unit loads. Performance: testing schedules for common distribution chains.

ASTM D4169-16 Standard practice for performance testing of shipping containers and systems.

ISTA Procedures 1A, B, C, D, E, G, H; 2A, B, C; 3A, B, E, F, H, K; 4 Series; 6-FEDEX; 6-SAMSCLUB, 6-AMAZON.COM.

Do you want to know more about how to test for vibrations and which machine is better suited to your needs?

At Safe Load TT our track record of two decades in the industry guarantee our expertise. 

We know that optimizing your packaging through the use of simulation equipment allows you to protect the load and obtain significant savings. Which is why we are committed to finding the testing machines that are right for your company, the products that you transport and the route that they will follow. 


Get in touch with us and we will help you find the vibration testing machines that are better tailored to your needs.