Globalization has allowed any product to travel from one part of the world to the other to cover the demand. For this, the logistics sector has had to develop more efficient ways to transport the goods and the companies have had to modify the way they package and protect their products that are now subject to greater risks. Throughout the distribution cycle, the goods are exposed to different risks, such as vibrations, impacts, drops, adverse atmospheric conditions, etc. In light of this, there are a series of international organizations that establish shipping test standards.
Between the organization in charge of develops testing protocols it´s found the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA), a nonprofit organization focused on the specific concerns of packaging along the distribution cycle. ISTA develops testing protocols and designs standards such as ISTA drop test that define how packages should perform to ensure the protection of their contents during the ever-changing risks of the global distribution environment.
What is ISTA drop test?
ISTA drop test is a series of tests to be performed in some ISTA procedures inside the category of shock test. Drop tests simulate the drops and rotational impacts that packages may experience during shipping and handling. Each testing protocol includes different tests to be performed. Among ISTA packaging testing protocols it´s found the ISTA drop test standard.
These tests allow for the calculation of damages that a package’s corners, edges and surfaces may suffer, as well as knowing how to it could affect the product inside the packaging.
Drop tests are only a part of some of the ISTA protocols, which in turn are also grouped into what ISTA calls a Series.
- ISTA 1 Series: Non-Simulation Integrity Performance Tests. Challenge the strength and robustness of the product and package combination. Not designed to simulate environmental occurrences. Useful as screening tests, particularly when used as a consistent benchmark over time.
- ISTA 2 Series: Partial Simulation Performance Tests. Tests with at least one element of a 3 Series type General Simulation performance test, such as atmospheric conditioning or mode-shaped random vibration, in addition to basic elements of a 1 Series type Non-Simulation Integrity test.
- ISTA 3 Series: General Simulation Performance Tests. Designed to provide a laboratory simulation of the damage-producing motions, forces, conditions, and sequences of transport environments. Applicable across broad sets of circumstances, such as a variety of vehicle types and routes, or a varying number of handling exposures. Characteristics will include simple shaped random vibration, different drop heights applied to the sample package, and/or atmospheric conditioning such as tropical wet or winter/frozen.
- ISTA 4 Series: Enhanced Simulation Performance Tests. General Simulation test with at least one element of focused simulation, such as test sequence or condition linked to actually known distribution.
- ISTA 6 Series: Member Performance Tests. Test protocols created by ISTA members to meet their particular purposes and applications. The tests may be completely original or maybe modifications or variations of ISTA Procedures or Projects or other published and accepted tests. ISTA reviews and approves these tests, but the primary responsibility rests with the originating members.
ISTA series that include drop test standards
> Procedure ISTA 1A:
Test procedure 1A covers testing of individually packaged products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or less when prepared for shipment. Between the test to be performed is the ISTA 1a drop test. This is a shock test and can be carried out with a Free fall Drop Tester. Furthermore, ISTA accepts to use other equipment, like a Shock test machine, an Inclined Impact Tester or a Horizontal impact test system, and it is in compliance with the apparatus section of ASTM D5276.
> Procedure ISTA 1B:
This test covers testing of individuals-products weighing more than 150 lb (68 kg) when prepared for shipment. As in ISTA 1A, this procedure also includes a shock test that could be performed using a drop tester. This test has to be performed after the Atmospheric Preconditioning and the Vibration test and includes two tests:
- Drop test: 6 in (150 mm)
- Rotational Edge Drop: 8 in (200 mm)
In both cases, the drop height and impact velocity have to be determined before being the shock testing.
> Procedure ISTA 1C:
Test procedure 1C also covers testing of individual packaged products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less prepared for shipment. The test sequence for procedure 1C requires temperature and humidity preconditioning, a compression test, a vibration test (fixed displacement and random), and finally a shock-drop test. ISTA 1C drop test establishes a sequence depending on the orientation of the drop (corner, edge, or face) and the specific face, edge or corner to be tested.
To perform this test can use a Free fall drop tester, a shock test machine, an inclined impact tester or a horizontal impact test system.
All these equipment can be found at Safe Load TT portfolio
> Procedure ISTA 1D:
Test procedure 1D covers testing of individual packaged products weighing more than 150 lb (68 kg) when prepared for shipment. Like in the other procedures, ISTA 1D includes a shock test to be performed with other tests.
Shock test category includes two drop tests:
- Drop test: 6 in (150 mm)
- Rotational Edge Drop: 8 in (200 mm)
Both tests could be performed with a Free fall drop tester following the sequence determined by ISTA regarding the orientation (face) and the specific face of the packaged product that should be tested.
> Procedure ISTA 1G:
Procedure 1G covers testing of individual packaged products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or less prepared for shipment, like procedure 1A. The difference between both procedures resides in the vibration test type, but all the sequence and the test are the same, including ISTA 1G drop test.
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> Serie 2: 2A, 2B, 2C
These test procedures cover testing of individually packaged products according to their weight:
- Procedure ISTA 2A covers testing individually packaged products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or less when prepared for shipment.
- Procedure ISTA 2B is designed for testing individually packaged products weighing 150 lb (68 kg).
- Procedures ISTA 2C includes testing of individual packaged products of furniture (case goods) for shipment.
All these procedures require atmospheric preconditioning to perform the several tests includes in each sequence. These sequences include a compression test, a vibration test, a shock test that could be a drop test, and other vibration tests.
All drop tests describer on the procedures ISTA 2 could be performed with a Free Fall Drop Tester.
- In ISTA 2A drop test height varies with package-product weight and
- For ISTA 2B drop test, the test level determinate 6 in (150 mm)
- In the case of ISTA 2C drop test, height of the drop varies for package-product weight (and Distribution channel).
- less than 50 lb (23 kg),
- 50 lb (23 kg) to 100 lb (45 kg) and
- greater than 100 lb (45 kg).
> Serie 3: 3A, 3B, 3E, 3F, 3H, 3K
- Procedure 3A: Parcel Delivery System Shipments 150 lb (70kg) or LEss
- Procedure 3B: Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Shipment
- Procedure 3E: Similar Packaged-Products in Unitized Loads for Truckload Shipment
- Procedure 3F: Distribution Center to Retail Outlet Shipment 100 ln (45kg)
- Procedure 3H: Mechanically Handled Bulk Transport Containers
- Project 3K: Fast Moving Consumer Goods for the European Retail Supply Chain
> Serie 6: AMAZON.COM-SIOC, 6-FEDEX
- Project 6-AMAZON-COM-SIOC: Ships in Own Container (SIOC) for Amazon.com Distribution System Shipment
- 6-FEDEX-A: FedEx Procedures for Testing Packaged Products Weighing Up to 150 lbs.
- 6-FEDEX-B: FedEx Procedures for Testing Packaged Products Weighing Over 150 lbs.
ISTA drop test procedure: how to perform it
There are different factors that will determine which ISTA test procedure has to be done:
- the type of packaging; individual packages, unitized or bulk.
- the size of the package;
- the weight of the package-product (only for individual packages):
- Up to 150 lb (68 kg)
- Over 150 lb (68 kg)
- and the distribution type.
These factors will determine the way to perform all the tests, including the ISTA drop tests.
There are two tests that are commonly used for package product testing:
- Freefall drop test usually involves dropping the unit in various orientations from heights based on the product weight.
- Impact test that involves the use of a dense hazard box, with one bottom edge covered by angle iron, to drop onto the test package.
Packaging drop test machines: features and technology
There are different models of Drop Testers in the market. The function of the drop tester is to simulate drops and rotational drops that packages may experience during the distribution cycle.
Thanks to packaging drop tests it is possible to evaluate the product that is being transported and optimize it so that it guarantees the safety of the load. That is why ISTA includes packaging drop test machines among the equipment that can be used to perform shock tests. The equipment proposed for ISTA to perform a shock test are:
Packaging drop tests allows to evaluate the product that is being transported, and optimize it so that it guarantees the safety of the load.
The solutions of Safe Load Testing Technologies to perform ISTA Drop test includes 4 models according to the volume and the load weight:
- Model SF-DP1200 is designed to perform tests with products of up to 1500mm (59 in.) in size, weighing up to 1,200kg (2,646 lb.) and at a maximum height of 2000mm (78 ¾ in.).
- Model SF-DP600 can perform tests on packages of up to 600kg (1,323 lb.), with a maximum drop of 1200mm (47 ¼ in.) and a package 1000mm (39.37 in.) in size.
- Model SF-DP200 can be used to perform tests on packages of up to 200kg (441 lb.), a maximum height of 1200mm (47 ¼ in.) and a maximum package size of 800mm (31 ½ in.).
- Lastly, model SF-DP100 is designed to perform tests with the smallest packages: up to 100kg (220 lb.) at a maximum height of 1200mm (47 ¼ in.) and maximum package size of 800mm (31 ½ in.).
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Companies from various sectors (packaging, e-commerce and hygiene products, among others) have already trusted Safe Load Testing Technologies for their equipment to perform ISTA drop test and other procedures. If you need more information about the ISTA drop tests and the machinery required to perform these tests, get in touch with us and we will provide information on the subject.