This procedure has been designed to provide a standard set of tests to understand individual package / product performance when shipped through small parcel services such as UPS, FedEx or the US Postal System (for example). The procedures have been designed to help simulate package handling for both ground and air services for 4 different categories of small packages (definitions below) including standard, small, flat and elongated packaged products. 

Test Details

Packages will be subjected to the following tests (in order):

Standard & Small packaged products

  1. Atmospheric preconditioning with ambient temperature and humidity
  2. Atmospheric conditioning at a predetermined temperature and humidity (optional)
  3. Shock testing by using the drop method (9 drops from varying heights dependent on product weight)
  4. Vibration using the random method with and without a top load (Grms level of .53 and .46)
  5. Random Vibration under low pressure dependent on if the packaging will be seeing truck only or truck and air transport (optional)
  6. Shock testing by using the drop method (8 drops for standard packages & 7 drops for small packages at varying heights)

Flat & Elongated packaged products

Each of the procedures listed above would also be included for Flat and Elongated packaged products. However there are several additional procedures that are included for these package types:

  1. Shock testing by using the rotational edge drop method at 8 inches.
  2. Shock testing by full rotational flat drop method
  3. Shock testing by concentrated impact (flat) or bridge impact (elongated) where a hazard box is dropped from a height of 16 inches. 

Types of packaging tested under this method

  • Small packages – Small packages that are 10 lbs. or less with a largest dimension of 14 inches on the longest side.
  • Flat packages – Packages with a volume of 800 cubic inches or more with a narrow shape (shortest side is 8 inches or less)
  • Elongated packages – Tubes or long boxes with a longest dimension of 36 inches or more.
  • Standard packages – Packages that do not fit one of the above descriptions. Standard packages can be made of fiberboard, wood or plastic and are capable of being shipped via a parcel service.

Please Note: The information outlined above is to be used as reference for ISTA 3A. Please refer to ISTA's website for full details.

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