ISTA Series 3 Test Information

Additional Information can be found on the ISTA website.
Advanced Tests
Links to tests: ISTA 3A, ISTA 3B, ISTA 3E, ISTA 3F,
 
ISTA 3-Series  tests are advanced tests designed to test the capabilities of the package and product to withstand hazards of transport using general simulation of actual hazards of transport and not necessarily complying with carrier packaging regulations.
 
These ISTA procedures and tests provide the benefits of shortening package development time, adding confidence to meet product launch deadlines. They also ensure protection of products suggesting an increase in profits due to reduced shipping damage and loss of product. They may also lead to more balanced distribution costs and increased customer satisfaction.
 
There are three sections to the ISTA Series 3 test protocols: Overview, Testing and Reporting.
ISTA Series 3 Overview provides general information required before testing in the laboratory.
ISTA Series 3 Testing presents the instructions required for laboratory testing.
ISTA Series 3 Reporting indicates the data that shall be reported to ISTA.
 
Two systems of weights and measures are always used in ISTA testing. The English system uses inches and pounds and the international system SI is metric. Inch/Pound units are shown first with Metric units in brackets. Tables will show the two systems separately.
 
Key to Metric and English units and symbols:
  • For measuring weight, metric units include kilograms (kg) or grams (gm). For measuring weight, English units include pounds (lb).
  • For measuring distance, metric units include meters (m) or millimeters (mm). For measuring distance, English units include feet (ft) or inches (in).
  • For measuring volume, metric units include cubic centimeters (cm3). For measuring volume, English units include cubic inches (in3).
  • For measuring density, metric units include kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m3). For measuring density, English units include pounds per cubic inch (lb/in3).
  • For measuring temperature, metric units include centigrade (C). For measuring temperature, English units include Fahrenheit (F).
  • For measuring absolute pressure, metric units include kilopascal (kPa). For measuring volume, English units include pounds per square inch (psi).

Either system may be used as the standard unit of measure; however, the standard unit should remain consistent throughout testing and reporting. Units are converted to significant figures, not exact equivalents.

In other ISTA Test Procedures 68 kilograms is used as a conversion from 150 pounds. In 3A, 70 kilograms and 150 pounds are used because it is a common dividing point used by parcel delivery systems from countries that use either metric or English units.

 
 
Overview of ISTA Series Test Procedure 3A
The ISTA Series 3A test procedure is a general simulation test for individual packaged products shipped through a parcel delivery system. ISTA Series Test 3A is appropriate for four types of packages often distributed as individual packages by air or ground transport. These types of packages include: standard, small, flat and elongated package types. 3A includes an optional test combining random vibration under low pressure (to simulate high altitude transport conditions). This is used to test the container’s ability to maintain a seal and closure as well as the retention of contents whether liquid, powder or gas without leak.
 
Standard Packaged Products are packaged products that do not meet any of the definitions below for a small, flat or elongated packaged product. Standard packaged products may be traditional fiberboard cartons, plastic, wooden or cylindrical containers.
 
Small Packaged Products are packaged products with a volume less than 13,000 cm3 (800in3), with a longest dimension of 350mm (14in) or less and weight of 4.5kg (10lb) or less.
 
Flat Packaged Products are packaged products with a shortest dimension of 200mm (8in) or less, next longest dimension that is four or more times larger than the shortest dimension, and having a volume 13,000 cm3 (800in3) or greater.
 
Elongated Packaged Products are packaged products with a longest dimension of 900mm (36in) or greater and both of the packages other dimensions at 20 percent or less of that longest dimension.
 
Note: if a packaged product is both flat and elongated, the package should be tested as “Elongated.”
 
ISTA 3A testing can evaluate the protective performance of a packaged product related to vibration, shock and stresses encountered during handling and transportation in a parcel delivery system. These test levels are based on general data and do not represent any specific distribution system. The package and product are considered together and not separately. Some conditions of transit such as moisture, pressure or unusual handling might not be covered.
 
Note: Hazardous material packaging that passes this test may not meet international, national or other regulatory requirements for hazardous material transport. This test is not a substitute for UN and any other required test standards for hazardous materials. It should be used in conjunction with such tests.
 
ISTA Test 3A covers testing of individual packaged products weighing 70 kg (150 lbs) or less when prepared for shipment via a parcel delivery carrier.
 
The shipper shall determine prior to testing: what will be considered damage to the product and what damage level is allowable. The shipper shall also determine the correct methodology to determine product condition at the test’s conclusion and the acceptable package condition at the test conclusion.
 
When conducting the Compression Test, box failure that could result in stacking failure is considered a failed test if the packaged product might be warehoused. Box failure is allowed if the packaged product would not be warehoused and after testing if the product is not damaged according to the methodology established and if the product still meets the acceptable package condition as determined above.

Samples for ISTA Series Test Procedure 3A

Samples for Test Procedure 3A should be untested actual packages and actual products. If one or both are not available, be sure that the substitute product and packaging are as close as possible to the actual items.
 
One sample is required for tests in the ISTA Series Test 3A Procedure.
 
To allow for proper testing of package and product durability, ISTA requires that the test procedure be performed one time, but due to variability of packaging and product characteristics recommends that fragile and liquid products have two or more packaged product samples tested.
 
ISTA suggests performing the testing procedure five or more times using new samples with each test to improve statistical significance for all package tests.
 
Definitions:
  • Fragile Products are items that could easily break when dropped without protective packaging. (Glass, ceramics, porcelains, clay, electronics)
  • Liquid Products are liquid or semi-liquid or even solids that can become liquid at high temperatures which can cause leakage.

Note: In order to ensure perfect condition testing, products and packages should be shipped to an ISTA Certified Laboratory adequately over-packaged or repackaged in new packaging at the lab.

Test Sequence for ISTA Series Test Procedure 3A

Basis Weights of Corrugated Board
When the outer package is a corrugated box it is recommended that the basis weights of the papers/paperboards used in making the box be determined and documented. If these weights change a retest is considered appropriate.

Standard, Elongated & Flat Package Product Test
Sequence 1:
Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1 using temperature and humidity at an ambient level. This sequence is required.
Sequence 2: Atmospheric Conditioning TEST BLOCK 1using controlled temperature and humidity with temperature and humidity chosen from a chart. This sequence is optional.
Sequence 3: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 3 using drop testing with 9 drops varying height and packaged product weight.  This sequence is required.
Sequence 4: Vibration Testing TEST BLOCK 4 & 7 for Standard and TEST BLOCK 5 & 7 for pails and short cylinders: Using random with and without top load with a test level of overall Grms level of .53 and .46. This sequence is required.

Sequence 5: Vibration Testing TEST BLOCKS 2 & 8: Using random vibration under low pressure. The test level is truck or truck & air dependent. This sequence is optional.
Sequence 6: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 9 using drop testing 8 drops varying height and packaged product weight.  Includes drop on hazard. This sequence is required.
Sequence 7: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 10 using rotational edge drop testing from 200mm (8 in).  This sequence is required for flat and elongated.
Sequence 8: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 11 using concentrated impact testing – height varies with packaged product dimensions.  This sequence is required for flat and elongated.
Sequence 9: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 12 using full rotational flat drop testing hazard box dropped 400mm (16 in).  This sequence is required for flat only.
Sequence 10: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 13 using bridge impact testing hazard box dropped 400mm (16 in).  This sequence is required for elongated only.
Sequence 11: Integrity Testing TEST BLOCK 14 leak test for 8 hours. This sequence is required for liquids only.

Small Package Product Test
Sequence 1:
Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1 using temperature and humidity at an ambient level. This sequence is required.
Sequence 2: Atmospheric Conditioning TEST BLOCK 1using controlled temperature and humidity with temperature and humidity chosen from a chart. This sequence is optional.
Sequence 3: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 3 using drop testing (not in a bag) with 9 drops varying height and packaged product weight.  This sequence is required.
Sequence 4: Vibration Testing TEST BLOCK 6 & 7 Using random with and without top load with a test level of overall Grms level of .53 and .46. This sequence is required.

Sequence 5: Vibration Testing TEST BLOCKS 2 & 8: Using random vibration under low pressure. The test level is truck or truck & air dependent. This sequence is optional.
Sequence 6: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 9 using drop testing (in a bag) 7 drops varying height and packaged product weight.  This sequence is required.
Sequence 7: Integrity Testing TEST BLOCK 14 leak test for 8 hours. This sequence is required for liquids only.

 

Required Equipment for ISTA Series Test Procedure 3A

Atmospheric Conditioning: A Humidity recording apparatus complying with the apparatus section of ISO 2233 or ASTM D 4332, and a Temperature recording apparatus complying with the apparatus section of ISO 2233 or ASTM D 4332.
 
Optional Atmospheric Conditioning: A chamber and control apparatus complying with the apparatus section of ISO2233 or ASTM D 4332.
 
The following choices are required for the Shock Test:
For the Shock tests:
  • For all protocols, a drop test  using a free-fall drop tester, in compliance with the apparatus section of  ISO 2248 or ASTM D 5276. Additional required equipment: Hazard Block made of hardwood or metal with a height of 20 – 25mm (.75 to 1 in) and a width of 150mm.  The length should be  at least 200mm (8in) longer than the second shortest package dimension of the length, width and height. The long top edges of the block shall be rounded to a radius equal to the height of the block +/- 2mm (.0625 in)
  • For flat and elongated, a rotational edge drop test and full rotational drop test using support block, in compliance with the apparatus section of  ISO 2876 or ASTM D 6179. Additional required equipment: Support block 90-100mm (3.5 – 4in) in height and width and at least 200mm (8in) longer than the shortest dimension of face3.
  • For flat, a hazard impact test, hand drop with hazard box. Hazard Box: 300x300x300mm (12 x12 x12in) dense wooden box with total weight of 4.1kg (9lb). The box shall have at least one bottom edge covered by angle iron. The box should be filled with a sand bag and void fill to hold the bag in place.
  • For elongated, a bridge impact test, free fall drop tester with hazard box in compliance with the apparatus section of ASTM D 5265 with the exception of the hazard box (impactor): Hazard Box: 300x300x300mm (12 x12 x12in) dense wooden box with total weight of 4.1kg (9lb). The box shall have at least one bottom edge covered by angle iron. The box should be filled with a sand bag and void fill to hold the bag in place. Support blocks (2) 90-100mm (3.5 to 4 in) in height and width and at least 200mm (8in) longer than the shortest dimension of face 3.
The following choices are required for the Random Vibration Test:
A random vibration test system complying with the apparatus section of ISO 13355 or ASTM D 4728, a form of column stack fixturing, top-load apparatus, plastic bags and sand or other dense, flowable material.
 
Optional Random Vibration Under Low Pressure: A low pressure chamber complying with the apparatus section of ISO 2873 or ASTM D 6653, able to fit on the vibration table, able to draw down the internal absolute pressure to 60 kPa (8.7psi) for the truck and air test, or 70kPa (10psi) for the truck only test and able to withstand the air and/or truck random vibration input.
 
Additional Required Equipment:
ISTA 3A – Small
  • 2 large Consolidation Bags approximately 1 x7m (39-27 in), made of canvas, polyolefin film/fabric or similar strong flexible material with a zipper or other suitable closure at one end. The bags should have enough capacity and strength to meet the requirements below.
    • One bag is the Top Load Bag, filled with 36kg (80lb of sand) or other dense flowable material, suitably packaged in smaller bags.
    • One bag is the sample bag filled with the test specimen and dunnage packages to simulate a typical pack.
  • 3 over-night-style envelopes, 1 #5 padded mailer and 1 #6 fiberboard mailer.
  • Fiberboard containers as described below are to be constructed of C-flute board with any of the following minimum values and construction.
    • Burst Test: 1380 kPa or 14 kg/cm2 or 200 lb/in2 or
    • ECT Value: 7 kN/m width or 40 lb/in width
    • RSC style boxes shall be used for any dunnage package 125mm
    • Book-wrap or telescoping tray may be used for any dunnage package less than 125 mm (5in) in height.
  • Fill each envelope, mailer and corrugated container as indicated below. The dunnage package that most closely represents the Test Specimen shall be substituted. Internal voids of dunnage packages should be filled in order to secure dunnage weight and eliminate concentrated load.

The following describes the numbers and sizes of each dunnage packages.

3 overnight envelopes, 318 x 242mm (12.5 x 9.5 in), contents: 25 sheets of paper
1 #5 Padded mailer, 268 x 407mm (10.5 x 16 in), contents: 50 sheets of paper
1 #6 Fiberboard mailer, 318 x 483mm (12.5 x 19in), contents: 50 sheets of paper
1 Fiberboard box or book-wrap or telescope tray, 200 x 125 x 50mm (8 x 5 x 2in), each corrugated package type and size shall be filled with foam, paper, sand, etc until the desired weight indicated in this table is achieved. Weight: .5kg/1lb
1 Fiberboard box or book-wrap or telescope tray, 225 x 150 x 50mm (9 x 6 x 2in), each corrugated package type and size shall be filled with foam, paper, sand, etc until the desired weight indicated in this table is achieved. Weight: .5kg/1lb
1 Fiberboard box or book-wrap or telescope tray, 275 x 275 x 100mm (11 x 11 x 4in), each corrugated package type and size shall be filled with foam, paper, sand, etc until the desired weight indicated in this table is achieved. Weight: 1kg/2lb
1 Fiberboard box or book-wrap or telescope tray, 275 x 200 x 100mm (11 x 8 x 4in), each corrugated package type and size shall be filled with foam, paper, sand, etc until the desired weight indicated in this table is achieved. Weight: 1kg/2lb
1 Fiberboard box or book-wrap or telescope tray, 175 x 150 x 100mm (7 x 6 x 4in), each corrugated package type and size shall be filled with foam, paper, sand, etc until the desired weight indicated in this table is achieved. Weight: 1.8kg/4lb
1 Fiberboard box or book-wrap or telescope tray, 300 x 300 x 75mm (12 x 12 x 3in), each corrugated package type and size shall be filled with foam, paper, sand, etc until the desired weight indicated in this table is achieved. Weight: 1.8kg/4lb
1 Fiberboard box, 200 x 200 x 200mm (8 x 8 x 8in), each corrugated package type and size shall be filled with foam, paper, sand, etc until the desired weight indicated in this table is achieved. Weight: 4.5kg/10lb
1 Fiberboard box, 200 x 200 x 200mm (6 x 6 x 6in), each corrugated package type and size shall be filled with foam, paper, sand, etc until the desired weight indicated in this table is achieved. Weight: 1kg/2lb
1 Fiberboard box, 200 x 200 x 200mm (10 x 5 x 5in), each corrugated package type and size shall be filled with foam, paper, sand, etc until the desired weight indicated in this table is achieved. Weight: 1kg/2lb

 
Overview of ISTA Series Test Procedure 3B
The ISTA Series 3B test procedure is a general simulation test for individual packaged products shipped through a motor carrier (truck) delivery system, where different types of packaged products, often from different shippers and intended for different ultimate destinations, are mixed in the same load. This type of shipment is called LTL or “less than truckload.” ISTA Series Test 3B is for four different types of packages commonly distributed in LTL shipments as described below.
 
Package Types:
 
Standard 200 lb (91 kg) or less including elongated and flat packages.
 
Standard over 200 lb (91 kg) including elongated and flat packages.
 
Cylindrical including elongated cylinders.
 
Palletized or Skidded – individual container, bulk container or unitized load on or incorporating a base or platform which allows the entry of lift truck forks.
 
Definitions:

Elongated Package or Cylinder

  • A standard or cylindrical package is where the longest dimension is 36 inches (910 mm) or larger and
  • Both of the package’s other dimensions are each 20% or less of the longest dimension

Flat Package

  • A standard package where the shortest dimension is 8 inches (200 mm) or less and
  • The next longest dimension is four or more times larger than the shortest dimension, and
  • the volume is 800 cubic inches (13,000 cubic cm) or greater

Non-Rigid Container

  • Any standard (regardless of weight) or palletized or skidded container where the outer package may offer insufficient protection from concentrated low-level impacts or
  • The design has large unsupported spans of outer packaging material, or
  • the outer package utilizes a stretch or shrink wrapped design, uses a thin flute or light corrugated board, a paper wrap or some similar light weight material only, or
  • the outer package wall is in contact with the product
Note: if a packaged product is both flat and elongated, the package should be tested as “Elongated.”
 
ISTA 3B testing can evaluate the protective performance of a packaged product related to vibration, shock and stresses encountered during handling and transportation in a parcel delivery system. These test levels are based on general data and do not represent any specific distribution system. The package and product are considered together and not separately. Some conditions of transit such as moisture, pressure or unusual handling might not be covered.
 
 
Note: Hazardous material packaging that passes this test may not meet international, national or other regulatory requirements for hazardous material transport. This test is not a substitute for UN and any other required test standards for hazardous materials. It should be used in conjunction with such tests.
 
ISTA Test 3B covers testing of individual packaged products  prepared for shipping via a “Less than Truckload” (LTL) delivery carrier. LTL is a motor carrier or truck shipment, where different types of packaged products possibly from different shippers and intended for different final destinations are mixed in a common load.
 
 
The shipper shall determine prior to testing: what will be considered damage to the product and what damage level is allowable. The shipper shall also determine the correct methodology to determine product condition at the test’s conclusion and the acceptable package condition at the test conclusion.

Samples for ISTA Series Test Procedure 3B

Samples for Test Procedure 3B should be untested actual packages and actual products. If one or both are not available, be sure that the substitute product and packaging are as close as possible to the actual items.
 
One sample is required for tests in the ISTA Series Test 3B Procedure.
 
ISTA suggests performing the testing procedure five or more times using new samples with each test to improve statistical significance for all package tests.

Note: In order to ensure perfect condition testing, products and packages should be shipped to an ISTA Certified Laboratory adequately over-packaged or repackaged in new packaging at the lab.

Note: Any pallet or skid used in this test should be typical of what is in actual use in the field for the packaged product tested.

Note: It is important to thoroughly document the configuration, construction and materials of the test product and package. Variations in performance can often be cause by what seem to be insignificant differences. Photo documentation is recommended to accompany detailed written descriptions.

Test Sequence for ISTA Series Test Procedure 3B

Basis Weights of Corrugated Board
When the outer package is a corrugated box it is recommended that the basis weights of the papers/paperboards used in making the box be determined and documented. If these weights change a retest is considered appropriate.

Standard, 200 lb (91 kg) or less
Sequence 1:
Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1 using temperature and humidity at an ambient level. This sequence is required.
Sequence 2: Atmospheric Conditioning TEST BLOCK 1using controlled temperature and humidity with temperature and humidity chosen from a chart. This sequence is optional.
Sequence 3: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 2 using tip or tip over testing using a 22 degree tip angle.  This sequence is required equal to or greater than 48 inches (1.2 m) tall and greater than or equal to 100 lb (45 kg) and any one base dimension less than 1/2 the height or for packages greater than or equal to 30 inches (760 mm) tall and with a center of gravity vertical location greater than half the package height.
Sequence 4: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 3 Free-Fall Drop with 6 drops from varying height dependent upon product weight. This is required.

Sequence 5: Vertical Vibration Testing TEST BLOCK 7: Using random vibration with top load. The test level Overall Grms level of .54. This is required.
Sequence 6: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 10 using concentrated impact. Test level is impact mass free-fall drop guided drop or pendulum, 15 inches (380 mm).  This sequence is required.
Sequence 7: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 11 using free-fall drop. 6 drops with height varying with packaged product weight.  This sequence is required.
Sequence 8: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 16 using full rotational drop. 1 drop  This sequence is required for elongated packages.
Sequence 9: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 17 using bridged impact. Hazard box dropped from 16 inches (410mm)  This sequence is required for elongated packages.
Sequence 10: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 16 using full rotational drop. 2 drops  This sequence is required for flat packages only.
Sequence 11: Integrity Testing TEST BLOCK 18 using concentrated edge impact. Hazard box dropped 16 in (410 mm).This sequence is required for flat packages.

Standard, over 200 lb (91 kg)
Sequence 1:
Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1 using temperature and humidity at an ambient level. This sequence is required.
Sequence 2: Atmospheric Conditioning TEST BLOCK 1using controlled temperature and humidity with temperature and humidity chosen from a chart. This sequence is optional.
Sequence 3: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 2 using tip or tip over testing using a 22 degree tip angle.  This sequence is required equal to or greater than 48 inches (1.2 m) tall and greater than or equal to 100 lb (45 kg) and any one base dimension less than 1/2 the height or for packages greater than or equal to 30 inches (760 mm) tall and with a center of gravity vertical location greater than half the package height.
Sequence 4: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 5 Rotational Drop from 9 in (230 mm) Rotational edge and corner drops.. This is required.

Sequence 5: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 6: Incline or Horizontal impact, optional free-fall drop. 48 inches/second (4ft/sec)(1.2m/sec) impacts or 3 in (76 mm) drops. This is required.
Sequence 6: Vertical Vibration TEST BLOCK 7 using random with top load. Overall Grms level of .54.  This sequence is required.
Sequence 7: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 10 using concentrated impact. Impact mass free-fall drop, guided drop or pendulum 15 in (380 mm).  This sequence is required.
Sequence 8: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 13 using rotational drop. 9 inches (230 mm) Rotational edge and corner drops. This is required.
Sequence 9: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 14 using rotational drop. 48 inches/second (4ft/sec)(1.2m/sec) impacts or 3 in (76 mm) drops. This is required.
Sequence 10: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 16 using full rotational drop. 1 drop  This sequence is required for elongated packages only.
Sequence 11: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 17 using bridged impact. Hazard box dropped 16 in (410 mm).This sequence is required for flat packages.
Sequence 12: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 16 using full rotational drop. 2 drops  This sequence is required for flat packages only.
Sequence 13: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 18 using concentrated edge impact. Hazard box dropped 16 inches (410 mm)  This sequence is required for flat packages only.

Cylindrical
Sequence 1:
Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1 using temperature and humidity at an ambient level. This sequence is required.
Sequence 2: Atmospheric Conditioning TEST BLOCK 1 using controlled temperature and humidity with temperature and humidity chosen from chart. This sequence is optional.
Sequence 3: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 4 using Free Fall Drop.  6 drops with varying height determined by packaged product weight. Required.
Sequence 4: Vertical Vibration Testing TEST BLOCK 8 Random with and without top load. Overall Grms level of .54. This is required.

Sequence 5: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 12: Free-fall drop. 5 drops with height varying with packaged product weight. This is required.
Sequence 6: Shock TEST BLOCK 12 Drop on Hazard. 1 drop with height varying with packaged product weight.
Sequence 7: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 16 using full rotational drop. 1 drop.  This sequence is required for elongated cylinders.
Sequence 8: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 17 using bridged impact. Hazard box dropped from 16 inches (410 mm). This is required for elongated cylinders.

Palletized or Skidded
Sequence 1:
Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1 using temperature and humidity at an ambient level. This sequence is required.
Sequence 2: Atmospheric Conditioning TEST BLOCK 1using controlled temperature and humidity with temperature and humidity chosen from a chart. This sequence is optional.
Sequence 3: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 2 using tip or tip over testing using a 22 degree tip angle.  This sequence is required for palletized or skidded loads greater than or equal to 30 inches (760 mm) tall and center of gravity vertical height greater than the smallest base dimension.
Sequence 4: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 5 Rotational Drop Rotational edge and corner drops with height varying with packaged product weight. This is required.

Sequence 5: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 6: Incline or Horizontal impact, optional free-fall drop. 48 inches/second (4ft/sec)(1.2m/sec) impacts or 3 in (76 mm) drops. This is required.
Sequence 6: Vertical Vibration TEST BLOCK 9 using random with top load. Overall Grms level of .54.  This sequence is required.
Sequence 7: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 10 using concentrated impact. Impact mass free-fall drop, guided drop or pendulum 15 in (380 mm).  This sequence is required for non-rigid containers.
Sequence 8: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 15 using fork lift handling. Flat push and rotate tests. This is required.
Sequence 9: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 15 using fork lift handling. Elevated push and pull tests. This is required.
Sequence 10: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 15 using fork lift handling. Elevated rotate tests. This is required.
Sequence 11: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 15 using fork lift handling. Load stability test over a handling course. This is required.
Sequence 12: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 13 using rotational drop. Rotational edge and corner drops with height varying with packaged product weight.  This sequence is required.
Sequence 13: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 14 using incline or horizontal impact, optional free fall drop. 48 inches / second (4 ft/sec)(1.2 m/sec) impacts or 3 inch (76 mm) drops.  This sequence is required.

 

Required Equipment for ISTA Series Test Procedure 3B

Atmospheric Conditioning: A Humidity recording apparatus complying with the apparatus section of ISO 2233 or ASTM D 4332, and a Temperature recording apparatus complying with the apparatus section of ISO 2233 or ASTM D 4332.
 
Optional Atmospheric Conditioning: A chamber and control apparatus complying with the apparatus section of ISO2233 or ASTM D 4332.
 
The following choices are required for the Shock Test:
For the Shock tests:
  • For Free Fall drop tests using a free-fall drop tester, in compliance with the apparatus section of  ISO 2248 or ASTM D 5276.
  • For Free Fall drop tests (Alternate) using slings and quick release mechanism, ISO 2248 or ASTM D 5276.
  • For Tip/Tip over tests, ASTM D 6179 or ISO 2876
  • For Rotational Edge and Corner Drop Tests, 1 Support Block ASTM D 6179 or ISO 2876
  • For  Full Rotational Drops, ASTM D 6179 or ISO 2876, Support block: 3.5 to 4.0 inches (90 to 100 mm) in height and width and at least 8 inches (200 mm) longer than the longest package dimension to be supported.
  • For Full rotational Drops ASTM D 6179 or ISO 2876
  • For Impact Tests (Alternates), Incline and Horizontal ASTM D880 or ASTM D 4003 or ISO 2244
  • For Concentrated impact tests, free fall or guided free fall of impacting mass. In compliance with ASTM D 6344, except the impacting mass must be approximately 8.875 inches (225 mm) long, with a diameter of 1.25 inches (32 mm) and weigh a total of 3 lb (1.4 kg). Impacting mass details: Total weight 3 lb (1.4 kg). See ASTM D 6344 for other information.
  • For Concentrated impact tests (Alternate), pendulum with impacting mass. In compliance with ASTM D 6344, except the impacting mass must be approximately 8.875 inches (225 mm) long, with a diameter of 1.25 inches (32 mm) and weigh a total of 3 lb (1.4 kg). Impacting mass details: Total weight 3 lb (1.4 kg). See ASTM D 6344 for other information.
  • Concentrated edge impact tests. Free fall drop tester with edge hazard box. Concentrated Edge Hazard Box: 12 x 12 x 12 inches (305 x305 x 305 mm) wood box with a total weight of 9 lb (4.1 kg). Any required ballast weight should be dense flowable material in a bag or bags, held in place with suitable void fill. The impact edge of the box shall be covered with angle iron.
  • Bridged impact tests. Free fall drop tester with edge hazard box. ASTM D 5265 with the exception of the Hazard Box Impactor. Concentrated Edge Hazard Box: 12 x 12 x 12 inches (305 x305 x 305 mm) wood box with a total weight of 9 lb (4.1 kg). Any required ballast weight should be dense flowable material in a bag or bags, held in place with suitable void fill. The impact edge of the box shall be covered with angle iron.
  • Drop Onto Hazard. Free fall drop tester Hazard block: The hazard block shall be made of hardwood or metal. The height shall be .75 to 1 inch (20 to 25mm) and the width shall be 6 inches (150 mm). The length shall be at least 8 inches (200 mm) longer than the longest package dimension which will impact.  The long top edges of the block shall be rounded to a radius equal to the height of the block.
  • Vertical Random Vibration Test System complying with the apparatus section of ASTM D 4728 or ISO 13355.
  • Top Load  apparatus:
  • A sturdy fiberboard box or similar container with a height of 9 inches (230 mm), and with a minimum of .75 inches (20 mm) thick plywood load spreader covering the entire bottom surface
  • Some means of adding additional weight as required so that the top load is distributed evenly over the entire inside face area of the top load apparatus
  • Adequate void fill to securely hod the weight in place to prevent it from moving or bouncing within the top load apparatus.
  • Bottom face dimensions at least 2 inches (50 mm) larger than the top face dimensions of the test items for a maximum of 3 inches (76 mm)  over hang on each side.
  • The top load apparatus must be divided into 2 separate equal portions if one of the top face dimensions of the test item exceeds 18 inches (460 mm).
  • Means must be provided to maintain proper alignment of the top load apparatus on the test item (column stack fixtures, stretch wrap around the test specimen and the top load apparatus, etc.) without restricting the vertical motion of the top load apparatus and the test specimen.
  • Means must be provided to prevent the test item from moving off the vibration system’s platform without restricting the vertical motion of the test item.
  • A fork lift truck of sufficient capacity to handle the test specimens and complying with the requirements below.
  • A fork lift handling course as shown on this form.
 
Overview of ISTA Series Test Procedure 3E
The ISTA Series 3E test procedure is a general simulation test for unitized loads shipped from a manufacturer to a distribution hub. The unitized loads of packaged products are shipped by truck where the entire trailer is filled with similar, unitized packaged products to one destination. This type of shipment is called Full Truckload (FTL).
 
A unitized load is one or more products or packaged products on a skid or pallet, secured together or restrained to be distributed as a single load. Possible examples might be wrapped pallet load of individual containers or a single, non packaged machine banded to a pallet  with a corrugated tray, tube and cap.
  • This procedure can be used to evaluate the protective performance of these products related to vibrations, shock or stresses of handling and transportation.
  • The ISTA Series 3E test procedure can evaluate load stability.
  • The test levels are based on general data and do not represent specific distribution systems.
  • Packages and products are evaluated together and not separately in the ISTA Series 3E test procedure.
  • Some transit conditions (moisture, pressure, unusual handling) are not covered by the ISTA Series 3E test procedure.

Other ISTA Procedures may be more appropriate depending on different conditions or objectives.

 
Standard Packaged Products are packaged products that do not meet any of the definitions below for a small, flat or elongated packaged product. Standard packaged products may be traditional fiberboard cartons, plastic, wooden or cylindrical containers.
 
Small Packaged Products are packaged products with a volume less than 13,000 cm3 (800in3), with a longest dimension of 350mm (14in) or less and weight of 4.5kg (10lb) or less.
 
Flat Packaged Products are packaged products with a shortest dimension of 200mm (8in) or less, next longest dimension that is four or more times larger than the shortest dimension, and having a volume 13,000 cm3 (800in3) or greater.
 
Elongated Packaged Products are packaged products with a longest dimension of 900mm (36in) or greater and both of the packages other dimensions at 20 percent or less of that longest dimension.
 
Note: if a packaged product is both flat and elongated, the package should be tested as “Elongated.”
 
ISTA 3A testing can evaluate the protective performance of a packaged product related to vibration, shock and stresses encountered during handling and transportation in a parcel delivery system. These test levels are based on general data and do not represent any specific distribution system. The package and product are considered together and not separately. Some conditions of transit such as moisture, pressure or unusual handling might not be covered.
 
Suggestions:
  • To test individual packaged product, shipped non-unitized from a distribution center to retail outlet, use ISTA Test Procedure 3F.
  • To test packaged products prepared for Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipments, use ISTA Test Procedure 3B.
The shipper shall determine prior to testing: what will be considered damage to the product and what damage level is allowable. The shipper shall also determine the correct methodology to determine product condition at the test’s conclusion and the acceptable package condition at the test conclusion.
 

Samples for ISTA Series Test Procedure 3E

Samples for Test Procedure 3E should be untested actual packages and actual products. If one or both are not available, be sure that the substitute product and packaging are as close as possible to the actual items.
 
One sample (unitized load) is required for tests in the ISTA Series Test 3E Procedure.
 
To allow for proper testing of package and product durability, ISTA requires that the test procedure be performed one time, but due to variability of packaging and product characteristics recommends that fragile and liquid products have two or more packaged product samples tested.
 
ISTA suggests performing the testing procedure five or more times using new samples with each test to improve statistical significance for all package tests.
Note: Packages that have already been subject to the rigors of transportation cannot be assumed to represent standard conditions. Packages and products sent to certified laboratories for testing must be over-packaged for shipment to the laboratory or repackaged in new packaging at the laboratory. Document configuration, materials and construction of the tested package and product.

Test Sequence for ISTA Series Test Procedure 3E

Sequence 1: Atmospheric Preconditioning using temperature and humidity at an ambient level. This sequence is required.
Sequence 2: Atmospheric Conditioning using controlled temperature and humidity with temperature and humidity chosen from a chart. This sequence is optional.
Sequence 3: Shock Testing (Alternative methods allowed, select one of the following) Incline Impact 48 inches (1.2 m) per second OR Horizontal impact 48 inches (1.2 m) per second. This sequence is required.
Sequence 4: Shock Testing using Rotational Edge Drop with height varying with packaged product weight. This sequence is required.

Sequence 5: Compression Testing (Alternative methods allowed, select one of the following) Machine Apply and Release Calculated test force, x 1.4 OR Machine Apply and Hold Calculated test force, OR Weight and Load Spreader Calculated Test Force. This sequence is required.
Sequence 6: Vibration Testing Random test type Overall Grms level of .54.  This sequence is required.
Sequence 7: Shock Testing using rotational edge drop with height varying with packaged product weight.   Required.

Required Equipment for ISTA Series Test Procedure 3E

Atmospheric Conditioning: A Humidity recording apparatus complying with the apparatus section of ASTM D 4332, and a Temperature recording apparatus complying with the apparatus section of ASTM D 4332.
 
Optional Atmospheric Conditioning: A chamber and control apparatus complying with the apparatus section of  ASTM D 4332.
 
The following alternatives are acceptable for the Shock Test:
  • Incline Test: Incline impact tester (conbur) in compliance with the apparatus section of ASTM D 880.
  • Horizontal Test: Horizontal impact test system in compliance with the apparatus section of ASTM D 4003.
The following alternatives are acceptable for the required for the Compression Test:
Apply and Release Test: Compression Test Machine in compliance with the apparatus section of ASTM D 642; fixed or Floating platen acceptable. Additional Required Equipment: Use an identical pallet on top of what the test item is shipped on.
 
Apply and Hold Test: Weight and Load Spreader. Safety stops are recommended to support the load spreader and weight to prevent damage or injury in the event of rapid collapse of test item.
 
Equipment required for Random Vibration Test:
Random Vibration Test System complying with the apparatus section of ASTM D 4728.
Overview of ISTA Series Test Procedure 3F
The ISTA Series 3F test procedure is a general simulation test for packaged products shipped as individual package from a distribution center to a retail outlet in a mixed pallet configuration.
  • This procedure can be used to evaluate the protective performance of these products related to vibrations, shock or stresses of handling and transportation..
  • The test levels are based on general data and do not represent specific distribution systems.
  • Packages and products are evaluated together and not separately.
  • Some transit conditions (moisture, pressure, unusual handling) are not covered by the ISTA Series 3F test procedure.

Other ISTA Procedures may be more appropriate depending on different conditions or objectives.

Suggestions:
  • To test unitized loads of this packaged product transported to a distribution center, use ISTA Test Procedure 3E.
  • To test individual cases where floor load mixed loads are common, use ISTA Test Procedure 3A.
The shipper shall determine prior to testing: what will be considered damage to the product and what damage level is allowable. The shipper shall also determine the correct methodology to determine product condition at the test’s conclusion and the acceptable package condition at the test conclusion.
 

Samples for ISTA Series Test Procedure 3F

Samples for Test Procedure 3F should be untested actual packages and actual products. If one or both are not available, be sure that the substitute product and packaging are as close as possible to the actual items.
 
Six samples are required for tests in the ISTA Series Test 3F Procedure.
 
Replicate Testing is recommended. ISTA requires that the procedure be performed one time, but recommends performing it five or more times using new samples each time.
 
Note: Packages that have already been subject to the rigors of transportation cannot be assumed to represent standard conditions. Packages and products sent to certified laboratories for testing must be over-packaged for shipment to the laboratory or repackaged in new packaging at the laboratory. Document configuration, materials and construction of the tested package and product.

Test Sequence for ISTA Series Test Procedure 3F

Sequence 1: Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1 using temperature and humidity at an ambient level. This sequence is required.
Sequence 2: Atmospheric Conditioning TEST BLOCK 1 using controlled temperature and humidity with temperature and humidity chosen from a chart. This sequence is optional.
Sequence 3: Compression Testing TEST BLOCK 2 (Alternative methods allowed, select one of the following) Machine Apply and Release (Calculated Test Force x 1.4) OR Machine Apply and Hold (Calculated Test Force) OR Weight and Load Spreader (Calculated Test Load). This sequence is required.
Sequence 4: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 3  Drop 12 and 30 inch (310 and 760 mm). This sequence is required.
Sequence 5: Vibration Testing TEST BLOCK 4 Random Overall Grms level of .54.  This sequence is required.
Sequence 6: Vibration Testing TEST BLOCK 4 Random test type Overall Grms level of .54.  This sequence is required.
Sequence 7: Shock Testing TEST BLOCK 5 Drop 18 and 24 inch (460 and 610 mm).   Required.

Required Equipment for ISTA Series Test Procedure 3F

Atmospheric Conditioning: A Humidity recording apparatus complying with the apparatus section of ASTM D 4332, and a Temperature recording apparatus complying with the apparatus section of ASTM D 4332.
 
Optional Atmospheric Conditioning: A chamber and control apparatus complying with the apparatus section of  ASTM D 4332.
 
The following alternatives are acceptable for the Shock Test:
  • Incline Test: Incline impact tester (conbur) in compliance with the apparatus section of ASTM D 880.
  • Horizontal Test: Horizontal impact test system in compliance with the apparatus section of ASTM D 4003.

Free Fall Drop Test:

Free Fall Drop Test System complying with the apparatus section of ASTM D 4332.

The following alternatives are acceptable for the required for the Compression Test:
Apply and Release Test: Compression Test Machine in compliance with the apparatus section of ASTM D 642; fixed or Floating platen acceptable.
 
Apply and Hold Test: Compression Test System in compliance with the apparatus section of ASTM D 642; fixed or Floating platen acceptable.
 
Apply and Hold Test: Weight and Load Spreader. Safety stops are recommended to support the load spreader and weight to prevent damage or injury in the event of rapid collapse of test item.
 
Equipment required for Random Vibration Test:
Random Vibration Test System complying with the apparatus section of ASTM D 4728.