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ISTA Series 3E Test Information
- 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 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.
- 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.
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