damaged box package inside a warehouse

ISTA 3A Testing

The ISTA (International Safe Transit Association) develops procedures for package transportation to ensure effective and efficient shipping of products and packaging. One of the ISTA testing standards that Applied Technical Services offers is ISTA 3A testing, which is a simulation test for individually packaged products that are carried through a parcel delivery system such as UPS, FedEx and USPS.

Simulating the Trip

Package testing requires simulating the typical stresses and hazards that a box could face during shipping, including humid conditions, being dropped, tipping over, and experiencing vibrations. Products must sustain little damage, if any, and boxes must retain their contents without spilling or leaking (in the case of liquid, gas, or powder shipping). Testing the effectiveness of packaging materials can save companies a significant amount of time and money, as well as minimize product loss while maintaining customer satisfaction and confidence in the process.

ISTA 3A Testing

ISTA 3A tests individually packaged products under 150 pounds and shipped by either ground or air. Our technicians analyze four different box types — standard, small, flat, and elongated packages — where each type has its own unique requirements and specifications. However, all four package types use some of the same analysis methods. To illustrate, each must endure some level of atmospheric conditioning for temperature and humidity, survive shock testing wherein the boxes are dropped, and random low-pressure vibration testing. More specific ISTA 3A tests include bridge impact testing for elongated packages and hazard impact testing for flat packages.

The criteria for box size classifications are as follows:

Volume: < 13,000 cm³ (800 in³)

Longest dimension: ≤ 350 mm (14 in)
Weight: ≤ 4.5 kg (10 lb)
Shortest dimension: ≤ 200 mm (8 in)
Next longest dimension: 4+ times larger than the shortest dimension
Volume: ≥ 13,000 cm³ (800 in³)
Longest dimension: ≥ 900 mm (36 in)
Other 2 dimensions: ≤ 2% than that of the longest dimension
Does not fit into any of the small, flat, or elongated categories
ATS and Package Testing
ATS has combined proven scientific and engineering principles with excellent customer service for over 50 years. Our experienced environmental testing technicians offer professional support in package testing as well as numerous other testing areas, such as vibration testing and product analysis services. Our Marietta location maintains recognition as an ISTA certified lab, qualifying our technicians to perform this and other package testing methods according to ISTA standards. Let us handle your ISTA 3A testing needs today. We take a closer look!

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