The International Safe Transit Association
Applied Technical Services offers ISTA package testing to help clients ensure their packaging materials will perform to expectation in shipment.
The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) generates standards on packaging design and assessment to optimize resource allocation in production and reduce the amount of product damage during the shipping process. Founded in 1948 as the National Safe Transit Committee, this body came about in response to unacceptable amounts of damage to fragile cargo and the money manufacturers lost as a result. By first identifying criteria important to the overall durability of the package and indicative of how well it would protect its contents, the ISTA created a series of testing specifications used to determine the suitability of a packaging sample. These specifications proved effective.
The ISTA’s record of securing demonstrable efficiency improvements for manufacturers that implement their rigorous testing specifications has earned them recognition from organizations like UPS, FedEx, and Amazon, each of which has adopted the association’s best practices for packaging materials. Today, the ISTA represents the definitive authority on package efficacy. They generate testing standards and train personnel on how to use those standards to help create more effective packaging designs.
Manufacturers send samples of their packaging to third-party package testing labs like ATS to verify their performance characteristics in accordance with ISTA packaging testing specifications.
ATS' ISTA Package Testing Capabilities
The ISTA testing standards identify various metrics that a package design must meet to be considered acceptable for use. Those criteria include the following:
Mechanical shocks — large, instantaneous loads of force such as a sudden impact — represent a significant damage risk to a package and its contents. The types of shock outlined by ISTA testing standards are:
Compressive forces can also cause damage to the packaging or, in more extreme cases, to the contents themselves. The ISTA identifies two types of compression testing:
Certain packaging designs are more vulnerable to vibration than others, which can cause displacement or even damage over extended periods. Typical ISTA vibration testing for packages includes fixed displacement, random, vertical linear, and simple sine vibrations (with varying loads applied), used to determine how samples will handle the bumps and shakes they will encounter during transit.
Environmental conditions can also affect how packaging performs in other areas of concern. To verify that atmospheric stimuli present in expected shipping conditions do not excessively undermine the sample’s performance characteristics, the ISTA defines the following testing methods:
ATS’ wide array of testing capabilities means we can perform each of these package testing methods to their ISTA specifications. Our environmental testing division performs all our ISTA testing services in our ISO 9001 certified lab, ensuring quality results and clear, detailed reporting. These expert technicians return their results within a short turnaround window to empower clients to make informed, timely decisions regarding their packaging design.
Applied Technical Services has provided testing, inspection, and consulting engineering capabilities of unmatched quality since our founding in 1967. The 50+ years since have seen our company prosper greatly; what began as a band of three engineers working with local businesses out of the founder’s basement has grown into a multidisciplinary firm offering the services of over one thousand technicians, chemists, scientists, inspectors, Professional Engineers, investigators, and calibrators to respond to the needs of clients around the world. Although we regularly serve a wide variety of industries, the two that most directly benefit from our capacity as a package testing lab are the consumer product and medical industries.
If your company needs ISTA standard package testing to validate the durability of your packaging design, contact ATS today — We take a closer look!