Package Drop Test

Worker About to Drop Box
The Importance of Packaging
Applied Technical Services performs the package drop test for clients who need to verify the durability of their shipping materials. When products leave the manufacturer, they go through several phases of shipment before they finally make it into the consumer’s hands. This transit process necessitates the packaging to ensure that the product arrives at its destination in the same perfect condition in which it left the assembly line.
  • Primary Packaging
  • Consumer Packaging
  • Encloses product — directly touches it
  • Primarily contains and protects product
  • Very often branded, may feature additional advertisement or product information
  • e.g., DVD cases, soda cans, glass jars, etc.
  • Secondary Packaging
  • Branding or Display Packaging
  • Encloses primary packaging — does not directly touch product
  • Collates and protects one (or several) primary packaging container(s)
  • Prominently promotes brand, advertisements, and additional product information
  • e.g., cardboard boxes, wooden cartons, shrink wrap, etc.
  • Tertiary Packaging
  • Transit Packaging
  • Encloses either primary or secondary packaging (depends on product)
  • Bundles and protects many samples of the product during transit
  • Likely not branded — consumer likely to never see tertiary packaging in a retail setting
  • e.g., corrugated paper, wooden pallets, shipping containers, etc.
Purpose Behind Packaging Testing
Each of the above classes of package serves an important role in the success of the shipping process. Ensuring both the contents and the display remain safe and unblemished on their way to the point of purchase are paramount to sales — not only will consumers not buy damaged products, but many will not buy an intact product if its primary or secondary packaging is damaged. Manufacturers understand the importance of these materials performing to expectations for that reason.
Viable packaging materials need to protect their contents through the transit process, which can involve any number of bumps, vibrations, and other physical stimuli that threaten to damage the product inside. While packaging engineers meticulously design their containers with these considerations in mind, the only way to verify the effectiveness of their specifications is performance testing. The packaging industry sends samples to third-party testing providers like ATS to determine whether their designs are suitably durable to withstand the rigors of the shipping process.
On the Package Drop Test
Of the sources of physical trauma that a package could encounter during shipment, a fall represents one of the most harmful. A person dropping cargo, either accidentally or carelessly, can damage either the container (an aesthetic concern in the case of primary or secondary packaging) or the contents (a practical concern in the case of all types of packaging). ATS simulates this event in testing to characterize how well a sample survives it.
The aptly named package drop test entails subjecting the sample to a fall. One of the least forgiving package tests, technicians use this method to determine the physical durability of the packaging and profile its ability to shield contents from damage. They use a free-fall drop tester in accordance with the pertinent test standard to ensure standardized, reproducible results. Technicians check the sample and its contents for signs of damage after the test, noting whether its performance passed or failed expectations according to the relevant specifications.
Standards and Specifications
ISO, the ASTM, and the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) produce testing standards for the package drop test. They identify a variety of test configurations, some of which pertain to all shapes and sizes of packages and some of which apply to specific classifications. These test configurations include:
  • Free-Fall Drop
  • Drop onto Hazard
  • Concentrated Edge Impact
  • Bridge Impact
  • Rotational Flat Drop
  • Rotational Edge Drop
  • Tip-Over
  • Full Rotational Drop
Furthermore, ATS’ environmental testing division performs the package drop test according to relevant testing standards, including the ones below:
  • ISTA 1(A, B, C, D E, G, and H)
  • ISTA 2(A, B, and C)
  • ISTA 3(A, B, E, F, H, and K)
  • ASTM D7386
  • ISO 2248
Other Testing Methods
ATS offers a variety of other testing disciplines that apply to packaging materials beyond our drop testing proficiency. Clients can also request that we perform the following methods to simulate other aspects of the shipping process:
  • Compression (both Horizontal and Vertical)
  • Vibration (Random, Simple Sine, etc.)
About ATS
Applied Technical Services has offered testing, consulting engineering, and inspection capabilities of incomparable quality for the past 50+ years. We have evolved dramatically as a company since our founding in 1967; what began as a trio of engineers serving local businesses from the founder’s basement, ATS has since grown into a multidisciplinary firm delivering the expertise of over 1,000 technicians, Professional Engineers, inspectors, investigators, scientists, chemists, and calibrators to answer the needs of clients around the world.
Among the dozens we serve that benefit indirectly from ATS’ meticulous package testing process, we primarily serve the consumer products industry in this capacity.
Our Commitment to Quality
ATS environmental testing technicians perform all package testing in accordance with our ISO 9001-certified quality assurance program. Earning this recognition means that an ISO-approved auditor attests that our procedures comply with the internationally recognized standard defining effective quality management practices. Maintaining ISO 9001, a famously stringent certification, shows clients that we take performing quality services as a serious matter.
To ensure a positive customer experience while doing business with ATS, we work hard to guarantee the following for our clientele:
  • Accurate, detailed, clear reporting
  • Returned in quick turnaround window for timely, informed decision-making
  • Customer service representatives who receive client outreach
  • They facilitate prompt contact with the right lab technician who can answer questions about the progress or results of their testing
  • Attentive and responsive lab personnel
  • Accessible to client outreach and engaged while helping secure a solution to their problems
If your company needs drop testing or any other variation of package testing, contact ATS today — We take a closer look!

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