2022-03-23T00:00:00

A Guide to ISTA Test Standards: Packaging Transit Testing

ISTA Packaging Testing 

Who is ISTA?

ISTA stands for International Safe Transit Association and is a member-based non-profit that empowers organisations to minimise product damage throughout the supply chain and optimise resource usage through effective package design.

ISTA creates standards for packaging design to ensure the safe arrival of the package’s contents and provides laboratory certification to confirm all facilities are properly equipped to perform pre-shipment testing of packaged-products in accordance with ISTA standards.

What is an ISTA laboratory?

An ISTA laboratory has been certified to perform pre-shipment tests using the necessary testing equipment which has been correctly installed and is regularly maintained. This same equipment must be operated by personnel capable of performing tests on packaged-products in accordance with ISTA® Test Projects and Procedures, evaluating results and completing and submitting Certified Laboratory Test Report forms.

Access to an ISTA laboratory is invaluable for companies suffering from packaging related issues in their supply chain as the labs are designed to minimise product damage throughout the supply chain, by putting packaging thorough a rigorous testing process.  The laboratory provides the testing to account for a multitude of transit hazards that many manufacturers may not be aware of or have no way of testing for themselves.

Types of ISA Tests

There are actually a range of ISTA tests, depending on the level of certification you’re going for. 

1 Series: Non-Simulation Integrity Performance Tests.

Challenge the strength and robustness of the product and package combination. Not designed to simulate environmental occurrences.

2 Series: Partial Simulation Performance Tests.

Tests with at least one element of 3 Series type General Simulation performance tests, such as atmospheric conditioning or mode-shaped random vibration, in addition to basic elements of a 1 Series type Non-Simulation Integrity test.

3 Series: General Simulation Performance Tests.

Designed to provide a laboratory simulation of the general damage-producing motions, forces, conditions, and sequences of transport environments. Applicable across broad sets of circumstances, such as a variety of vehicle types and routes, or a varying number of handling exposures. Characteristics will include simple shaped random vibration, different drop heights applied to the sample package, and/or atmospheric conditioning.

4 Series: Enhanced Simulation Performance Tests.

General Simulation tests with at least one element of Focused Simulation, such as test sequence or test conditions linked to actual known distribution. 

5 Series: Focused Simulation Guides 

Guides for the creation of laboratory simulations based on actual field-measured and observed hazards and levels. The 5-Series are not performance tests per se, but information and instructions related to establishment of user-defined Focused Simulation tests.

7 Series: Development Tests.

These tests are used in the development of transport packages. They can be used to compare relative performance of two or more container designs, but are not intended to evaluate the protection afforded packaged-products.

In order to help you decide which test would be best for your need please read the Guidelines for selecting ISTA Test procedures or contact one of our ISTA packaging testing experts using the form below.

What are the benefits of ISTA packaging testing? 

One crucial benefit of an ISTA certification is the confidence it instils in buyers, who know that the packaging has undergone rigorous testing procedures - and so won’t cause them reputational damage. In fact, an ISTA certification is often required by larger retailers like Amazon.  Additionally, you have the assurance that there will be a reduction in transit damage, and therefore product - and customer - loss.  

Product manufacturers therefore achieve several benefits  

  • Product Protection
  • Cost Savings
  • Increase Brand Loyalty
  • Greater customer satisfaction
  • Reduce the need for Trial Shipments

Looking for an ISTA certified testing laboratory or packaging services?

As a world leading supplier of paper-based packaging, Smurfit Kappa has two ISTA certified testing laboratories located in Hoogeveen, Netherlands and Northampton UK and below are the range of tests available at these locations.

Hoogeveen, Netherlands

  • 1A: Integrity Testing for Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less
  • 1B: Integrity Testing Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68 kg)
  • 1C :Extended Integrity Testing for Individual Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less
  • 1D: Extended Integrity Testing for Individual Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68 kg)
  • 1E: Integrity Testing for Unitized Loads
  • 1G: Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less utilizing Random Vibration
  • 1H: Integrity Testing for Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68 kg) utilizing Random Vibration
  • 2A: Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less
  • 2B: Packaged-Products weighing over 150 lb (68 kg)
  • 2C: Furniture Packages
  • 3A: Parcel Delivery System Shipments 150 lb (70kg) or Less
  • 3B: Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Shipment
  • 3E: Similar Packaged-Products in Unitized Loads for Truckload Shipment
  • 3F: Distribution Center to Retail Outlet Shipment 100 lb (45 kg)
  • 4AB: A web-based software application that generates Enhanced Simulation Test Plans.
  • 6-AMAZON.com-SIOC Type A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H: Ships in Own Container (SIOC) for Amazon.com Distribution System Shipment
  • 6-AMAZON.com Over Boxing: e-Commerce Fulfillment for Parcel Delivery Shipment
  • 6-SAMSCLUB - Packaged-Products for Sam's Club® Distribution System Shipment
  • 6-FedEx-A: FedEx Procedures for Testing Packaged Products Weighing Up to 150 lbs.
  • 7D: Temperature Test for Transport Packaging

Northampton, UK

  • 1A: Integrity Testing for Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less
  • 3A: Parcel Delivery System Shipments 150 lb (70kg) or Less
  • 6-AMAZON.com-SIOC Type A: Ships in Own Container (SIOC) for Amazon.com Distribution System Shipment
  • 6-AMAZON.com Over Boxing: e-Commerce Fulfillment for Parcel Delivery Shipment

Packaging Transit Testing, ISTA Testing 

But the laboratories are not just for ISTA testing, they can also be utilised for more focused research on corrugated packaging ranging from such as:

  • Compression testing in order to validate how much weight a parcel can withstand during stacking.
  • Load bearing tests in order to optimise the interaction between corrugated packaging and packed product on the above mentioned compression strength

The laboratories are set up to help make the corrugated packaging fit for purpose for the packed product across the supply chain, minimising product damage and boosting manufacturers' bottom line. 

It will also be able to offer customers the facility to design, manufacture, test and certify products, all under one roof, to Amazon’s Frustration Free packaging standards as Smurfit Kappa are proud members of Amazons Packaging Support and Supplier Network (APASS).

Get in Touch 

Whether you are launching a new product, looking to redesign an existing pack or experiencing product damage, we’re here to help. We can minimise the risk of product damage throughout the supply chain and optimise resource usage through effective package design. To discuss your ISTA packaging testing or next packaging project, speak to one of our experts who will guide you through the process.

Get in touch today by completing this form or visit our location finder

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