"What test procedure should I use?" is a common question that cannot be answered directly, but must bedetermined in each case through an understanding of the various ISTA tests andtheir applications.
There are currently over 20 different ISTA Procedures and Projects. Some of theseare basic tests: very non-specific in terms of the products, packages, anddistribution systems to which they apply. Others, however, are quite specific,and are applicable only in certain situations. The procedures and projects,with short titles, are:
* 1A Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less
* 1B Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb
* 1C Extended Testing for Individual Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg)or Less
* 1D Extended Testing for Individual Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68kg)
* 1E Unitized Loads
* 1G Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less (Random Vibration)
* 1H Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68kg) (Random Vibration)
* 2A Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less
* 2B Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68kg)
* 2C Furniture Packages
* 2D Packaged-Products Considered Flat for Parcel Delivery System Shipment
* 2E Packaged-Products Considered Elongated for Parcel Delivery System Shipment
* 2F Performance Testing of Shipping Containers for LTL Shipment National MotorFreight Traffic Classification Item 180 NCC/LTL
* 3A Packaged-Products 150 lb (70 kg) or Less for Parcel Delivery SystemShipment
* 3B Project: Packaged Products for Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Shipment
* 3E Unitized Loads of Same Product
* 3F Packaged Products for Distribution Center to Retail Outlet Shipment 100 lb(45 kg)
* 3H Performance Test for Products or Packaged-Products in Mechanically HandledBulk Transport Containers
* 6-FEDEX FedEx Procedures for Testing Packaged-Products (Under or Over 150pounds)
* 6-SAMSCLUB Packaged-Products for Sam’s Club® Distribution System Shipment
* 7A Open Reusable Transport Containers for Loads of 60 lbs (27 kg) or Less andUnitized for Shipment on a Pallet [Note: This is a PROJECT, not yet aPROCEDURE]
* 7B Closed Reusable Transport Containers for Loads of 150 lb (68 kg) or Less
* 7C Reusable Intermediate Bulk Containers
* 7D Thermal Controlled Transport Packaging for Parcel Delivery System Shipment
* 7E Testing Standard for Thermal Transport Packaging Used in Parcel DeliverySystem Shipment [Note: This is a STANDARD and is subject to differentcertification rules. Click herefor more details.]
The various tests can be organized in several ways, as follows:
* 1-Series: Non-Simulation Integrity Performance Tests. Challenge the strengthand robustness of the product and package combination. Not designed to simulateenvironmental occurrences. Useful as screening tests, particularly when used asa consistent benchmark over time.
* 2-Series: Partial Simulation Performance Tests. Tests with at least oneelement of 3-Series type General Simulation performance test, such asatmospheric conditioning or mode-shaped random vibration and at least oneelement of a 1-Series type non-simulation integrity test.
* 3-Series: General Simulation Performance Tests. Designed to provide alaboratory simulation of the damage-producing forces and conditions oftransport environments. Applicable across broad sets of circumstances, such asa variety of vehicle types and routes, or a varying number of handlingexposures. Characteristics will include simple shaped random vibration,different drop heights applied to the sample package, and/or atmosphericconditioning such as tropical wet or winter/frozen.
* 4-Series: Enhanced Simulation Performance Tests. In many ways similar toGeneral Simulation tests, but incorporating the latest information onenvironmental hazards, and with test sequences based on user-defineddescriptions of distribution means. Not currently in use, but underdevelopment.
* 5-Series: **Not currently an active Series** Focused Simulation PerformanceTests. Guides to providing a laboratory simulation based on actual fieldmeasured hazards and levels.
* 6-Series: Member Performance Tests. Test protocols created by ISTA members tomeet their particular purposes and applications. The tests may be completelyoriginal, or may be modifications or variations of ISTA Procedures or Projects,or other published and accepted tests. ISTA reviews and approves these tests,but primary responsibility for creation, validation, maintenance, revision andsupport rests with the originating member(s).
* 7-Series: Development Tests. These tests are used in the development oftransport packages. They can be used to compare relative performance of two ormore container designs, but are not intended to evaluate the protectionafforded packaged-products.
1-Series tests are typically quite basic, usually require relatively low-costequipment, and can be performed by moderately skilled operators. In terms ofdamage prediction/prevention and overall system cost optimization, however, thehigher-series tests can be more effective.1-Series protocols can reasonably beexpected to be screening tests, with an increasing expectation ofpredictability through 5-Series. Whether this is true in any specific caseneeds to be evaluated by comparing lab and distribution results. This importantvalidation process should be a part of each user's normal operations.
By Distribution Mode or Type:
Any distribution mode; Individual packages weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or less:ISTA 1A, 1C, 1G, 2A
Any distribution mode; Individual packages weighing over 150 lb (68 kg):ISTA1B, 1D, 1H, 2B
Individual packages, small parcel delivery mode: ISTA 3A, 2D, 2E
Individual packaged, LTL delivery mode: ISTA 2F, 3B
Unitized load, any distribution mode: ISTA 1E, 3E
Reusable systems, any distribution mode: ISTA 3H
Furniture packages: ISTA 2C
Non-unitized DC to retail: ISTA 3F
Open container: ISTA 7A
Closed container: ISTA 7B
Intermediate Bulk Container (IBC): ISTA 7C
Thermal performance: ISTA 7D or ISTA 7E
This information can be found on the ISTA website with additional detail.
To determine applicable tests for any given situation, the list may be narroweddown based on the above information. Then each individual Procedure or Projectshould be examined in detail to arrive at the one best suited.
Contact ISTA Headquarters for help with test interpretation (email@example.com/ +1 517-333-3437). Assistance with test selection in specific circumstancesand/or problem situations is available as a service from many ISTA labs,consultants, and members.
Source: ISTA Staff