What is Altitude Package Testing?
Altitude package testing is performed to evaluate pressure differentials for a specific mode of transportation in the distribution cycle.
Modes of transportation may include feeder aircraft or ground transportation of high mountain passes. A feeder aircraft is considered a potentially non-pressurized aircraft used to transport express air packages to remote locations.
Keystone Package Testing is an ISO 17025 and ISTA accredited test laboratory able to provide any altitude package testing needs. Our engineers take a consultative approach throughout the entire test process and we offer immediate emergency scheduling.
Why is Altitude Package Testing Important?
The purpose of package testing is to ensure that packages can withstand distribution and keep the product protected until it reaches the end consumer. Damaged products can create costly damage fees, return shipments, and lost customer loyalty.
Packages are negatively affected by the result of pressure differentials. These can range up to 19,000 ft. If there are bubbles that can be attributed to leaks in a unit, the unit has failed. This includes during the rise of vacuum or when held at full pressure.
Flexible packages are considered to be packages made of flexible material that can readily be changed. These types of packaging are extremely susceptible to altitude testing. Contrary to its intention, leaks during the transportation cycle allow contents to escape or unwanted substances to enter.
Altitude Integrity Testing Process
First, specimens are chosen to adequately represent the performance of the test. A recommended number of samples is given by our expert package test engineers. Each sample must consist of products that will be used during the transportation system. If this is unattainable, products will need to be as comparable to the original product as possible.
When these packages or packaging systems are exposed to these altitudes, the units will be negatively affected resulting from the pressure differential.
The package is conditioned to ambient laboratory temperature and humidity. Temperatures can range from 20 to 40 C while ambient humidity is generally 50%.
Testing procedures may vary depending on which test manufacturers and distributors choose. The unit is placed in a vacuum chamber and a specific pressure is attained. The unit is then removed from the vacuum chamber and examined for any damage or deformation.
Lastly, the test report will include basic information such as:
- Temperature and humidity of conditioning
- Vacuum, temperature, and duration of the testing
- Description of the product and internal packaging
- Number of specimens used and number of failures (if any)
- Date, time, and name of the test engineer
Keystone Altitude Package Testing Equipment and Capabilities
Keystone Package Testing utilizes multiple atmospheric chambers capable of simulating altitudes up to 70,000 feet. Additionally, we operate dozens of thermal chambers. These range from reach-in to walk-in chambers that can accommodate entire vehicles and large pieces of equipment.
Test Methods ASTM D3078, ASTM D4991, and ASTM D5094, test for leakage of packaging systems by vacuum method. Don’t see what you are looking for? Contact us for more information on our extensive package test scope.
ASTM D3078 detects gross leaks in flexible packaging containing a headspace gas. The size of the leak detected depends on the products contained, the nature of the packaging material, and test parameters.
The standard uses a vacuum chamber to determine if there are bubbles attributable to leaks in a specimen. This is determined during the rise of vacuum or when held at full vacuum. If a leak is present, the specimen fails the test.
ASTM D4991 determines the resistance of leakage under differential pressure conditions for empty containers. The standard is also suitable for testing some hazardous liquids.
The standard is used to test rigid containers intended for the transportation of some liquids by air. ASTM D4991 is carried out by pressurizing an empty rigid container in a solution and subjecting it to a gradually increasing vacuum.
ASTM D5094 evaluates closure/container integrity with threaded or lug-style closures. This is tested by gross leaks in rigid and semi-rigid containers. The test indicates if a container can survive the distribution without leaking.
ASTM D5094 also tests the ability of containers to prevent leakage when stored or transported upright, inverted, or on the side. There are two test methods for ASTM D5094. Test method A is vibration and storage testing. Test method B is vibration and vacuum chamber testing. Though test method B is less severe than test method A, it is also a shorter test procedure.
ASTM D6653 determines the effects of pressure differential when packaged products face certain transportation modes. This includes feeder aircraft or ground over high mountain passes.
Expert Altitude Integrity Compliance Testing
At Keystone, constant communication and expedited reports are the norm. Keystone Package Testing provides the peace of mind that all your package testing needs are met. This ultimately helps our customers focus on R&D rather than package compliance testing.
Over-testing is the process of testing packages to more than a test requirement calls for. Our engineers avoid over-testing by getting the job done right the first and only time. We offer product troubleshooting assistance when packages do not meet compliance standards.
Ready to get started? Request a quote and see why so many companies trust Keystone with their packaging integrity testing.