Drop Package Testing Laboratory

Drop Package Testing

What is Package Drop Integrity Testing?

Drop testing, also known as dynamic impact testing or drop integrity testing, determines the effects of random drops and repeated impacts. These drop tests simulate handling, shipping, and other field service conditions experienced during the shipping process.

More specifically, drop testing is a laboratory accelerated test designed to indicate structural and mechanical weaknesses not necessarily detected in shock and vibration tests.

Not to mention, drop test helps determine the survivability of a product’s packaging.

Dynamic impacts occur due to several factors:

  • Collisions against other freight when loaded or unloaded from vehicles.
  • Bumps or jostling during sorting on conveyors.
  • Careless acts by any person in the distribution cycle.

Packaging Drop Test Procedures

Keystone is an ISO 17025 accredited test laboratory capable of testing products to the package testing requirements of various drop testing standards.

The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) provide drop and transportation test methods to ensure packaged products are packaged so they can withstand the rigors of transit.

ISTA 3A: Parcel Delivery

ISTA 3A is a dynamic performance testing standard for individually packaged products shipped through a parcel delivery system. The ISTA 3A testing standard applies to four different types of packages commonly distributed as individual packages, either by air or ground.

There are 2 to 4 drop testing procedures. The drop quantity ranges from 17 to 19 drops. Depending on the product weight, drop heights may vary.

ISTA 3B: Less-Than-Truckload

The ISTA 3B shipping procedure is designed to test packaged products for less-than-truckload (LTL) shipments. The procedure is a general simulation test for the packaged products shipped through a motor carrier delivery system.

ISTA 3B provides 6 different drop procedures in the test program. These drops include tip over, free-fall, fully rotational, and concentrated edge. Generally, the package is dropped from a height of 16 inches. However, this may vary from 3 to 16 inches.

ISTA 3E: Unitized Loads

ISTA Procedure 3E shipping tests evaluate similarly packaged products in unitized loads for truckload shipments. This procedure covers the testing of unitized loads made up of single or multiple products or packages of similar products.

This standard requires two rotational edge drops. The drop height varies with the packaged-product weight.

ISTA 3F: Distribution to Retail

ISTA 3F compliance testing is for packaged pallets in mixed pallet loads for regional shipments that are 100 pounds or less. This standard is a general simulation test for packaged products shipped as individual packages from a distribution center to a retail outlet.

The program has two drop test procedures. The unit is dropped at 12 and 30 inches for test block 3. For test block 5, the packaged product is dropped at 18 and 24 inches.

ASTM D5276: Drop of Loaded Containers

ASTM D5276 evaluates testing loaded boxes, cylindrical containers, and bags/sacks by the free-fall drop test machine. This standard applies to containers that are less than 110 lbs. The standard also evaluates the container’s ability to protect its contents during the transportation cycle.

ASTM D5487: Simulated Drop by Shock Machines

ASTM D5487 covers the general procedures of using shock machines and drop testers to replicate the effects of vertical drops. ASTM D5487 applies to shipping containers and interior packaging materials. The packaging in this test must protect its contents from the hazards encountered in handling, transportation, and storage.

Additional Drop Package Testing Standards

Please visit the following links for more information in relation to drop package testing. Don’t see the standard you are looking for? Please contact us for more information on how we can assist you with your drop test needs.

Why is Package Drop Integrity Testing Important?

Drop package testing is a key component of a comprehensive quality control and risk management strategy for any business involved in shipping or handling goods. It ensures the physical integrity of products, leading to cost savings, enhanced customer satisfaction, and compliance with regulatory standards.

  • Product Protection – The primary purpose of drop package testing is to ensure that a product can survive the rigors of shipping and handling without sustaining damage. This involves dropping the package from various heights and angles to simulate real-world conditions.
  • Cost Efficiency – Damaged goods often result in returns, replacements, and refunds. All of these can significantly increase business costs. Effective packaging tested through drop tests can help reduce these costs.
  • Customer Satisfaction – A damaged product negatively affects consumer experience. Damaged packaging can harm the reputation of the company. On the other hand, ensuring products arrive in excellent condition helps improve customer satisfaction and brand image.
  • Regulatory Compliance – Certain industries have regulatory standards for packaging. Industries include medical and pharmaceutical, eCommerce, and consumer goods. Drop package testing helps ensure that these standards are met.

Expert Drop Testing Compliance Lab

Drop and impact testing are just two of the dynamic testing services that Keystone Package Testing is fully equipped to perform.

Our ISTA-accredited laboratory has an extensive scope of testing procedures for ASTM, ISTA, Amazon, and other international standards. This includes package integrity testing such as accelerated aging, forklift handling, and vibration testing. We can also test flexible and rigid packaging of any size.

Have a question about drop integrity testing? Contact us and we will determine the best course of action. Request a quote to learn why we are one of the fastest-growing package test labs in the country.


Interested in the EMC/EMI, climatic, dynamic, shielding effectiveness, or IP Code testing of a product? Follow the corresponding links or www.keystonecompliance.com for more information.