GM 1738NA Package Testing

GM 1738NA Package Testing of Production Parts

General Motors requires GM Suppliers to work with them to reduce product damage from poor packaging. To accomplish this, GM advocates continual improvement in packaging strategies. The goal is to ensure production parts arrive at General Motors assembly plants in undamaged conditions.

What are the Objectives of GM 1738NA Package Testing?

The 1738NA package test standard has several objectives. Foremost, packages and pallets must effectively contain and protect the production parts.

Another GM packaging objective is the reduction of inventory. This is accomplished through smaller lot size ordering. The opening of packaging or access of parts should be as streamlined as possible. The packaging should allow for workspace flexibility and minimize the amount of operator walk time.

Effective packaging of automotive parts should provide efficient and ergonomically acceptable manual and/or mechanical handling. Packaging should also provide for effective use of plant space, trailers, and railcars, e.g., through high-density packing.

Suppliers must also provide for the final disposition of obsolete packing materials by maximizing recycling and minimizing disposal. General Motors requires suppliers to maintain production containers at their designated facilities until the end of a model year program.

How Do General Motors and Suppliers Work Together to Optimize Packaging?

General Motors suppliers are encouraged to work with the assembly plants to continually improve packaging strategies. Several aspects of operations can require changes to a product’s packaging. One of the most noticeable changes includes changes in plant facilities.

Other changes that can require modifications in packaging include changes in sales volumes, part designs, packaging technologies, and handling technologies. General Motors demands constant attention to supplier packaging. This guarantees that the safest and most economical packaging is consistently utilized.

It is the supplier’s responsibility to ensure compliance with the GM1738 Packaging Specifications at all times. Obtaining the acknowledgment of a completed packaging plan is a PPAP requirement. Any change in the packaging plan must be obtained in OLCT.

What are the General Motors Package Testing Requirements?

The GM package testing requirements vary based on the type of product and package.

Expendable and standard containers with expendable dunnage

These products must be validated by the supplier prior to the first shipment to the GM receiving location. There must be documentation that proves validation tests have been completed. These tests are ASTM D4169 or ISTA 3E.

ISTA 3E automotive packaging testing and ASTM D4169 automotive package testing include shock and vibration tests. These tests assure part and component quality. Compression testing is also included to validate the pack’s stacking strength.

Conditioning is optional; however, the safety factor must be greater than 3.5. The safety factor is an index used to identify the minimum stacking strength a pack requires based on its own loaded weight. For example, a 100-pound pallet must be able to withstand a minimum weight of 350 pounds stacked on top of it.

Compression testing on standard containers is not required.

In some cases, additional corrosion tests are required. The baseline testing of corrosion in shipping shall be 100% Relative Humidity at 100 ˚F for ½ of the shipping time or 168 hours, whichever is longer. The shipping time must include staging time. This requirement is for reference only. The engineering requirements supersede this baseline

Corrugated material used in shipping containers

These materials must have adequate strength to withstand the test of usage. The parts and container must arrive in satisfactory condition at the usage point. A minimum of 44 pounds per inch width edge crush (ECT) or 275 pounds per square inch burst test is required for all corrugated material.

Expendable containers must be validated by the Supplier before the first shipment to the GM receiving location. The documentation must prove validation tests have been completed. These test standards are ASTM D4169 package testing or ISTA 3E package testing.

Similar to expendable and standard containers with expendable dunnage, these tests include shock, vibration, and compression testing. Conditioning is again optional. However, the safety factor must be greater than 3.5.

What is ISTA 3E General Motors Package Testing?

The scope of ISTA 3E package testing for GM parts contains seven test sequences. The first two tests are atmospheric preconditioning and atmospheric conditioning. The next two packaging test blocks are shock tests. The first is a horizontal impact. The second shock test is a rotational edge drop test.

Following the shock testing is compression testing. This compression test can be completed with either a compression machine or weights and a load spreader. Following the compression tests is vibration testing. The vibration tests are at a random vibration. The final test method is another test sequence of rotational edge drop testing.

For more information on ISTA 3E testing, please visit our ISTA 3E page.

What is ASTM D4169 General Motors Package Testing?

ASTM D4169 package testing provides the evaluation of the shipping unit’s ability to withstand the distribution environment. The ASTM standard package test outlines a test plan of anticipated transportation hazards. These hazards replicate the shipping container stress as a form of packaging performance testing.

ASTM-D4169 package testing has a series of test schedules. These package test schedules include:

  • Schedule A: Handling, manual and mechanical.
  • Schedule B: Warehouse stacking test methods.
  • Schedule C: Vehicle stacking test requirements.
  • Schedule D: Stacked vibration.
  • Schedule E: Vehicle vibration.
  • Schedule F: Load testing.
  • Schedule G: Rail switching.
  • Schedule H: Environmental hazards.
  • Schedule I: Low-pressure hazard testing.
  • Schedule J: Concentrated impact.

Expert GM 1738 Package Integrity Compliance Testing

Keystone Compliance can assist with all of your package testing needs including to GM-1738-NA package testing. With significant experience, we can develop test plans to expedite the process and keep costs as low as possible. Our test labs feature multiple shakers, drop testers, and compression machines. We have dozens of temperature and humidity chambers.

Our knowledge and capacity provide short lead times on scheduling and quick turnarounds on reports. As an ISTA-certified test lab, our reports will be accepted globally. Please contact us to request a quote and see firsthand why so many GM Suppliers work with us to meet their GM package testing needs.

Other Testing Capabilities

Environmental Testing

In addition to traditional package testing, Keystone Compliance also offers a large scope of mechanical testing. We have a multitude of temperature and humidity chambers of various sizes and capabilities. We have several thermal shock chambers that allow us to complete thermal shock testing. Need to test an entire vehicle? Not a problem, we have the chamber capacity and room to complete the work. Our environmental test scope includes:

EMC/EMI Testing

Lastly, if your product or component has electronics, we offer electromagnetic compatibility testing. Our EMC test lab features nine separate test chambers. Our scope includes:


Regardless of your testing need, Keystone Compliance has the solution. Please contact us to request a quote and experience firsthand why so many manufacturers partner with us to meet their regulatory compliance testing needs.