Impact Package TestingPackage Impact Testing

What is Impact Package Testing?

Similar to drop testing, impact integrity testing evaluates the design of shipping containers, pallets, or packaging against the force of impacts. Specifically, impact testing determines the protection of contents inside packaging systems against shocks.

At Keystone Package Testing, manufacturers have the choice of testing to numerous different ASTM, ISTA, and impact test methods. Depending on which standard is performed, impact testing may include:

  • Bridge Impact
  • Concentrated Impact
  • Concentrated Edge Impact
  • Inclined Impact

Keystone realizes the importance of impact compliance testing. Meeting specific impact integrity requirements can be difficult. Our engineers understand the challenges and guide companies through the process.

As one of the fastest-growing test labs in the country, Keystone Package Testing offers immediate scheduling, constant communication, and product troubleshooting. Ready to get started? Request a quote and see why so many customers trust Keystone Package Testing for their impact integrity test needs.

Why is impact testing important?

Impact testing is useful for the simulation of impacts such as those encountered in manual and mechanical handling transportation. This test type replicates shocks that occur in the handling of packages or shipping units. These impacts may occur by adjacent fright jostling, accidental bumps against other freight, when loaded or unloaded from vehicles, etc.

No matter the reason for the impact, units are always susceptible to damage. Impact testing assists manufacturers determine weak points in packaging and packaging systems when subjected to the day-to-day transportation cycle.

Unfortunately, poor packaging can be expensive and lead to loss of customer loyalty, product replacements, and unnecessary interruptions and delays. With the proper testing and certification, unwanted costs can be significantly reduced or eliminated.

Impact Compliance Test Procedures

For most test procedures, choosing the correct number of samples and conditioning is an important part of the standard. Large productions of a unit require more sampling to accurately represent the performance of the impact test.

It is recommended that the actual packaging content be used in the performance of these tests. If this is not possible, a dummy load is acceptable.

Conditioning is the act of preparing the unit in the specific atmosphere it will be transported in. This is conducted before the start of the test. ASTM D4332: Conditioning Packages or Packaging Components is the most common standard for the conditioning of a package.

First, the face(s) or edge(s) being tested are identified. Before the start of the test, acceptance criteria are established. Using a pendulum, backstop, or predetermined load, the package or pallet is subjected to impacts. Generally, this test is conducted until failure occurs. However, it is up to the manufacturer to determine the pass or fail criteria.

The information below is collected and organized into a report for the manufacturer. The following information is not intended to be all-inclusive.

  • Date, time, and name of the engineer conducting the testing
  • Description of the contents
  • Description of the test specimen
  • Description of the test sequence
  • Method of conditioning
  • Results of the damage to the test specimen or its contents (if any)

Keystone Impact Test Equipment and Capabilities

Our impact test machines are capable of precise drops from different heights and angles. Keystone Package Testing owns shakers up to 12 kip, and multiple compression/tensile testers.

Additionally, Keystone also utilizes multiple atmospheric chambers capable of simulating altitudes up to 70,000 feet. We operate dozens of thermal chambers ranging from large walk-in to reach-in chambers. These chambers can accommodate up to entire vehicles and large pieces of equipment.

ASTM D880: Impact of Shipping Containers

ASTM D880 covers two methods for conducting impact tests on shipping containers and systems. Procedure A evaluates the ability of a container or unit to withstand impacts. Procedure B evaluates the ability of a container, unit, or interior packaging to protect its contents.

Either of the two procedures can test different designs of containers of the same size. The unit is positioned so that the predetermined impact velocity is obtained and released. The cycle continues by repeating the impact or increasing the impact velocity. ASTM D880 testing is carried out until failure occurs.

ASTM D5265: Bridge Impact

Bridge impact compliance testing determines the ability of a long package with a narrow cross-section to resist impact near its center. However, this package test is only applicable when the package is supported only at its ends.

Method A uses a free-fall drop tester. A free-fall drop from the height of 16 inches is created to reach an impact velocity of 111 in/s. On the other hand, method B uses Simulated Mechanical Impact Testing Equipment (S.M.I.T.E). For this procedure, the impactor will strike the package with a velocity of 48 in/s. 

ASTM D6344: Concentrated Impacts of Transportation

ASTM D6344 evaluates filled transport packages for resistance against concentrated low-level impacts. These impacts are typically encountered during the transportation life cycle. Examples of impacts include:

  • Adjacent freight jostling
  • Accidental bumps
  • Loading or unloading from vehicles
  • Sorting on conveyors or chutes
  • Manual and mechanical handling

During the testing procedure, a pendulum device is used to conduct vertical impacts. The height of the cylindrical mass is released to produce a specific desired energy at impact. If higher  concentrated impacts are needed, the test may be modified in two ways:

  1. Adding more mass to the cylindrical apparatus
  2. Increasing the drop height of the cylindrical apparatus

Don’t see a standard you are looking for? Contact us to further discuss our professional testing capabilities.

Expert Impact Regulatory Compliance Testing

In addition to impact integrity testing, Keystone has a full scope of expertise including altitude, compression, and burst strength testing. We provide competitive pricing and volume discounts. Our ISO 17025 accredited facility has a reputation for helping customers achieve their impact package integrity certifications. 

Contact us to learn firsthand why so many companies partner with Keystone to achieve their impact integrity requirements. Request a quote to receive testing services customized to your specific needs.


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