NMFC 180 Package Testing

National Motor Freight Classification 100-AV ITEM 180 Performance Testing

As a Freight Classification Development Council (FCDC) certified lab, we realize the importance of NMFC 100-AV ITEM 180, also known as ‘Rule 180’ package compliance testing. Meeting the National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) package testing requirements can be difficult. We understand the challenges and guide companies through the process

Keystone Package Testing provides comprehensive reports shortly after the completion of the testing. We have a reputation for helping customers achieve their package certifications. Furthermore, our accurate test reports are delivered quickly and we are in constant communication throughout the test process.

Request a quote and find out first hand about our competitive pricing, timely process, and outstanding reputation. Contact us to receive more information on ITEM 180 compression compliance testing.

Summary of NMFC ITEM 180 Package Testing

NMFC ITEM 180 refers to a set of guidelines and standards established by the National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA) for conducting package integrity testing. It provides a comprehensive framework to evaluate the strength and durability of packaging materials used for shipping various commodities.

The primary purpose of NMFC ITEM 180 is to prevent damages, spills, leaks, or any other form of package failure during transportation. Additionally, the NMFC 100-AV ITEM 180 package testing standard evaluates the integrity of a pallet when providing an acceptable assurance level of packaging.

For the package to be authorized by this standard, the package must pass the pre-shipment tests. Multiple test specimens are recommended. However, all specimens must pass.

NMFC 100-AV ITEM 180 Package Testing Procedures


Generally, all specimen are conditioned in a minimum atmosphere of 23 ℃ and 50% relative humidity. This is conducted for at least 24 hours for paper-based packaging. For all others, the specimen is conditioned for at least 12 hours.

Compression and Vibration

Two methods are permissible for this portion of the Rule 180 test standard.

Method A: Stacked Compressive Load/Vibration

Shipping units must be vibration tested under a stacked compressive load. This is done using either an identical shipping unit or concentrated dead weight. The concentrated dead load must consist of the following:

  • Corrugated trays or half-slotted-containers
  • A plywood sheet with a minimum thickness of 0.5in
  • Sand contained in bags that are evenly distributed over the bottom surface.

Either the identical shipping unit or concentrated dead weight load are properly positioned on the shipping unit. ASTM D4169, assurance level II, is used for random vibration under a stacked compressive load. Vibrations are conducted on face 3 for one hour. Vibrations are conducted on faces 4 and 6 for 30 minutes each.

Method B: Separate Compressive Load/Vibration

When testing a package to Method B, the compression test is conducted first. Then. the same shipping unit is vibration tested. 

Compression testing is conducted on faces 3, 4, and 6. The tests are conducted using a compression machine (per ASTM D642) or a constant load (per ASTM D4577). Vibration testing is performed on all 3 faces using the same shipping units. Face 3 is tested for 1 hour. Faces 4 and 6 are tested for 30 minutes each.

Impact and Handling

After the completion of the compression and vibration tests, the units under testing are subjected to one of three different procedures. The same shipping units are used for impact and handling

Procedure A:

For packages having no external attached or integral pallet or skid and not in a palletized load. This procedure involves performing a free-fall drop test per ASTM D5276.

Procedure B:

For individual packages with external attached or integral pallets/skids, including crates. Procedure B performs a Rotational Flat Drop Test according to ASTM D6179.

Procedure C:

For palletized loads made up of a multiple number of containers or unitized loads of a bulk configuration. This procedure requests the unit to be subjected to Procedure B and a fork truck handling test under ASTM D6055.

Concentrated Impacts

In addition to completing the testing program above, wrapped packages must be tested to conform with ASTM D6344: Standard Test Method for Concentrated Impacts to Transport Packages.

Results and Report

Keystone’s engineers pride themselves on providing quick report turnaround times. After the completion of this Freight Classification Development Council (FCDC) standard, specific information is gathered within the report of this test program. This information includes details such as the following. Note that this list is not intended to be all-inclusive.

  • Shipper requesting tests
  • Description of the article including model number, size, weight, and other distinguishing features
  • Description of shipping unit including specifications of the container and interior packaging
  • Testing performed
  • Test conditions
  • Acceptance criteria
  • Condition of specimens
  • Name of the lab testing engineer, date, email address, etc.
  • Test results

Significance of NMFC 180 Package Integrity Testing

Package integrity testing, as mandated by NMFC ITEM 180, ensures that products are adequately protected throughout their journey. Rigorous testing methods help identify weaknesses in packaging materials, such as boxes, drums, bags, or containers, which might lead to product damage. By evaluating package integrity, potential hazards such as moisture, temperature variations, impacts, vibrations, and compression forces can be mitigated. Ultimately, this will reduce the risk of product spoilage or loss.

Additionally, package failures can result in significant financial losses for both manufacturers and shippers. Damaged goods not only incur direct costs of replacement or repair but can also lead to indirect costs such as customer dissatisfaction, lost sales, and reputational damage.

Lastly, NMFC ITEM 180 package integrity testing can also act as a proactive measure to minimize supply chain disruptions and enhance overall efficiency. By identifying packaging vulnerabilities beforehand, companies can take corrective actions, optimize packaging designs, and streamline their logistics operations.

Expert NMFC 100-AV ITEM 180 Package Testing Facility

Keystone Package Testing can accommodate flexible and rigid packages of all sizes, including large pallets. We have a full lab of test equipment which permits us to provide short lead times on scheduling. Our team strives to give our customers more time and energy on product development instead of testing.

Contact us to learn first hand why so many companies partner with Keystone to achieve their NMFC 100-AV ITEM 180 compliance test needs.


Please follow the links below for more information on Freight Classification Development Council (FCDC) and National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) testing.


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