NMFC 181 Package Testing

National Motor Freight Classification 100-AV ITEM 181 Package Testing

As a Freight Classification Development Council (FCDC) registered testing lab, we realize the importance of National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) testing. Meeting the NMFC requirements can be difficult. We understand the challenges and guide companies through the process.

Keystone Package Testing creates an accurate test plan to eliminate expensive over-testing. Keystone also takes a consultative approach throughout the entire test program. Our pricing is competitive and we offer volume discounts. Keystone provides the peace of mind that all of your needs will be met.

Request a quote to receive testing services customized to your specific needs. Contact us to receive more information on NMFC ITEM 181 testing.

Summary of NMFC 100-AV ITEM 181 Package Testing

ITEM 181 is provided as an alternative for 100-AV ITEM 180. ITEM 181 is used to determine transportation problems and an acceptable assurance level for the packaging of furniture. Note that this standard only represents the normal handling and distribution of boxed furniture or furniture parts.

On the other hand, ITEM 181 does not apply to packages utilizing stretch or shrink plastic film wrap. The package testing standard only applies to furniture that is fully contained within corrugated fiberboard shipping containers.

NMFC ITEM 181 Package Testing Lab Procedures


First, the unit is conditioned in an atmosphere of 23 ℃ with a relative humidity of 50%. This is carried out for a minimum of 24 hours. Testing is generally performed in the same minimum atmosphere. Conditions are recorded for each test conducted.

Compression and Vibration

After conditioning the samples, one of two compression and vibration tests are performed.

Method A: Stacked Compressive Load/Vibration

When conducting method A, the shipping unit is vibration tested under a stacked compressive load. This is carried out using either an identical shipping unit or a concentrated dead weight.

Method B: Separate Compressive Load/Vibration

When subjecting shipping units to this test, the compression and vibration tests are performed separately. The compression test is either conducted in accordance with ASTM D642 or ASTM D4577. The vibration test is carried out in accordance with ASTM D4169.

Impact and Handling

Following the compression and vibration tests, the same shipping unit is subjected to one of the following impact/handling procedures.

Procedure A

Under 150 lbs, perform a free-fall drop test on size faces, three edges, and one corner.

Procedure B

Greater than 150 lbs, perform an inclined impact test according to ASTM D880, or a horizontal impact test.

Results and Report

Test methods, conditions, and results are recorded after the completion of the NMFC 100-AV ITEM 181 test. The report also encompasses information 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
  • Conditioning and test conditions
  • Acceptance criteria
  • Condition of specimens
  • Test results
  • Name of the lab testing engineer, date, email address, etc.

Significance of NMFC ITEM 181 Integrity Testing

The National Motor Freight Classification (NMFC) is a set of industry standards that categorizes and classifies various commodities transported by motor carriers. NMFC Item 181 specifically focuses on package integrity testing, which involves assessing the strength and durability of packaging materials used for shipping goods.

NMFC ITEM 181 package integrity testing plays a crucial role in safeguarding the contents of shipments during transportation. The NMFC standard helps identify damage, breakage, leakage, or any other form of compromise that may occur due to external forces or rough handling. By testing the packaging materials, such as boxes, pallets, or crates, for their strength and structural integrity, potential risks can be mitigated, reducing the likelihood of damage to the goods being transported.

Additionally, inadequate packaging can result in substantial financial losses for shippers, carriers, and consignees. Damaged goods not only incur replacement costs but can also lead to additional expenses such as insurance claims, freight claims, and operational disruptions. Implementing package integrity testing as per NMFC Item 181 standards helps identify weak points in the packaging, allowing for timely adjustments or improvements.

Expert NMFC 100-AV ITEM 181 Package Testing Facility

Keystone Package Testing partners with customers to achieve package compliance. When packages do not meet the requirements, we assist with finding solutions. Our team strives to give our customers more time and energy on product development instead of testing. We can accommodate flexible and rigid packages of all sizes, including large pallets.

Contact us to learn first hand why so many companies partner with Keystone to achieve their 100-AV ITEM 181 package testing requirements.


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


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