ASTM D4728 Package Vibration Testing

ASTM D4728 Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers

ASTM D4728 package testing is a test method for random vibration simulation of filled shipping units. As an ISTA and ISO 17025 certified lab, we realize the importance of vibration testing of shipping containers. Meeting the ASTM D4728 requirements can be difficult. We understand the challenges and guide companies through the process.

We quickly deliver accurate test reports. Our proven process helps avoid product launch delays. Keystone Package Testing partners with customers to achieve package compliance. Keystone provides the peace of mind that all of your needs will be met.

Request a quote to see why so many companies partner with Keystone Package Testing. Have a question about vibration testing? Contact us and we will determine the best course of action.

Summary of ASTM D4728 Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers

ASTM D4728 Vibration test method for random vibration is a rigorous procedure that employs specialized equipment and methodologies to simulate transportation stresses. The test deploys processes to ensure the resilience and durability of packaging under vibration conditions.

ASTM D4728 covers the random vibration testing of filled shipping units. It can be used to test how a container performs in two ways.

  • Ruggedness – Assesses the interior packing and means of closure.
  • Protection – Assesses if the container provides adequate protection to its cargo when exposed to random vibrations.

ASTM D4728 is important because shipping containers are often exposed to many stresses throughout the distribution process. This ASTM D4728 test will mimic some of those stresses. After undergoing random vibration testing, the container can be assessed based on damage, or lack thereof.

Random vibration testing has advantages compared to sinusoidal resonance dwell or sweep tests. For example, the resonance buildups that occur during random vibration tests are not as intense. As a result, fatigue damage is minimized during random vibration testing as opposed to other types of testing.

The D4728 method for random vibration testing should be performed based on field data so that they are an accurate representation of shipping stresses. Testing laboratories may use actual field shipment effects to improve their confidence levels for simulated testing. Vibrations will affect the shipping container, its interior packaging, means of closure, and its contents.

Scope of ASTM D4728 Random Vibration Testing

The ASTM D4728 standard test method will allow each component to be analyzed. If the performance of any element is lacking, design modifications can be made. Modifications will help ensure that all the components of the shipping container are performing well during random vibrations.

Additionally, ASTM D4728 testing can be performed on any axis or orientation. However, different test levels may be used for other axis or orientations to accurately simulate field conditions of that container position.

ASTM D4728 requires four testing apparatuses.

1. Vibration Test System

Also known as the shaker, the vibration test system will have a table that can support the entire test specimen (shipping container). The table should also be capable of distributing the vibrations equally across the entire test surface.

2. Electronic Controls

The controls will generate vibrations. They are capable of producing the desired power spectral density at the table surface.

3. Closed Loop-Automatic Equalization

A closed-loop controller is required for this type of testing. This means that the controller automatically generates equalized drive signals. The operator will enter the desired PSD data and the equalized vibrations will achieve the desired PSD which will maintain the closed-loop control.

4. Instrumentation

Instrumentation devices such as accelerometers, signal conditioners, analyzers, data display, storage devices, and control techniques are required to measure PSD at the table surface. Instrumentation may also be beneficial in measuring the response of the test specimen throughout the test. Any instrument used should be accurate +/- 5 % across the frequency range specified.

ASTM D4728 Vibration Laboratory Testing Procedures

ASTM D4728 Vibration Testing subjects packaging to defined testing loading patterns


First, the procedure for ASTM D4728 begins with conditioning if necessary. If there aren’t conditioning requirements, it is recommended to condition if the container materials are climatically sensitive. To begin the test, the specimen shall be placed on the vibration table in its normal shipping orientation.

Test Setup

Next, the specimen should be secured to the table or have restraining devices that will prevent the container from moving off the table. It should also be able to move about 10mm (0.4in) in any direction when restrained.

Since random vibrations produce large but low-frequency displacements in an unpredictable sequence, the vibration levels mustn’t overshoot the PSD profile on startup. The integrity test should be initiated below the desired PSD and increased by a specified increment until the desired test level is reached.

Once the desired level is reached, the test duration begins. Startup/build-up time is not included in the test duration. The duration should be based on the requirement of test specifications or a predetermined period/amount of observable damage.

Test Report

After testing, the testing laboratory will compile a comprehensive report based on the D4728 guidelines. This includes:

  • Reference to this test, including any deviations from the standard
  • Identification of the product being tested
  • Method of mounting the product on the carriage of the shock test machine
  • Type of instrumentation used
  • Record of damage, including a photograph of product damage, if visible
  • Conditioning

Expert ASTM D4728 Laboratory Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers

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

Keystone Package Testing is proud to provide customers with reliable testing and reports. Our professional engineers are experienced and have a thorough knowledge of industry standards. Let’s get started! Request a quote or contact us at (724) 657-9940.


For more referenced ASTM standards and similar testing, please follow the links below:


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