ASTM D5487 Standard Test Method for Simulated Drop of Loaded Containers by Shock Machines

The ASTM D 5487 shipping container test standard provides the general procedures of using shock machines to replicate the effects of vertical drops. The standard covers testing of bags, shipping containers, cylindrical containers and sacks.

ASTM-D-5487 package testing is an important standard because shock is one of the most troublesome hazards a package can endure. The standard defines the criteria by which containers and their contents are determined to be protected from the hazards encountered in handling, storage and transportation.

Controlled shocks input by a shock machine can provide a more accurate assessment than a free-fall drop. The test standard points out that testing has shown that non-perpendicular drops two degrees off perpendicularity, result in 8% lower acceleration into the test specimen. This results in the impact energy dispersing in several axis.

There are two test methods used by ASTM D5487 test labs. Method A is the Unrestrained Test Method. This test method places the shipping container on the center of the shock machine table. The table is raised to the predetermined machine drop height, and release the table. Movement of the specimen

should be controlled so that a second impact is prevented. Motorcycle bungee cord netting has been successfully used to prevent test specimens from rebounding from the shock machine table during impact. One shock test is performed. The container is examined to determine if damage has occurred. Where applicable, the contents are functionally tested to determine if damage has occurred. Once that is complete, shock testing should continue until the required members have been impacted.

The second test method is Test Method B, the Restrained Test Method. The first step is to identify the shipping container faces in accordance with Test Method D5276. The shipping container is placed on the center of the shock machine table. The movement of the loaded container is restrained so that the shock pulse is directly transmitted to the test specimen. The table is raised to the predetermined machine drop height and the table is released. One shock test is performed. The product and container are examined and functionally tested to determine if damage has occurred. Once that is complete, the shock testing is continued until the required members in accordance with Test Method D5276 have been impacted.

Per the ASTM D5487 shock testing standard, the following items should be included in the test report:

  • Method, if any, of conditioning the shipping container, the moisture content of the wood, plywood, or fiberboard, if determined, and the results of supplementary tests of the materials from which the specimen is made.
  • The dimensions of the container under test.
  • Complete structural specifications.
  • Materials used.
  • Description and specifications for blocking and cushioning, if used.
  • Spacing, size, and kind of fasteners.
  • Method of closing and strapping, if any.
  • Tare and gross masses.
  • Description of the contents of the shipping container under test.
  • Description of the apparatus and special instrumentation, if used.
  • Description of the prescribed test sequence, identifying the member being impacted for each drop (for example, the corner formed by the manufacturer’s joint, if applicable, and the number of drops).
  • Velocity change, free-fall drop height, input shock duration, and the response natural frequency, determined in accordance with Test Methods D999, or its shock duration.
  • Number of specimens tested per sample.
  • Detailed record of test on each specimen, including damage to the shipping container and contents, together with any other observation which may assist in correctly interpreting the results or aids in improving the design of the container or the method of packing, blocking, or bracing.
  • Dates of last calibration of the test equipment and instrumentation.
  • Statement listing any deviations from this test method.
  • Complete description of any fixturing used for positioning corner and edge drops.

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