ASTM D6344 Standard Test Method for Concentrated Impacts to Transport Packages

The purpose of the ASTM D6344 test method is to replicate the distribution environment for filled transport package resistance against concentrated low-level impacts. The test is recommended for thin fluted/lighter grade corrugated boxes or stretch-wrapped packaging. The test is conducted on a pass/fail basis of established criteria. During shipping, packages can encounter concentrated impacts from outside sources. This test will evaluate the package on how it resists the forces of those impacts. The impacts are meant to simulate real situations during distribution. They include but are not limited to: adjacent freight jostling in a transportation vehicle, accidental bumps during loading and unloading, and bumping during sorting on conveyers or chutes. The test will ultimately evaluate if packaging can sufficiently protect its contents from damage.

There are five (5) required apparatus for testing given by ASTM D6344:

  1. Cylindrical Mass with Full Radius (Hemispherical) End- a solid steel rod with one end rounded so that it forms a hemisphere. It can have a threaded eye-bolt attached for positioning and support- to the end for guided free fall drop and to the side when used as a pendulum
  2. Guided Free Fall- the mass of the cylindrical rod is allowed to freely fall through a tube and strike the test specimen with its rounded end. The rod must hit the package within 10 mm of the desired impact point. The package test surface must also be positioned perpendicular to the falling rod/tube prior to free fall.
  3. Non-Guided Free Fall- the rod may be dropped without the guidance of a tube. The rod will be suspended in such a way that it is perpendicular to the test package surface and will strike within 10 mm of the desired impact point.
  4. Pendulum- two cords will suspend the steel rod so that it can swing like a pendulum to hit the side of a package. When released, the pendulum must be perpendicular to the package test surface and strike within 10 mm of the desired impact point.
  5. Conditioning Apparatus- the test specimen should be conditioned to the appropriate humidity and temperature before testing begins.

The test specimen should consist of the package prepared with the actual contents. The package should be sealed the same as it would be for actual for the field. The number of test specimen necessary for samples is determined by how many are required to result in an accurate representation of performance throughout the distribution process.

To begin testing, the faces that will be tested should be identified. Generally, tests are conducted on the faces of the package that are most likely to receive low level impacts in the field. Identify the desired impact spot on the surfaces that will be tested. Establish the acceptance criteria prior to the start of testing. If the package requires conditioning, it is best to conduct the tests in the conditioned atmosphere. However, if this is not possible, then the test should be conducted immediately upon the removal of the package from the conditioned environment. Complete the tests from heights that product the desired energy at impact according to the tables in the ASTM D6344 procedure. When the test is completed, the testing laboratory will evaluate if the package has met the acceptance criteria and write a report accordingly.

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