ASTM D999 Standard Test Methods for Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers
The scope of ASTM-D999 package testing covers vibration testing of filled shipping containers. These tests assess the performance of a container. The package testing of this standard considers the interior packing and means of closure. The performance is based on the strength and protection it provides its contents when it is subjected to vibration.
The test specimen consists of the container loaded with interior packaging and the actual contents. The contents can use blemished or rejected products as long as any defects are recorded prior to testing. When possible, five or more replicable tests should be conducted to improve the statistical reliability of the data obtained. Exposure to vibration can affect the shipping container, its interior packaging, contents and means of closure. The testing in ASTM D999 permits an analysis of the interaction of these components.
This packaging test standard is suitable for testing containers of any form, material, kind, design of interior packing, means of closure, size and weight. ASTM-D-999 testing includes four methods:
- A1: Repetitive shock test (vertical motion). These tests are suitable for tests of individual containers that are transported unrestrained on the bed of a vehicle. These tests are suitable for containers that are subjected to repetitive shocks due to magnification of vibrations in unit loads or stacks.
- A2: Repetitive shock test (rotary motion). This method is identical as similar to method A1. The difference is the vibration motion. Even though there are similarities, the results of these two methods may not correlate with each other.
- B: Single container resonance test. This method is ideal for individual containers and their internal packaging to protect the contents from vibration. The vibration is generated from transportation and the focus is on the resonant responses.
- C: Palletized load, unitized load or vertical resonance test. This method focuses on the resonance frequency of palletized loads and multiple unit stacked loads. The goal is to determine if the strength of the container is sufficient to withstand dynamic loads when stacked.
Why is testing vibration important? Shipping containers are constantly exposed to dynamic stresses caused by vibrations. Vibration resonances can be extreme and lead to package and product failure. To minimize this damage, identification of critical frequencies and package stresses is important.
A completed ASTM D999 test report should include the following:
- Identification and description of the test specimens, including the container, the interior packaging, and the product (give size, weight, and any other pertinent details).
- If Method C is used for unitized loads, describe the unitized load and the height of the stack, and the unitizing method employed.
- Purpose of the test and the applicable performance specification, if any.
- Sequence of test methods and the test intensities, frequencies, and durations used. State whether random or swept sine input was used to determine resonance frequencies. If random, report the spectrum used.
- Verification of compliance with the test method or describe any deviations.
- Number of replications of each test.
- Atmospheric conditions the test specimens were subjected to, both prior and during the test.
- Any other test the specimens were subjected to prior to this test.
- Description of the apparatus and the instrumentation used, including the date of last calibration.
- Detailed descriptions and photographs of the fixturing used in the test.
- Results of the test.
- Descriptions and photographs of any damage or deterioration to the containers or their contents as a result of the test(s).
- State whether the damage created in the laboratory testing replicates actual field damage to the container and contents.
- All resonant responses and any observations that may assist in correct interpretation of results or lead to improvements in the design of the container, interior packaging, or product.
- Statement of whether or not the specimen(s) complied with the requirements of the applicable specification.
- For Methods A1 and A2, describe any adjustments made to the test frequency during the test.
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