ISTA 3E Package Testing

ISTA Procedure 3E shipping tests are the tests designed for similar packaged products in unitized loads for truckload shipments. This procedure covers the testing of unitized loads made up of either single of multiple products or packages of similar products. These loads are prepared for shipment by way of a full truckload (FTL) delivery system carrier. FTL is designed as motor carrier shipment where an entire trailer load is filled with unitized packaged products. These are often retail packaged products intended for one single destination.

ISTA 3E requires one sample to be tested. This sample would be a unitized load. ISTA encourages testing on additional samples in order to obtain more accurate information. However, testing multiple loads is not required.

Care must be considered when sending samples to be tested to labs like Keystone Package Testing. Samples should be either overpackaged when sent to the lab or repackaged once they are at the lab. If this does not occur, the samples could provide inaccurate results because they were already weakened by the initial shipment to the lab. The actual testing could present weaknesses that might not actually exist.

It is important to document the configuration, materials and construction of the tested product and package. Significant variations in performance can sometimes be caused by seemingly insignificant differences. Taking photos is strongly encouraged.

The test sequence of this standard includes seven different steps. The first two steps are atmospheric preconditioning and conditioning. Preconditioning is essentially ensuring the test sample is at ambient room temperature prior to testing starting. The conditioning is the next step, which is exposing the sample to extreme environmental conditions. These can include extreme temperature, humidity and a combination of both.

After the conditioning, the next step is shock testing, which can be completed in one of two methods. One method is incline impact. The second method is horizontal impact. Once that shock testing is complete, the next test is a rotational edge drop test. Compression testing follows and can be completed one of three different ways. The choices are machine apply and release, machine apply and hold or weight and load spreader. The shipper has the ability to choose any of the three.

The final two steps are vibration and rotational edge drop. The vibration testing is a random vibration profile. Since the sample is a load, there are certain requirements prior to completing the vibration testing. The shaker table must include restraining devices. These devices will keep the sample on the shaker table and in the correct orientation. Most importantly, the restraining devices must be designed and implemented such that they do not restrict the vertical motion of the test specimen during the test.

Included below is a chart with details on the ISTA 3E test procedure and the test sequences:

 Sequence # Test CategoryTest TypeTest LevelFor ISTA Certification
 1 Atmospheric PreconditioningTemperature and Humidity Ambient Required
 2 Atmospheric ConditioningControlled Temperature and Humidity Temperature and Humidity chosen from chart Optional
 3 Shock (alternative methods allowed – select one test type) Inclined Impact (Conbur) 42in per second (1.1m per second) Required
 Horizontal Impact 42in per second (1.1m per second)
 4ShockRotational Edge Drop8in (200mm)Required
 5 Compression (alternative methods allowed – select one test type) Machine Apply and Release Calculated Test Force x 1.4 Required
 Machine Apply and Hold Calculated Test Force
 Weight and Load Spreader Calculated Test Load
6VibrationRandomOverall Grms Level of 0.54Required
7ShockRotational Edge Drop8in (200mm)Required

Are you ready to work with the best ISTA-certified test lab? We pride ourselves on assisting shippers throughout the entire package testing process. Our team of engineers and technicians take a proactive approach to assisting customers in overcoming failures. Having tested hundreds of units, they can recommend different package designs and materials. They also can help design the test plan to ensure over or under testing does not occur. Contact us to see why so many shippers partner with Keystone Package Testing for their ISTA 3E transit testing.

 

Other ISTA Standards: