ISTA 3E Pallet Integrity Testing

ISTA 3E Package Testing General Simulation Testing of Unitized Loads

ISTA 3E testing avaluates unitized loads encountered during handling and transportation. As an ISTA and ISO 17025 certified lab, we realize the importance of unitized load package testing. Meeting the ISTA 3E testing requirements can be difficult. We understand the challenges and guide companies through the process.

Keystone Package Testing partners with customers to achieve package compliance. Keystone also takes a consultative approach throughout the entire test program. We are in constant communication throughout the test process. Likewise, we aim to provide an accurate test plan to eliminate expensive over-testing.

Request a quote and find out first hand about our competitive pricing, timely process, and outstanding reputation. Have a question about ISTA series 3E package testing? Contact us and we will determine the best course of action.

Summary of ISTA 3E Package Integrity Compliance Testing

ISTA Procedure 3E shipping tests are the tests designed for similarly packaged products in unitized loads for truckload shipments. This procedure covers the testing of unitized loads made up of either single or 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 a 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.

ISTA 3E Pallet Integrity Testing Procedures

The ISTA 3E 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 in 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 for the ISTA 3E testing protocol are the ISTA 3E 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 used for package validation:

 Sequence # Test CategoryTest TypeTest LevelFor ISTA Certification
 1Atmospheric PreconditioningTemperature and Humidity Ambient Required
 2Atmospheric ConditioningControlled Temperature and Humidity Temperature and Humidity chosen from chart Optional
 3Shock (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
 5Compression (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

ISTA 3E Pallet Integrity Package Laboratory Testing

Are you ready to work with the best e-commerce package and ISTA-certified testing facility? We pride ourselves on assisting shippers throughout the entire package testing process.

Our team of engineers and technicians takes a proactive approach to assist customers in overcoming failures. Having tested hundreds of units, they can recommend different package designs and materials.

Keystone can also 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:


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