ISTA 3K Fast Moving Consumer Packaging In the European Market

ISTA 3K Package Testing

ISTA 3K package testing simulates fast-moving consumer goods in the European Retail Supply Chain. As an ISTA and ISO 17025 certified lab, we realize the importance of transit performance testing. Meeting the ISTA 3K package testing requirements can be difficult. We understand the challenges and guide companies through the process.

Keystone takes a consultative approach throughout the entire test program. Our accurate test reports are delivered quickly. Additionally, we provide comprehensive reports shortly after the completion of the testing. Keystone provides the peace of mind that all of your needs will be met. 

Request a quote to see why so many companies partner with Keystone Package Testing. Contact us to receive more information on ISTA 3K package testing.

Summary of ISTA 3K Regulatory Transportation Package Testing

ISTA Procedure 3K shipping testing is the test standard for fast-moving consumer goods in the European retail supply chain. ISTA 3K is also known as Project 3K. This project is a general simulation test for packaged consumer products shipped through the multiple retail supply chain environment in Europe.

ISTA 3K integrity testing is designed for the range of packages commonly merchandised through large retail stores and convenience stores. The standard also includes shipments of store-specific mixed loads in roll cages and mixed pallets.

The environment for which ISTA 3K was designed is common in western European countries. These countries include the UK, France, Belgium, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Italy, Spain, and Switzerland. Project 3K can also be used for other European countries where large multiple retail environment infrastructure is developed.

ISTA 3K includes a variety of different package formats. They include the following:

  • Small shrink-wrapped trays of products. These could include groups of deodorant aerosols or glass jars.
  • Large shrink-wrapped trays of goods. Examples could be trays of cans of beverages or detergent packages.
  • Small corrugated cases or wraps. These could include shelf-ready corrugated cases for a snack product.
  • Large corrugated cases or wraps. An example would be a coalition of glass bottle of a beverage.
  • Shrink-wrap without a tray. This is common with drinks or paper products such as paper towels.
  • Various bags. Examples would include bags of dog food or packages of sugar or flour.

It is important to note that ISTA 3K only relates to the retailer-controlled parts of the supply chain. Separate testing should be completed at the unit load level to determine fitness with respect to full pallet shipment commonly controlled by the brand owner.

ISTA 3K analyzes several processes that occur at the packing level. For instance, pyramid-picking or overhanging stacks. This often occurs at the retailer distribution center as a result of the way other packages are selected from the unit load. Dragging the product is also considered. Carrying the product is an action simulated during testing. This is essentially lifting and carrying the package using the base or shrink-wrap as support. The package horizontal impacts are also simulated since these often occur through automated conveyor operations.

To complete the testing various packages are used. Test packages are used from the start to the end of testing. When multiple identical items are tested, all of them must pass all of the tests. Dummy packages are used throughout the testing process. This allows for accurate simulation of the real hazards experienced. The third type of product used is a roll cage fill package. These are used to enhance the effectiveness of the package hazard simulations.

The following chart includes an overview of the test sequences of ISTA 3K testing:

FormatTest CategoryTest TypeTest LevelFor ISTA Certification
PackageAtmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1Temperature and HumidityAmbient, frozen or chilled (to be selected as appropriate for the distribution and merchandising channel for the packaged product being tested)Required
PackagePicking TEST BLOCK 2Pyramid Pick (Overhand Stack)6-minute test durationRequired
PackagePicking TEST BLOCK 3Drag5-minute test durationRequired
PackagePicking TEST BLOCK 4Carry10 seconds static plus 5 cycles carry-oscillationRequired
PackageShock TEST BLOCK 5Placement Drop5 impacts in various orientations, 150mmRequired
PackageShock TEST BLOCK 6Drop-onImpacting top of the lower package, the base of upper package, 150mmRequired
PackageShock (OPTIONAL) TEST BLOCK 7Impact8 impacts at 1.35m/sOptional
Mixed LoadShock TEST BLOCK 8Impact4 impacts of 0.91m/sRequired
Mixed LoadVibration TEST BLOCK 9Random VibrationOverall G level of 0.28 for 40 minutes followed by 0.517 for 60 secondsRequired
Mixed LoadShock TEST BLOCK 10Flat Drop1 drop from 60mmRequired
PackageShock TEST BLOCK 11Placement Drop4 impacts in various orientations, 150mmRequired
PackageShock (investigative) TEST BLOCK 12Drop4 impacts in various orientations, 300mmAdvised (Optional)
PackageShock (INVESTIGATIVE) TEST BLOCK 13Drop-onImpacting top of the lower package, the base of upper package, 300mmAdvised (Optional)
AssessmentPackage Assessment BLOCK 14No testing involvedInspection and assessment of test and roll cage fill packagesRequired

ISTA 3K Consumer Goods Package Testing Laboratory

Keystone Package Testing understands the hazards associated with the European distribution network. Our engineers and technicians have significant experience designing and implementing test programs to assist shippers in certifying their products. Contact us today to learn firsthand why so many companies partner with us to meet their ISTA 3K transit testing needs.


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.