ISTA Series 1 Package Testing Standards

ista series 1 testing

ISTA 1 tests are Non-Simulation Integrity Performance Tests meant to evaluate the strength and robustness of the product and package combination.  Each of the ISTA 1 test procedures (1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1G, and 1H) include a combination of tests to assess the ability of packaging to withstand different transportation hazards. These tests help manufacturers and distributors identify weaknesses in their packaging and product designs, and ultimately make improvements to ensure products arrive at their destinations in good condition. All ISTA 1 tests share the common goal of minimizing potential shipping issues and product damage during transportation.

What are the benefits of ISTA Series 1 Package Tests?  They can:

  • Evaluate the durability of individually packaged products
  • Compare the performance of various package and product design alternatives
  • Test that your products will arrive unharmed at their destination
  • Provide a cost-effective screening test to evaluate potential shipping issues or product damage
  • Shorten package development time and gain confidence before launching products

The ISTA 1 tests are divided into the following procedures:

  • ISTA 1A, Integrity Testing for Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb. (68 kg) or Less
  • ISTA 1B, Integrity Testing Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb. (68 kg)
  • ISTA 1C, Extended Integrity Testing for Individual Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb. (68 kg) or Less
  • ISTA 1D, Extended Integrity Testing for Individual Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb. (68 kg)
  • ISTA 1E, Integrity Testing for Unitized Loads
  • ISTA 1G, Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb. (68 kg) or Less utilizing Random Vibration
  • ISTA 1H, Integrity Testing for Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb. (68 kg) utilizing Random Vibration

ISTA 1A to ISTA 1E: Packaging Up to 150 Pounds and above (1B, 1D, 1E)

ISTA 1A Package Testing

ISTA 1A is a package test procedure for individually packaged products weighing up to 150 pounds. The table below provides the test sequence required for ISTA 1A.  ISTA 1A is the same as ISTA 1G except for the vibration.  ISTA 1A uses fixed displacement vibration while ISTA 1G specifies random vibration.

SequenceTest CategoryTest TypeFor ISTA Certification
1Atmospheric PreconditioningLaboratory ambient temperature and humidityRequired
2VibrationFixed DisplacementRequired
3Shock (alternative methods allowed-select one test type)Package Drop Test or Inclined Impact or Horizontal ImpactRequired

ISTA 1B Package Testing

ISTA 1B is a protocol for individually packaged products weighing more than 150 pounds. ISTA 1B is the same as ISTA 1H except that ISTA 1B specifies fixed displacement vibration whereas 1H uses random vibration. The table below provides the test sequence required for ISTA 1B. 

SequenceTest CategoryTest TypeFor ISTA Certification
1Atmospheric PreconditioningLaboratory ambient temperature and humidityRequired
2VibrationFixed DisplacementRequired
3Shock (alternative methods allowed-select one test type)Package Drop Test (6 in) or Inclined Impact (69 in/sec) or Horizontal Impact (69 in/sec)Required
4ShockRotational Edge Drop (8 in)Required when not testing face 1

ISTA 1C Package Testing

ISTA 1C is an extended package test procedure designed for individually packaged products weighing 150 pounds or less.  ISTA 1C adds compression testing vs. 1A or 1G and gives alternative choices for vibration.  The test sequence is listed below.

product compression testing
SequenceTest CategoryTest TypeFor ISTA Certification
1Atmospheric PreconditioningLaboratory ambient temperature and humidityRequired
2Compression Testing (alternative methods allowed-select one test type)Compression Tester, apply and release Compression Tester, apply and hold Weight and Load SpreaderRequired
3Vibration (alternative methods allowed-select one test type)Fixed Displacement or Random VibrationRequired
4Shock (alternative methods allowed-select one test type)Package Drop Test or Inclined Impact or Horizontal ImpactRequired

ISTA 1D Package Testing

ISTA 1D is an extended test protocol for individually packaged products weighing more than 150 pounds.  ISTA 1D is the same as 1B or 1H with the addition of compression testing and alternative choices for vibration.  The test sequence is shown below. 

SequenceTest CategoryTest TypeFor ISTA Certification
1Atmospheric PreconditioningLaboratory ambient temperature and humidityRequired
2Compression Testing (alternative methods allowed-select one test type)Compression Tester, apply and release Compression Tester, apply and hold Weight and Load SpreaderRequired
3Vibration (alternative methods allowed-select one test type)Fixed Displacement or Random VibrationRequired
4Shock (alternative methods allowed-select one test type)Package Drop Test (6 in) or Inclined Impact (69 in/sec) or Horizontal Impact (69 in/sec)Required
5ShockRotational Edge Drop (8 in)Required when not testing face 1

ISTA 1E Package Testing

ISTA 1E is for testing unitized (palletized) loads made up of either single or multiple products or packages of the same products.  The test sequence is shown below. 

SequenceTest CategoryTest TypeFor ISTA Certification
1Atmospheric PreconditioningLaboratory ambient temperature and humidityRequired
2Vibration (alternative methods allowed-select one test type)Fixed Displacement or Random VibrationRequired
3Shock (alternative methods allowed-select one test type)Inclined Impact (69 in/sec) or Horizontal Impact (69 in/sec)Required
4ShockRotational Edge Drop (8 in)Required

Vibration and Shock Testing for Packages Up to 150 lb (ISTA 1G) & above (ISTA 1H)

ISTA 1G Package Testing

ISTA 1G is a package test procedure applicable to individually packaged products weighing 150 pounds or less.  Like ISTA 1A, it evaluates the strength and robustness of the product and package combination without simulating actual environmental conditions.  The primary difference between ISTA 1A and ISTA 1G is the vibration testing, with ISTA 1A using fixed displacement vibration and ISTA 1G specifying random vibration.

SequenceTest CategoryTest TypeFor ISTA Certification
1Atmospheric PreconditioningLaboratory ambient temperature and humidityRequired
2VibrationRandom VibrationRequired
3Shock (alternative methods allowed-select one test type)Package Drop Test or Inclined Impact or Horizontal ImpactRequired

ISTA 1H Package Testing

ISTA 1H is a protocol for individually packaged products weighing more than 150 pounds. ISTA 1H is the same as ISTA 1B with the exception that ISTA 1H specifies random vibration. The test sequence is listed below. 

SequenceTest CategoryTest TypeFor ISTA Certification
1Atmospheric PreconditioningLaboratory ambient temperature and humidityRequired
2VibrationRandom VibrationRequired
3Shock (alternative methods allowed-select one test type)Package Drop Test (6 in) or Inclined Impact (69 in/sec) or Horizontal Impact (69 in/sec)Required
4ShockRotational Edge Drop (8 in)Required when not testing face 1

ISTA 1 Series: Comprehensive Testing for Optimal Product Shipping and Delivery

ISTA package testing standards play a pivotal role in ensuring that products arrive in optimal condition at their destinations. These tests help manufacturers and distributors evaluate the durability and performance of their packaging and compare different packaging and product design alternatives. To ensure their products meet these standards, companies can rely on professional package testing services from accredited laboratories, delivering a safe and satisfying experience. 

DES provides package testing services to the medical device, electronic, automotive, and aerospace industries within their environmentally controlled, accredited laboratory.  Please contact an expert if you have any questions.

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Package Test Equipment for Diverse Industries

Delserro Engineering Solutions (DES) is excited to announce the addition of advanced, state-of-the-art package test equipment focused on enhanced testing to our already extensive range of testing capabilities. Our commitment to staying at the forefront of technological advancements enables us to provide our clients with comprehensive and cutting-edge testing solutions that cater to the diverse requirements of various industries.

lansmont squeezer test equipment
Lansmont Squeezer Compression Test System

Our continuous investment in new package test equipment allows us to expand our capacity and meet the growing needs of our clients in sectors such as aerospace, automotive, consumer goods, electronics, medical devices, and more. By combining our decades of expertise in testing services with the latest equipment, we ensure that our clients receive accurate, reliable, and efficient solutions for all their packaging needs.

The Vibration Tester: Ensuring Package Performance

One essential component of our testing arsenal is the vibration tester, which enables us to assess a package’s performance under various vibration conditions. With the help of our advanced vibration tester, we can identify potential weaknesses in the packaging and ensure that products remain protected during transportation and handling.

DES understands that each industry and client has unique packaging challenges, and our expanded testing capabilities allow us to customize our services to meet these specific requirements. Whether your focus is on improving durability, ensuring product safety during transportation, or meeting strict regulatory standards, our state-of-the-art package test equipment and experienced team of engineers are here to help you achieve your goals.

ASTM D4169 and Other Industry Standards for Package Testing

DES is committed to meeting and exceeding industry standards for package testing. The new package equipment, including the Lansmont Squeezer Compression Test System, is designed to perform compression testing in accordance with ASTM D642, ASTM D4169, and TAPPI T804. By adhering to these established guidelines, DES is committed to providing testing services that meet the highest levels of quality and reliability. For more information on these standards, see our frequently asked questions (FAQ) section below.

In addition to enhancing our existing services, the new package test equipment also allows us to explore innovative testing methods and stay ahead of emerging trends in the packaging industry. Our commitment to continuous improvement ensures that we not only meet the current demands of our clients but also anticipate and address future challenges.

Ready to ensure your packaging meets industry standards? Request a quote today and speak with our experts to discuss your package testing project.

Expanding our Package Test Equipment Portfolio

DES has recently added two cutting-edge pieces of package test equipment to our lineup: the Lansmont PDT 80 package drop tester and the Lansmont Squeezer.

The Lansmont PDT 80 Precision Drop Tester can test packages weighing up to 177 lbs., with a drop height range of 12 to 72 inches. Capable of performing flat, edge, and corner drops, the package drop tester meets the requirements of ASTM D5276 and ISO 2248.

lansmont package test equipment
Lansmont PDT 80 Precision Drop Tester

The Lansmont Squeezer Compression Test System is specifically designed to perform compression testing on packages, including constant load tests that simulate long-term warehouse stacking. Featuring a platen size of 30 x 30 inches and a maximum opening of 48 inches, the Squeezer boasts a force capability of up to 5,000 lbs.

In addition to the new Lansmont package test equipment, DES has an altitude chamber and multiple temperature/humidity chambers to simulate various environmental conditions during testing.

DES offers ASTM and ISTA Package Testing services within our environmentally controlled, accredited laboratory. For more information on our package testing capabilities or to discuss your package testing project with one of our experts, please contact us or call 610.253.6637. Our team is committed to providing exceptional testing services to ensure the utmost quality and reliability of your packaging solutions.

Package Testing Standards FAQ

What is the ASTM?
ASTM stands for the American Society for Testing and Materials, now known as ASTM International. It is a globally recognized organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services. ASTM standards are used across various industries to improve product quality, enhance safety, facilitate market access and trade, and build consumer confidence.

These standards are developed through a consensus process involving volunteers from various industries, governments, academia, and consumers who work together in technical committees to create and maintain the standards. ASTM International’s standards are widely used and accepted worldwide, serving as a common language for industries and helping to ensure quality, safety, and interoperability.

What is ASTM D642?
ASTM D642 is a standard test method for determining the compressive resistance of shipping containers, components, and unit loads.

What is ASTM D4169-16?
ASTM D4169-16 is a standard practice for performance testing of shipping containers and systems, evaluating their ability to withstand various distribution hazards.

What is the ASTM D4169 method?
The ASTM D4169 method is a practice for performance testing of shipping containers and systems, using a sequence of tests to simulate real-world conditions such as handling, transportation, and environmental exposure.

What is the difference between ASTM D4169-22 and D4169-16?
ASTM D4169-22 and D4169-16 are different versions of the same standard, with the -22 and -16 indicating the year of revision. There may be updates or changes in the testing procedures, equipment, or requirements between the two versions.

What is the difference between ASTM D4169-14 and -16?
ASTM D4169-14 and -16 are different versions of the same standard, with the -14 and -16 indicating the year of revision. The differences may include updates or changes in the testing procedures, equipment, or requirements.

What is the difference between ASTM D4169-16 and ISTA 3A?
ASTM D4169-16 is a standard practice for performance testing of shipping containers, while ISTA 3A is a test protocol from the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) that focuses on packaged products weighing 150 lbs. (68 kg) or less. Both are designed to evaluate packages’ performance but use different test sequences and may have different specific requirements.

What is the sample size for ASTM D4169?
The sample size for ASTM D4169 varies depending on the type of container or packaging system being tested. The standard provides guidance on selecting representative samples, but it does not prescribe a specific number of samples to test.

What is the difference between ASTM D4169 and ISTA 1A?
ASTM D4169 is a comprehensive standard practice for performance testing of shipping containers and systems, while ISTA 1A is a test protocol from the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) that focuses on packaged products weighing up to 150 lbs. (68 kg) under non-simulation integrity testing. ASTM D4169 covers a wider range of distribution hazards, whereas ISTA 1A is more focused on basic integrity testing, specifically vibrations and impacts.

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Package Testing Services: A Comprehensive Guide

Package testing services subject shipping containers to various tests, such as vibration, drop, compression, and environmental testing, to evaluate their ability to protect the contents from the point of pickup to the final destination. Shipping containers typically consist of cardboard boxes containing products like medical devices, consumer electronics, pharmaceuticals, industrial products, and online purchases. Factors influencing the package’s effectiveness include materials, product design, assembly methods, and environmental conditions.

Package Drop Test at DES

Delserro Engineering Solutions (DES) is a leading provider of package testing services, offering a wide range of testing solutions to ensure the safety and integrity of your products during transportation. Our experienced team of engineers and technicians utilize state-of-the-art equipment and adhere to industry standards to conduct comprehensive tests on your shipping containers. DES is committed to delivering accurate results and providing valuable insights that will help you optimize your packaging design and materials, ultimately reducing damage rates, minimizing returns, and increasing customer satisfaction.

Lab-based Package Testing

Package testing in a controlled laboratory environment adheres to international standards like ASTM or ISTA. This process assesses the shipping container’s durability, the packaging’s ability to protect the item, and the product’s resilience to shipping stresses, such as vibrations, drop shocks, and climatic conditions.

Why Perform Package Testing?

Package testing evaluates the design and materials of a package and its ability to protect the contents. By preventing damage during shipping, companies can:

• Minimize reshipping products
• Save staff time and resources by reducing return claims
• Increase sales through repeat orders from satisfied customers
• Boost profits from increased sales and fewer return shipping claims

Types of Package Tests:

  • Package vibration testing: Simulates transportation vibrations
  • Package drop testing: Replicates drops from rough handling
  • Package compression testing: Simulates load from stacking packages
  • Environmental testing of packages: Assesses the effects of altitude, temperature, humidity, sealing integrity, and exposure to moisture and extreme temperatures on the package system

Common package test standards are:

  • ASTM Package Test Standards:  ASTM D4169 and ASTM D7386 simulate a distribution environment containing multiple events such as drops, vibration, compression loading, etc.
  • ASTM Vibration Test Standards:  ASTM D999, ASTM D3580 and ASTM D4728 are procedures for vibration testing of packages only.
  • ASTM Environmental Package Test Standards:  ASTM D4332, ASTM D6653, and ASTM F1980 are protocols for temperature and humidity conditioning, altitude testing and accelerated aging testing. 
  • ISTA Package Test Standards:  ISTA standards are designed around distribution environments that contain multiple events such as drops, vibration, compression loading, etc.
    • ISTA Series 1: ISTA 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1G, 1H
    • ISTA Series 2: ISTA 2A, 2B, 2C
    • ISTA Series 3: ISTA 3A, 3B, 3E, 3F
    • ISTA Series 6: These are specialized procedures for Amazon, Sam’s Club and Fedex

In summary, package testing services play a crucial role in ensuring that your products arrive safely at their destination, maintaining customer satisfaction, and reducing the likelihood of costly returns. By adhering to industry standards and conducting a comprehensive evaluation of package materials, design, and environmental resilience, package testing services can identify potential issues and help you optimize your packaging strategy.

DES offers expert Package Testing services within our environmentally controlled, accredited laboratory.  Please contact a professional if you have any questions.

Package Testing FAQs

  1. How do you test packaging?

Packaging is tested using various methods such as vibration, drop, compression, and environmental testing in a controlled laboratory setting.

  1. What is package-level testing?

Package-level testing involves assessing the performance and durability of a shipping container and its ability to protect the contents during transportation.

  1. What is the function of package testing?

The function of package testing is to evaluate the effectiveness of packaging materials, design, and systems in protecting products during shipping.

  1. Why is packaging testing important?

Packaging testing ensures that products reach their destination undamaged, reduces return claims, and maintains customer satisfaction.

  1. What are the advantages of package testing?

The advantages include optimizing packaging materials, minimizing reshipping, saving staff time and resources, increasing sales, and boosting profits.

  1. What are the 3 levels of packages?

The term “3 levels of packages” does not specifically apply to package testing. However, in the context of package testing, there are three main aspects: the shipping container, the protective packing materials, and the product itself.

  1. What is product testing and packaging?

Product testing involves evaluating a product’s performance, quality, and durability under various conditions, while packaging refers to the materials and methods used to protect and transport the product. Package testing combines these concepts by assessing the effectiveness of the packaging in safeguarding products during shipping.

  1. What is packaging integrity testing?

Packaging integrity testing evaluates whether the packaging can protect the sterility of a medical device or sealed food products during transportation and under different environmental conditions. After subjecting the packaged product to transportation or environmental stresses, it is then tested for seal strength or leak integrity.

By understanding package testing’s importance and various aspects, companies can ensure their products reach their customers in excellent condition, minimizing returns and boosting customer satisfaction.

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What is Space Simulation Testing?

Space Simulation Testing replicates the high altitudes and temperatures for items that are used in outer space, satellites, or rockets.  Products that will be used in space or high altitudes must be able to endure combined environments of extreme temperatures and extreme low pressures. 

Space is defined as an altitude more than 100 km (62 miles or 328,000 feet) above sea level.  The pressure at this altitude is roughly 2.4 x 10-04 to 4 x 10-04 mbar (1.8 x 10-04 to 3 x 10-04 torr) [1].  Temperatures can be as cold as -80 °C.  This is a very difficult environment for anything to survive.  That is why Space Simulation Testing is essential! 

Space simulation testing is performed in a specialized Thermal Vacuum Chamber or TVAC.  TVACs are very specialized chambers that have a two-stage vacuum pumping system and a thermal plate.  The vacuum pumping system typically consists of a roughing pump and a turbo molecular pump.  The vacuum pumping system must be capable of achieving vacuums of 1 x 10-04 torr and below.  The thermal plate should be capable of constant or cyclic temperature control from -80 °C to +100 °C. 

space-simulation-testing-chamber
DES’s Thermal Vacuum Chamber (TVAC)

Why Perform Space Simulation Testing?

Mission-critical equipment and components that are used in satellites or space systems are very expensive.  They can take years to develop and launch.  It is essential that space equipment is thoroughly tested not just to survive these extreme conditions, but it must also operate properly and be reliable. Failure during launch or operation in space is not an option!  It is devastating and extremely costly.  Satellites can cost over 150 million dollars.  In addition, space simulation testing of components in a TVAC can expose issues before they are integrated into larger systems saving time and overall project cost. 

Why Choose DES for Space Simulation Testing?

DES has the experience and accredited lab to perform validation of mission-critical components during Prototyping, Design Verification, and Qualification phases.  DES’s TVAC can achieve high vacuum levels and apply extreme temperatures simultaneously with high vacuums.  DES can also simulate the severe vibrations and pyroshocks that occur during a launch.

Our Space Simulation Equipment Capabilities Are:

  • High vacuum levels down to 10-7 torr (1,000,000 Feet or 200 miles!)
  • Cyclic or constant temperature control from -100°C to +150°C
  • 16 x 16 inch thermal plate
  • Multiple sealed access ports to allow products to be operational and monitored during testing including power, data, and RF lines
  • View window for visual monitoring
  • Digital vacuum pressure recording
  • Multiple thermocouples for recording thermal plate & product temperatures
  • [1] AFGL Atmospheric Constituent Profiles (0-120km)
thermal-vacuum-chamber-graph
Test Performed in DES’s Thermal Vacuum Chamber (TVAC)

Please contact us or call 610.253.6637 to discuss your project with an expert.

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What is the Difference Between Thermal Shock and Temperature Cycle Testing?

Our customers often ask, What is the Difference Between Thermal Shock and Temperature Cycle Testing?  Both types of tests expose products to cycles between hot and cold temperatures.  Both tests produce stresses caused by thermal expansion and contraction.  In many cases, components expand and contract differently.  This creates cumulative fatigue damage during each cyclic, which could result in a fatigue failure.

Thermal shock exposes devices to rapid temperature changes greater than 15°C/minute.  Temperature cycle testing uses a transition rate less than 15°C/minute and is usually between 1 to 10°C/minute from our experience. 

Continue reading What is the Difference Between Thermal Shock and Temperature Cycle Testing?

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How to Make Your Product More Reliable Through Testing

At DES, we have tested many different kinds of products ranging from medical devices to aerospace products.  We have performed numerous reliability tests and developed numerous accelerated life test plans.  Many times, our customers ask us, “How do we make our products more reliable?”  There are analytical methods and processes that can be used to improve product reliability.  However, the focus of this article will be How To Make Your Product More Reliable Through Testing

Continue reading How to Make Your Product More Reliable Through Testing

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Delserro Engineering Solutions Featured in Assembly Magazine

Assembly Magazine logo

DES president Gary Delserro is featured in an article published in Assembly Magazine on July 9, 2021.  Titled “Accelerated Life Testing,” the article discusses different types of manufacturing life testing and quotes Gary with reference to highly accelerated life testing (HALT):

“Companies have reported savings in the millions after using HALT,” claims Delserro. “The test can accelerate a product’s aging process from actual months into test minutes, and it can help you discover weaknesses in your product during the design stage. Combined vibration, temperature and electrical stress variables, as well as internal fluid pressure, are typically used during HALT to induce failures and uncover fault points. By using combinations of loads, we can uncover design or manufacturing process flaws before they reach your customer.”

The entire article can be found on Assembly’s website

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Delserro Engineering Solutions (DES) – Recent Projects (Spring 2021)

Delserro Engineering Solutions logo

Recently, DES has been very busy working on multiple space and aerospace test programs.  We can’t discuss too many details due to the sensitive nature of the products.  Some highlights are:

Continue reading Delserro Engineering Solutions (DES) – Recent Projects (Spring 2021)

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What Exactly is MIL-STD 810?

MIL-STD 810 is a Department of Defense Test Method Standard for environmental engineering considerations and laboratory tests.  It is the most popular Military specification used to conduct environmental testing of military products.  It exists so as to ensure that products used for defense-related purposes meet very specific requirements with regard to ruggedness, durability, and performance.  Given the fact that these products may be exposed to harsh or even extreme conditions, their reliability under stress is essential

Continue reading What Exactly is MIL-STD 810?

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HALT Testing: When Should You Perform It?

Highly Accelerated Life Testing, or HALT, is a technique used in the industry to speed up the design and test phases of product development, as well as limit the number of field failures and thus reduce warranty costs incurred by the manufacturer. 

HALT Testing can be a competitive advantage for companies when performed correctly and at the right time. 

The best time to begin HALT testing during the product development process is when prototypes first become available. HALT is designed to expose product flaws and weaknesses, therefore, a successful test will produce areas for product improvement.  A lot of designers and manufacturers tend to wait until the product design is mature.  At that time, further process improvements or design changes become too costly or timely.  Ideally, HALT should be performed while the product is still fluid and moderate changes don’t become setbacks.  This allows product design to move much more rapidly and efficiently, saving the company time and money.  HALT testing can also eliminate the need for further verification if the product has proven reliable at the much more extreme conditions exposed to in HALT. 

Delserro Engineering Solutions, Inc. (DES) has the knowledge and experience to provide HALT testing services for your product.  We offer both standard and customized test solutions depending on your testing needs.  For more information on HASS, HALT or other testing services, contact DES or call 610.253.6637.

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