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CBU Packaging. Presented by Pong Malasri , PhD, PE, CPLP Technician Packaging Department Chair Healthcare Packaging Consortium Director Christian Brothers University Memphis, TN 38104, USA @ Department of Packaging and Materials Technology

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cbu packaging

CBU Packaging

Presented by

Pong Malasri, PhD, PE, CPLP Technician

Packaging Department Chair

Healthcare Packaging Consortium Director

Christian Brothers University

Memphis, TN 38104, USA


Department of Packaging and Materials Technology

Faculty of Agro-Industry, Kasetsart University

Bangkok, Thailand

June 6, 2013

memphis packaging
Memphis & Packaging
  • Known as America’s Aerotropolis
  • Memphis International Airport has been ranked by Airports Council International as the top cargo airport in North America since 1992. It shipped 4.32 tons of cargo in 2011.
  • Memphis is the third largest rail center in the U.S. with five Class I railroads: BNSF, Canadian National, CSX, Norfolk Southern, and Union Pacific.
  • Memphis has six interstate highways: I-22, I-40, I-55, I-69, I-240, and I-269.
  • The Port of Memphis is one of the largest ports in the U.S. It received 16.3 million tons of cargo in 2008.


memphis america s distribution center
Memphis: America’s Distribution Center
  • Geographic advantage
  • Home of the world headquarters
  • Hub of shipping powerhouse, FedEx, and over 400 trucking companies
  • Provides the most cost effective distribution and logistics services in the country


cbu packaging programs
CBU Packaging Programs
  • B.S. in Engineering Management with Packaging Concentration (122 credits): This is a well-blended program based on a 2007 survey of the Memphis-area packaging managers. Students may be able to complete B.S./M.S. in Engineering Management at CBU in five years. The B.S.E.M. consists of:
  • 13 credits of packaging,
  • 16 credits of engineering,
  • 15 credits of mathematics/sciences,
  • 45 credits of business/management,
  • 27 credits of liberal studies
  • 6 credits of elective courses
  • Packaging Minor (16 credits): This minor is for students in any engineering discipline. It consists of:
  • PKG 101 Intro to Packaging (1 cr.)
  • PKG 201 Packaging Seminars (1 cr.)
  • PKG/ChE 319 Principles of Packaging (3 crs.)
  • PKG/ChE 320 Distribution & Medical Device Packaging (3 crs.)
  • PKG 490 Packaging Project (2 crs.)
  • PKG 495 Packaging Internship (3 crs.)
  • Materials related elective (3 crs.)
  • Packaging Engineering Certificate (11 credits): This certificate consists of the following courses:
  • PKG/ChE 319 (3 crs.)
  • PKG/ChE 320 (3 crs.)
  • ChE 393 Packaging Special Project (2 crs.)
  • Materials related elective (3 crs.)
cbu ista certified packaging test lab
CBU ISTA Certified Packaging Test Lab
  • Certified by the Int’l Safe Transit Association
  • One of eight certified packaging labs and the only one in an academic setting within the tri-state area of Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi

Founded on June 1, 2010

  • 7 Founding Members: Evergreen Packaging, FedEx, Medtronic, Merck, Plastic Ingenuity, Smith & Nephew, and Wright Medical
  • 3 Other Members: Olympus Surgical Technologies, The Pallet Factory, and WS Packaging
  • Its mission is to advance knowledge in healthcare packaging through education and research
  • Mid-year and end-of-the-year meetings (Now Fall & Spring Meetings)
  • Provides timely and meaningful R&D projects
plastic tote project
Plastic Tote Project
  • Sponsored by Merck

Pallet Project

  • Sponsored by FedEx

Peel Test Analysis

  • Sponsored by Smith & Nephew



For more info:


ista certified packaging lab

ISTA Certified Packaging Lab

Presented by

Pong Malasri, PhD, PE, CPLP Technician

Packaging Department Chair

Healthcare Packaging Consortium Director

Christian Brothers University

Memphis, TN 38104, USA


Department of Packaging and Materials Technology

Faculty of Agro-Industry, Kasetsart University

Bangkok, Thailand

June 6, 2013


Test Standard Organizations

International Safe Transit Association

Founded in 1948

ASTM International

Committee D10 – Packaging

Usually focuses on how to conduct a specific tests but not on overall package performance.

Example: ASTM D5276 tells how to run a drop test, but does not specify drop heights, number of drops, or drop orientations.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)

Famous for quality process

ISO Technical Committee 122 works on packaging standards

ISO 4180 Packaging – Complete, Filled Transport Packages


American National Standards Institute (ANSI)

Official USA representative on several world-wide standardization fronts

Committee MH-10 works on packaging

Hazardous Materials (Dangerous Goods) regulation organizations

Several government-based and trade organizations, national and international bodies

Most HazMat regulations are based on recommendations of the United Nations Committee on Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods

The National Motor Freight Traffic Association (NMFTA)

Serves trucking industry

Item 222 (Fiber-board boxes), 245 (wooden crates), 180 (pre-shipment performance test)


United States Government

US Department of Transportation (USDOT), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Defense (DoD), and General Services Administration (GSA)

Examples of US government packaging testing specifications: MIL-STD-2073 and Fed-Std-101

Other National and International Organizations

Many countries have regulations and standards related to packaging and transportation



International Safe Transit Association


Certifies test labs

Certifies lab professionals

Hosts annual International Transport Packaging Forum

Sets standards/protocols for distribution testing

Certifies packaged-products


Reasons for Lab Tests

  • Predict the outcome/performance of a package during distribution
  • Provide information for changing protective packaging design
  • Allow careful observation and documentation
  • Increase confidence level

Function of Packaging Test Labs

Conduct pre-shipment performance testing

Evaluate packages, materials, and products

Appropriateness of tests and accuracy of data are very important


Required Equipment

D = drop tester

I = incline impact

H = horizontal impact

FV = fixed displacement vibration table

RV = random vibration table (can also perform fixed displacement vibration)

CM = compression machine

LS = load spreadher

TH = temp/humidity chamber

X1 Only one is needed

X2 Only one is needed

X3Only one is needed

CBU Lab shown in RED


Test Lab Layout

Daniel Goodwin and Dennis Young, Protective Packaging for Distribution, DEStech Publications, Inc., Pennsylvania, 2011.


Equipment Maintenance and Calibration

Follow equipment manufacturer recommendations or company policy/practice.

ISTA also gives the following recommendations which are similar to CBU Packaging Lab Equipment Practice.


ISTA Lab Certification

To ensure a test lab is properly equipped and competently staffed to perform and evaluate pre-shipment testing of packaged-products in accordance with ISTA test procedures/projects

Two-year certification cycle

Data developed during the certification is recorded in ISTA Equipment Verification forms for verification that results are within the same range as other ISTA Certified Laboratories


ISTA Lab Certification Process

Fill out forms describing each piece of lab equipment

Carry out and document a detailed procedure of checks for each test system

Video record critical portions of this process

Submit application/materials to ISTA for approval


ISTA Transit Tested Certification Mark

  • Shipper (product manufacturer) must be an ISTA member
  • Tested by an ISTA Certified Lab
  • Test report filed with and approved by ISTA
  • All samples must pass the test(s)
  • Must be retested after any change is made to the product, package, or the process
  • Placed on the package as a proof of the highest level of credibility to the design, test, and packaged-product performance verification process
ista certified packaging lab professionals

ISTA Certified Packaging Lab Professionals

Presented by

Pong Malasri, PhD, PE, CPLP Technician

Packaging Department Chair

Healthcare Packaging Consortium Director

Christian Brothers University

Memphis, TN 38104, USA


Department of Packaging and Materials Technology

Faculty of Agro-Industry, Kasetsart University

Bangkok, Thailand

June 6, 2013

three levels of ista cplp
Three Levels of ISTA CPLP
  • CPLP Technician
    • About 400+ worldwide
    • Must be an ISTA member and register for the course
    • Must pass a two-hour written exam
    • Recertification every three years
  • CPLP Technologist
    • About 200+ worldwide
    • Must be an ISTA member, CPLP Technician, and register for the course
    • Must pass a two-hour written exam
    • Recertification every three years
  • CPLP Professional
    • Only 16 worldwide
    • Must be an ISTA member, CPLP Technologist, and meet professional requirements
cplp technician
CPLP Technician
  • Basic laboratory operations, procedures & protocols
  • Essential ISTA shock/drop/impact, vibration, compression, and atmospheric tests
  • A minimum of 6 months employment in the industry (or a packaging or related engineering degree)
  • Packaging students are allowed
cplp technologist
CPLP Technologist
  • Advanced procedures & protocols including those from other organizations
  • Random vibration, dynamic material testing, instrumentation, and enhanced simulation (ISTA 4AB)
  • Prerequisites are Technician-level certification and a minimum of 1 year employment in the industry (or a packaging or related engineering degree)
cplp professional
CPLP Professional
  • Based on an evaluation of résumé
  • Recognition of employment in packaging, attendance at educational packaging events, other related continuing education, advanced packaging or related degrees, published papers/articles, presentations, teaching, participation in technical societies and packaging organizations, honors/awards, patents, etc.
  • Prerequisites are both Technician and Technologist CPLP certifications and a minimum of 3 years employment in the industry.
  • A minimum score of 320 (of 695 maximum possible score)
test objectives
Test Objectives
  • Screening
    • To avoid serious problems in shipment, i.e., damage to the product
    • Simple and inexpensive
    • Widely available and accepted
    • Use simple equipment
    • Accommodate known and suspected severe hazards
    • Not necessarily a simulation of the hazards of distribution
  • Prediction
    • Foresee more subtle effects, such as minor damage
    • More difficult
    • Fine-tune cost and environmental impact
    • Incremental testing reduces cost and materials
distribution hazard
Distribution Hazard
  • Handling Drop and Impact
    • Shock test
      • Drop, inclined impact, horizontal impact, vertical impact
      • Equipment: Drop Tester
  • Transportation Vibration
    • Vibration test
      • Fixed displacement, variable displacement, random
      • Equipment: Vibration Table
  • Stacking Load
    • Compression test
      • Static load, machine (apply/release, apply/hold), dynamic load under vibration
      • Equipment: Compression Table
  • Atmospheric Condition
    • Atmospheric test
      • Temperature, humidity, pressure
      • Equipment: Temperature/Humidity Chamber, Altitude Chamber

Common Pre-shipment Lab Tests

  • The following lab tests are commonly used to cover distribution hazards.
    • Shock (handling)
    • Vibration (transportation)
    • Compression (warehousing)
    • Atmospheric (distribution environment)

Actual vs. Dummy Products

  • Actual products are normally used in a lab test.
  • A dummy product are used if it is dangerous in testing an actual product.
  • A dummy product, if used, must represent damage potential of the real product.

Other Types of Packaging Lab Tests

  • Engineering Tests
  • Resonance searches, etc.
  • Material Tests
  • Cushion curves, etc.
  • Product Fragility Tests
  • Damage boundary, etc.

ISTA Procedures & Projects

  • A procedure is a test that has been implemented and fine-tuned over the years.
  • A project is a new test in its first years of implementation. It is closely monitored and subject to change. A project may turn into a procedure in the future after a minimum of one year trial period.
  • Sections in a procedure or project
    • Overview, Equipment Required, Before you Begin Testing, Test Sequence, and Test Report
reduce to damage
“Reduce to Damage”
  • ISTA tests provide lower limits… Pass/fail fashion
  • “Reduce to damage” or “Pass with minimum margin” means if a packaged-product passes a test, it must be redesigned with less packaging and tested again until an optimum level is reached.
  • Screening tests should be used with caution for “reduce to damage” protocol since they may not well represent actual field exposure.
  • Better to use tests that provide a good actual simulation of the distribution hazards.

Package Classification

Small: volume < 800 in3, longest dimension <= 14 in, weight <= 10 lb

Flat: shortest dimension <=8 in, next longest dimension >= 4(shortest dimension), volume >= 800 in3

Elongate: longest dimension >= 36 in, each of both other dimensions <= 20% of that of the longest dimension


ISTA Test Series

1 Series: Non-Simulation Integrity Performance Tests

Procedures 1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, 1G, 1H

2 Series: Partial Simulation Performance Tests

Procedures 2A, 2B, 2C

3 Series: General Simulation Performance Tests

Procedures 3A, 3B, 3E, 3H; Project 3K

4 Series: Enhanced Simulation Performance Tests

Project 4AB

ISTA 6 Series: Member Performance Tests

Procedures 6-FEDEX-A, 6-FEDEX-B; Project 6-SAMSCLUB

ISTA 7 Series: Development Tests

Projects 7D; Standard 7E

Note: CBU Test Lab is certified to perform procedures in bold.


Test Categories/Types

  • Performance Tests
    • Pass/Fail assessment
    • Will contents survive normal shipment?
  • Development Tests
    • Compare relative performance of two or more designs
    • Compare relative performance of same design from different suppliers

Test Categories/Types

  • Non-Simulating Integrity Tests
  • Best for finding potential problems
  • General Simulation Tests
  • Handle diverse environments in complex logistic mixes
  • Focused Simulation Tests
  • Powerful in fine tuning overall costs and tradeoffs

Non-Simulating Integrity Tests

  • Provide effective screening of proposed packaging to locate potential problems
  • Challenge the ruggedness or integrity of the product and its package
  • Appear similar to actual shipment hazards but are often different in many significant respects
  • Are not designed to simulate shipping
  • Rely on historical success and common sense
  • Example: ISTA 1A (the most widely used packaging test in the world)

ISTA 1 Series: Non-Simulation Integrity Performance Tests

    • Challenge the strength and robustness of the product and package combination. Not designed to simulate environmental occurrences. Useful as screening tests, particularly when used as a consistent benchmark over time.
  • Procedure 1A: Packaged-Products Weighing 150 lb or Less
    • Basic Requirements: fixed displacement vibration and shock testing
  • Procedure 1B: Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb
    • Basic Requirements: fixed displacement vibration and shock testing.
  • Procedure 1C: Extended Testing for Individual Packaged-Products weighing 150 lbor Less
    • Basic Requirements: fixed displacement or random vibration, shock testing and compression.

Procedure 1D: Extended Testing for Individual Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68 kg)

    • Basic Requirements: fixed displacement or random vibration, shock testing and compression.
  • Procedure 1E: Unitized Loads
    • Basic Requirements: vertical linear or random vibration and shock testing.
  • Procedure 1G: Packaged-Products weighing 150 lbor Less (Random Vibration)
    • Basic Requirements: random vibration and shock testing
  • Procedure 1H: Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68 kg) (Random Vibration)
    • Basic Requirements: random vibration and shock testing

General Simulation Tests

  • Attempt to simulate the hazards and sequence of shipping but only in a broad and general sense
  • Consider overall characteristics of transit mode or product handling
  • Cover all four hazard elements: shock, vibration, compression, and atmospheric
  • Tend to envelop what probably occurs in shipment
  • Place emphasis on the near-worst conditions observed or expected
  • Examples: ISTA 3-Series and ASTM D4169

ISTA 3-Series: General Simulation Performance Tests

    • Designed to provide a laboratory simulation of the damage-producing motions, forces, conditions, and sequences of transport environments. Applicable across broad sets of circumstances, such as a variety of vehicle types and routes, or a varying number of handling exposures. Characteristics will include simple shaped random vibration, different drop heights applied to the sample package, and/or atmospheric conditioning such as tropical wet or winter/frozen.
  • Procedure 3A: Packaged-Products for Parcel Delivery System Shipments 150 lbor Less (standard, small, flat or elongated)
    • A general simulation test for individual packaged-products shipped through a parcel delivery system. The test is appropriate for four different package types commonly distributed as individual packages, either by air or ground. The types include standard, small, flat and elongated packages. Basic Requirements: atmospheric pre-conditioning, random vibration with and without top load, and shock testing.

Project 3B: Packaged-Products for Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Shipment

    • Project 3B is a general simulation test for packaged-products shipped through a motor carrier (truck) delivery system, where different types of packaged-products, often from different shippers and intended for different ultimate destinations, are mixed in the same load. This type of shipment is called LTL (Less-Than-Truckload). Project 3B is appropriate for four different types of packages commonly distributed in LTL shipments: Standard 200 lbor less, Standard over 200 lb, Cylindrical, and Palletized or Skidded. Requirements may include atmospheric conditioning, tip-tipover, shock and impact, random vibration with top load, concentrated impacts, and fork lift handling.

Procedure 3E: Unitized Loads of Same Product

    • Basic Requirements: atmospheric conditioning, compression, random vibration and shock testing
  • Procedure 3H: Performance Test for Products or Packaged-Products in Mechanically Handled Bulk Transport Containers
    • Basic Requirements: atmospheric conditioning, random vibration and shock testing
  • Project 3K: Fast Moving Consumer Goods for the European Retail Supply Chain
    • Project 3K is a general simulation test for fast moving packaged consumer products shipped through the multiple-retail supply chain environment in Europe. Project 3K is appropriate for the range of packages commonly merchandised through large retailer stores and large retail chain convenience stores, and where retailer operations include shipment of store-specific mixed loads in roll cages or as mixed pallets. Many European grocery packages are in shelf-ready format; this method applies equally to shelf ready and non-shelf ready packages.

Focused Simulation Tests

  • Link lab tests to actual measured shipment and distribution hazards
  • Use instruments to measure actual field conditions such as vehicle vibration, package drops, or compressive loads, etc.
  • Represent both the types of hazards and the statistically variability of the hazards as they occur in actual distribution

Combining Various Test Categories/Types

  • ISTA 2-Series are basically non-simulation integrity tests with one or more elements of general simulation
  • ISTA 4-Series are general simulation tests with one or more elements of focused simulation

Other Ways to Organize Tests

  • Packaged-Product Weight
      • 150 lb or less
      • Over 150 lb
  • Distribution Mode
      • Any Mode
      • Small Parcel Delivery
      • LTL (Less-Than-Truckload) Shipment
      • Specialized Carrier
      • Mechanically Handled
      • DC (Distribution Center) to Retail
  • Packaging Type
      • Individual Package
      • Furniture Package
      • Bagged
      • Unitized
      • Bulk
      • Returnable
      • Flat
      • Elongated

Ship Tests

  • Actual shipment of samples through distribution
  • Useful to help benchmark and validate lab tests
  • Not a substitute for lab tests because they may be non-representative of actual condition over time.




Shock is a common phenomenon arising from dropping of a package or a unit load (pallet load) during the handling of it, such as sorting, vehicle loading/unloading, delivery, manual palletizing, stacking/un-stacking, moving/positioning, placing in/out of racks, etc.

Short duration with high intensity

High intensity dynamic event characterized by a sudden change in velocity

Drop and impact testing is an effective way to evaluate package under shock

Purposeful drops often occur due to efficiency


Impact Acceleration

Attraction of earth’s gravity gives 1g (or 1G) of acceleration

Weight = Mass * g

where g = 32.2 ft/sec2 or 386.1 in/sec2 or 9.8 m/sec2

If an object is released from an at-rest position, it picks up speed as it falls. At the end of the first second, it will be moving at 386.1 in/sec velocity (or 22 miles/hr).

Impact velocity (Vi) from a drop height (h):


Intensity of a shock is generally measured in terms of its peak acceleration in g or G.

50G means the peak acceleration is 50 times the acceleration that occurs naturally as a result of gravity.

Shocks are also characterized by total velocity change, i.e., the absolute sum of the impact velocity and the rebound velocity of an object.

100% rebound

Zero rebound


Drop Test Specifications

Number of drops

Drop height distribution (how many at what heights) – usually in 6-in increments.

Orientation of drops (corner, edge, face)

Order of drops (which is first, second, etc.)

Number of test cycles (how many times the test series is performed)

Number of specimens and any conditioning, pre-conditioning, or other treatment


Drop Tester

Free-fall drop machines are usually used to test small to medium size packages. They are designed to release the package cleanly for accurate control of drop orientation and repeatability.

Could also use slings around the package and use quick release hooks.

Free fall and rigid surface are important.

Simple “hand” drops (hold and release) are generally not acceptable.

Quick Release Hook


Swing arm drop testers support the package under its center before activation. When activated, the arm swings out of the way.

Split leaf drop testers provide two synchronized supports, one under each end of the package before activation. When activated, the two supports swing out of the way quickly.

Fall away drop testers have their package support moving down ahead of the package into their pocket.

Large package is often tested by raising one bottom edge to a certain height then dropping it to the hard surface, also known as rotational flat drop.


Drop Test Alternatives

Shock Machine Tests

Impact with short duration and high-G pulse

More difficult and time-consuming to configure than a free-fall drop

Advantages include increased control, accuracy, repeatability, and enhanced safety in testing large or bulky items





For packaging, vibration is common in transport vehicles, lift trucks, conveyors, etc.

Oscillation around a reference point, i.e., ups and downs

Period is time to complete a cycle.

Frequency is number of cycles in a set period of time.



Frequency is commonly expressed in cycles/minute or cycles/second

Hertz (Hz) = Number of cycles per second

Period = second/cycle

Thus, Frequency = cycles/second

If Period = 0.1 sec

Then Frequency = 1/0.1 = 10 cycles/sec = 10 Hz


Given a mass-spring system, then give the mass some displacement and let the mass oscillates. The mass will vibrate at its natural frequency.

  • The amplitude may vary depending on the displacement given. But the period of natural period remains the same.

In a forced vibration, the system is moved with the support movement at any set frequency.

  • If the set frequency matches with its natural frequency, resonance occurs, where the system over responds and amplifies the motion of the support.
  • Resonance is the principal cause of vibration related damage in transport.
  • Simple mass-spring system is easy to understand and is a very good first-order predictor of vibrational behavior of actual complex systems.

Vibration Hazards

  • Of the three logistic elements (transportation, handling, and warehousing), transportation is linked with vibration the most.
  • Vibration in transportation is influenced by many factors: vehicle suspension, vehicle structure, road/rail/water/air condition.
  • Vibration in vehicles occurs in all directions; up/down, left/right, front/back.
  • Up/down (vertical vibration) is most severe, thus is the focus of vibration test.
  • Length of time makes vibration a hazard to products. A coast-to-coast truck trip in the U.S. is around 2,500 miles and about 50 hours of vibration. Long-term motion causes wear, fatigue, abrasion, loosening, etc.

Vibration in transportation is a mixture of frequencies and amplitudes called random vibration.

  • Typical frequencies are in the range from 3 – 100 Hz, but could go as low as 1 Hz and as high as 500 Hz.
  • Resonance can come from suspension, tire, etc.

PSD = Power Spectral Density


Vibration Test Specifications

  • Three major specifications:
  • Fixed-Displacement Vibration (Repetitive Shock or Bounce) Test
    • Very common in packaging labs
    • Good screening test and comparison means
    • Does not simulate actual environmental occurrences
  • Sine (Discrete) Vibration Test
    • Good engineering tool
    • Valuable design and diagnostic information
    • Not a good environmental simulation
  • Random Vibration Test
    • Best approach for simulating actual distribution/transport vibration

Fixed-Displacement Vibration

  • Low level repetitive shocks
  • Common in ISTA non-simulation integrity tests
  • Do not simulate actual environmental occurrences
  • Not good simulations of actual transport vibration
  • Use a mechanical shaker, which is driven by an electric motor and a system of eccentric cams.
  • Fixed-displacement  peak-to-peak displacement of the table is constant throughout the test. ISTA Spec: Peak-to-peak displacement is 1 inch.
  • In the downward part of each cycle, the table moves faster than the gravity. Thus, the package leaves the table surface.
  • Proper speed and bounce is determined by inserting a thin 1/16 –in shim. The shim must be able to be moved intermittently along the entire length of the package under test.

Gaynes Fixed Displacement Vibration Tester has a 2500 pound capacity, a table size of 7 feet square, a speed range of 100 to 300 RPM, and a throw of one inch. The large weight capacity allows the vibration of stacked units. One hour of vibration is the rough equivalent of 1000 miles shipping distance.


Test specifications may use either time or number of impacts as a measure of test duration.

  • 1 bounce = 1 cycle
  • Test duration = number of impacts / frequency
  • If number of impacts = 11,800 and frequency = 4.5 Hz (cycles/sec)
  • Then test duration = 11800 impacts (or cycles) / 4.5 HZ (cycles/sec) = 2622 sec = 43.7 min
  • ISTA Procedures require either 11,800 or 14200 impacts (which translates into 43.7 min and 52.6 min based on 4.5 Hz frequency.
  • ISTA Procedures require a 90 or 180 degree horizontal rotation when using a rotary motion test system.


(Next slide)


Sine (Discrete) Vibration

  • One frequency and amplitude at a time
  • Repetitive shock test is a type of sine vibration test
  • Swept-sine “resonance search and dwell (RSD)” test is a common sine vibration test.
  • It searches for and identify “critical” frequencies in a package.
  • Set it for sine vibration with frequency changing slowly over time (sweeping).
  • Amplification and resonance may be identified by visual observation of specimen response, by listening for noise responses, and/or using sensors such as accelerometers.
  • Resonance dwell test is a fixed frequency at specimen resonance frequency for a specified time, such as 0.5g peak for 15 minutes.

Random Vibration

  • Broad-frequency performance
  • Accurately simulate actual distribution/transport
  • A mixture of frequencies and intensities may come from standard procedures or from actual field measurement.
  • Specification and control format is the PSD plot as shown below.

Vibration Test Equipment

  • Mechanical Shakers
  • Driven by an electric motor and eccentric cams
  • Frequency range: 2 – 5 Hz
  • Fixed displacement = eccentric offset
  • Rotary motion: Table moves around in a vertical-plane circle
  • Vertical linear motion: Table moves up and down in a line.
  • In-phase rotary motion: Table remains horizontal during the rotation
  • Out-of-phase rotary motion: Rocking component to the table movement

Single-Axis Linear Vibration Systems

  • Activated hydraulically, electronically, or other ways
  • Used for bounce test as well as sine vibration, and random vibration.

Hydraulic Vibration Systems


Electrodynamic Vibration Systems

  • Use electromagnetic fields to move the table
  • 5 – 10 Hz low frequency range & 1000 – 10000 Hz high frequency range

Compression Hazards in Warehousing

The logistic function of warehousing is to buffer the uncertainty of demand and production.

Individual and unitized products are stacked in warehouses to utilize the cube of the warehouse, which includes height.

Most warehouses are not environmental controlled.

Time in a warehouse of a product/package could be short or long.

Hazard due to compressive load due to stacking

Stack heights up to 12-15 feet are common.

Some warehouses use racks, thus stack heights are often under 6 feet.

Hazard due to atmospheric conditions

Humidity affects paper-based packaging.

Hazard due time (duration in warehouse)


Vehicle Stacking Compression Hazard

Lower stack heights than in warehouses

Loaded times are usually shorter

Atmospheric conditions in vehicles may be wider swings and worse extremes

Dynamic environment, road shock and vibration, increases hazard/damage potential


Simplified McKee Formula

Estimate corrugated box compressive strength

BCT (KN, lb) – Box Compressive Strength

ECT (KN/m, lb/in) – Edge Crush Test Value

P (m, in) = Inside Box Perimeter

Z (m, in) = Board Thickness


Example: How high can a corrugated box be safely stacked in a warehouse if it must carry entire load? Given: Box with products gross weight = 32 lb, inside dimensions = 18”x12”x10” (H=10”) , board “C” flute, 200 psi burst, 40 lb/in ECT, and board thickness = 0.160”. Use safety factor = 4.5.

P = 18+12+18+12=60 in, Z = 0.16 in, ECT = 40 lb/in

BCT = 5.87x40x(60x0.16)^0.5 = 727.5 lb

Safe Load = BCT/F.S. = 727.5/4.5 = 161.7 lb

Boxes above the bottom box = 161.7/32 = 5.05 boxes. Use 5 boxes above the bottom box.

Stack height = 5 + 1 = 6 boxes (or 10”X6 = 60 inches)


Paper Products

Paper products are hydroscopic (the ability of a substance to attract and hold water molecules from the surrounding environment).

They take up and give off water with the surrounding atmosphere.

Usually 24 hrs or more is time allowed for paper products will reach an equilibrium moisture content.

Paper products exhibit a hysteresiseffect conditioning (The dependence of a system not only on its current environment but also on its past environment. This dependence arises because the system can be in more than one internal state.)

Low  High Moisture paper products will show a different equilibrium point than from High  Low

Compression tests are usually conducted after conditioning at 50% relative humidity and 73F – known as “standard conditions.”


Compression Test Classifications

  • Based on test types:
  • Constant deflection (apply & release)
    • Common rate = 0.5 in/min
  • Constant load (apply and hold)
  • Based on terminal conditions:
  • Test to specified level
  • Test to failure


Fixed platens maintain the same parallel relationship between each other during test with the specimen in between.

Floating platens allow one platen to swivel and follow the specimen as it deflects.

ASTM D5639: “Fixed platen machines cause failure at the specimen’s strongest point, while floating platen machines cause failure at the specimen weakest point.”

Some use fixed platen for quality control testing and floating platen for development testing.



  • Force level that defines zero deflection
  • Specified in most compression tests
  • Standard pre-loads for corrugated specimens are:
    • 50 lb for single wall
    • 100 lb for double wall
    • 500 lb for triple wall
  • F factors are various design factors to take into account the effects which are often not tested in lab, such as length of time in storage, alignment or stacking pattern, variability of moisture contents, temperature, previous handling and transportation.

Atmospheric Effects

Some products and packaging materials are sensitive to




Light (such as ultraviolet)

Gases (such as oxygen)

Conditioning and pre-conditioning are activities usually done prior to testing in an effort to prepare the test sample.



Mixture of gases that surrounds the earth is called air.

Air consists of approximately 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, and 1% argon.

The lowest layer of the atmosphere, where we live, is the troposphere (about 30,000 to 60,000 ft).


Atmospheric Pressure at Sea Level

Barometer is used to measure atmospheric pressure

At sea level, the height of a column of mercury from standard atmospheric pressure = 29.92 inches (760 mm)


Effect of Altitude

Standard atmospheric pressure and temperature decreases with altitude

Temperature decreases about 2C (3.5F) from the Mean Sea Level (MSL) temperature of 15C (59F) for each 1000 ft of altitude gain.

Atmospheric pressure decreases about 1 inch (25 mm) of mercury from the MSL pressure of 29.92 inches (760 mm) for each 1000 ft of altitude gain.


Altitude (meters above sea level)

Pressure (mm Hg)

Pressure (psi – absolute)

Altitude (feet above sea level)


Water Vapor

The amount of water vapor the atmosphere can hold is limited and is related to the temperature of the air.

In warm air the molecules are more active and farther apart and there is more room for water vapor.

In cold air, it can hold less water vapor.

When air contains the maximum amount of water vapor possible for given conditions it is said to be saturated.

When water vapor changes to liquid water, this is called condensation.



When water vapor changes to liquid water, this is called condensation.

The dew point is that temperature to which air must be cooled to reach saturation.

If temperature is 80F and dew point is 70F, then cooling the air to 70F will saturate the atmosphere. Any further cooling will result in condensation.

When air temp and dew point are close together, air is heavy with moisture (saturation) and we feel uncomfortable from the “humidity.”


Relative Humidity

Relative humidity (RH) is the percentage of saturation of air at its current temperature.

100% RH means air holds all the water vapor possible for that specific temperature.

Temperature changes, RH changes.

Specific humidity (SH) is another type of humidity measurement.. Not as common as RH.

SH is the actual amount of water vapor in the air, by weight. It is not related to temperature. It is measured as the weight of water in a given weight of dry air.


Wet & Dry Bulb Temperatures (WBT & DBT)

WBT is measured using a thermometer that has its bulb wrapped in a wet wick.

DBT is measured with a thermometer without the wick.

Wet Bulb Depression = DBT – WBT. It is directly related to the amount of moisture in the air. It is zero when the atmosphere is saturated.


Hygrometer or Psychrometer

A psychometer is simply two identical thermometers, one with wet wick and the other without. Passing air over the bulbs is needed to produce cooling effect on the web bulb.

A sling psychrometer (shown) using whirling action to provide air movement.


DBT = 15C, WBT = 14C, DBT – WBT = 1, RH = 90%

DBT = 23C, WBT = 16C, DBT – WBT = 7, RH = 48%

DBT = 15C, WBT = 5C, DBT – WBT = 10, RH = 13%

Note: DBT – WBT = 0  Saturated


Psychrometric Chart

WBT = 20C & DBT = 23C  RH = 70%

RH = 50% & DBT = 27C  WBT = 20C





Consequences for Packages

  • Plastics may soften or become brittle with temperature change.
  • Paper is hygroscopic (takes up and gives off moisture to the surrounding atmosphere) and its strength changes with moisture content.
  • Atmospheric pressure affects packages containing air (bubbles, etc.) and packages that encapsulate the product (sealed food or medical products)
  • Changes in pressure may weaken seals.

Environmental Chambers

  • They allow temperature/moisture/pressure controls.



Walk-in Humidity/

Temp/Altitude Chamber

Altitude Chamber