Test Procedures

ISTA tests range from those utilized early in the design process as a screening tool (1-Series) to tests that are general simulations of the hazards typically found in a specific shipment type (3-Series), and ensuring you select the correct one for your desired outcome is important.

  • Are you unsure of which test procedure to select? Click to learn more
  • Looking to access multiple procedures? ISTA's Resource Book includes a collection of the following ISTA Test Procedures and Projects: 1 Series, 2 Series, 3 Series, 7D and the Guidelines for Selecting and Using ISTA Test Procedures. Available in two formats: PDF and Printed & Bound
  • ISTA Lab members have access to PackSight, our online test planning and reporting platform for ISTA test procedures.

Non-Simulation Tests

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

Challenge the integrity of the product and package combination. Useful as screening tests but not designed to simulate environmental occurrences.

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Partial Simulation Tests

2A, 2B, 2C

More thorough screening test useful for refining preliminary designs. Not intended to be predictive of shipping performance.

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General Simulation Tests

3A, 3B, 3E, 3F, 3H, 3K

Provide a simulation of the damage-producing motions, forces, conditions, and sequences of transport environments. Useful as a predictive tool to understand risk of damage.

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Enhanced Simulation Tests

4AB

Customizing test plans that closely tie the tests and sequence to a user-defined pattern of distribution environment hazards.

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Member Performance Tests

6-AMAZON.com, 6-SAMSCLUB, 6-FEDEX

Created by an ISTA member or in cooperation with ISTA to establish unique requirements or to reflect their particular conditions of distribution. Useful in evaluating the effectiveness of packaging against hazards represented in their supply chain.

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Development Tests

7D, 7E

Used in the development of transport packages by comparing the relative performance of two or more container designs but are not intended to evaluate the protection afforded packaged-products.

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Data Depot

ISTA's Data Depot is a repository for individual test elements that can be used independently or in conjunction with other tests.

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Non-Simulation Integrity Tests

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

Integrity Testing for Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less

Useful as a screening tool early in the design process.

Procedure 1B

Integrity Testing Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68 kg)

Useful as a screening tool early in the design process.

Procedure 1C

Extended Integrity Testing for Individual Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less

Useful as a screening tool early in the design process.

Procedure 1D

Extended Integrity Testing for Individual Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68 kg)

Useful as a screening tool early in the design process.

Procedure 1E

Integrity Testing for Unitized Loads

Useful as a screening tool early in the design process.

Procedure 1G

Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less utilizing Random Vibration

Useful as a screening tool early in the design process.

Procedure 1H

Integrity Testing for Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68 kg) utilizing Random Vibration

Useful as a screening tool early in the design process.

Partial Simulation Tests

ISTA 2-Series protocols are Partial Simulation Performance Tests that includes tests with at least one element of a 3-Series type General Simulation performance test, such as atmospheric conditioning or mode-shaped random vibration, in addition to basic elements of a 1-Series type Non-Simulation Integrity test.

Procedure 2A

Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less

Testing of individual packaged-products weighing 150 lbs (68 kg) or less when prepared for shipment.

Procedure 2B

Packaged-Products weighing over 150 lb (68 kg)

Testing of individual packaged-products weighing over 150 lbs (68 kg) when prepared for shipment.

Procedure 2C

Furniture Packages

A partial simulation test for individual packaged furniture products transported in a container (Case Goods).

General Simulation Tests

ISTA 3-Series protocols are General Simulation Performance Tests that are 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

Parcel Delivery System Shipments 150 lb (70kg) or Less

Test for individual packaged-products shipped through a parcel delivery system and is appropriate for standard, small, flat and elongated packages distributed as individual packages, either by air or ground.

Procedure 3B

Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Shipment

Test for packaged-products commonly shipped through an LTL delivery system such as Standard, Cylindrical, and Palletized or Skidded, where different types of packaged-products, often from different shippers and intended for different ultimate destinations, are mixed in the same load.

Procedure 3E

Similar Packaged-Products in Unitized Loads for Truckload Shipment

Test for unitized loads of similar retail or institutional packaged-products shipped through a Full Truckload (FTL) delivery system where an entire trailer-load is filled with unitized packaged-products, often of similar retail packaged-products, intended for one destination such as from a manufacturing location to a distribution center.

Procedure 3F

Distribution Center to Retail Outlet Shipment 100 lb (45 kg)

Test for an individual packaged-product weighing 100 lb (45 kg) or less shipped as part of a mixed pallet configuration for regional shipment; typically from a distribution center to a retail facility.

Procedure 3H

Mechanically Handled Bulk Transport Containers

Test for bulk loads made up of one transport container or system consisting of the same product that because of their size and/or weight must be handled by mechanical means such as automotive parts in a reusable rack.

Project 3K

Fast Moving Consumer Goods for the European Retail Supply Chain

Test for fast moving packaged consumer products shipped through the multiple-retail supply chain environment in Europe. This method applies equally to shelf ready and non-shelf ready packages where retailer operations include shipment of store-specific mixed loads in roll cages or as mixed pallets.

Enhanced Simulation Tests

Tailoring testing elements to individual situations while using up-to-date and specific hazard profiles and parameters enables for an Enhanced Simulation. ISTA 4AB allows users to generate custom test plans that closely ties the tests and sequence to a user-defined pattern of distribution and includes a broad range of current and quantitative information on distribution environment hazards.

ISTA 4AB

ISTA Project 4AB is a web-based software application that generates Enhanced Simulation Test Plans.

Member Performance

ISTA 6-Series protocols are Member Performance Tests created to reflect supply chain elements of Global 500 Retailers or Carriers determined by the ISTA Standards Council to be unique and therefore do not translated well to industry standardization. The tests may be completely original or may be modifications or variations of ISTA Procedures or Projects or other published and accepted tests.

Project 6-AMAZON.COM-SIOC

Ships in Own Container (SIOC) for Amazon.com Distribution System Shipment

General simulation test for packaged-products shipped by Vendors to Amazon Fulfillment Centers (FC) and delivered to final customer destinations via Parcel or Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) outbound shipment methods without any additional packaging or preparation by Amazon. It challenges the capability of both package and product to withstand the hazards normally encountered from receipt at an FC through handling and transport by a carrier.

Project 6-AMAZON.COM-Over Boxing

e-Commerce Fulfillment for Parcel Delivery Shipment

General simulation test for individual retail packaged-product weighing 70 pounds (32 kilograms) or less being placed into a master shipping container (Over Box), by Amazon, either by itself with the addition of dunnage(air pillows, etc.) or with multiple individual retail packaged-products with dunnage for shipment from Amazon.com to an end consumer through a parcel delivery system.

Project 6-SAMSCLUB

Packaged-Products for Sam's Club® Distribution System Shipment

General simulation test for packaged-products shipped through the Sam’s Club® distribution system to final destinations in the U.S. In this system, packaged-products are typically shipped from a domestic or international manufacturer through one or more Distribution Centers (DCs), and then to the clubs (stores). The original shipment configuration may be altered at a DC to fit the needs of the system but typically final shipment to the club is on a pallet.

6-FEDEX-A

FedEx Procedures for Testing Packaged Products Weighing Up to 150 lbs.

Pre-shipment tests to simulate FedEx air and ground shipping environments.

6-FEDEX-B

FedEx Procedures for Testing Packaged Products Weighing Over 150 lbs.

Pre-shipment tests to simulate the FedEx Express Freight shipping environment.

Development Tests

ISTA 7-Series protocols are used in the development of transport packages. They can be used to compare relative performance of two or more container designs but are not intended to evaluate the protection afforded packaged-products.

Procedure 7D

Temperature Test for Transport Packaging

A development test to evaluate the effects of external temperature exposures of individual package-products.

Standard 7E

Testing Standard for Thermal Transport Packaging Used in Parcel Delivery System Shipment

Designed to evaluate the effects of external temperature exposures of individual packaged-products shipped through a parcel delivery system. The profile set was developed by characterizing the transport environment and are designed to represent annual heat and cold seasonal maxima and minima. It can be used as a ’standalone‘ profile or in conjunction with a process standard such as ISTA Standard 20.

Data Depot

ISTA’s Data Depot is a repository for individual test elements and is designed to:

  • Introduce developmental test elements into the public domain to catalog more in-depth correlation examples and refine the test element(s) as needed,
  • Provide access to a la carte test element that can be used independently or in conjunction with other tests.

Horizontal Impact Testing for Unrestrained Unitized Loads

This test is for unitized loads of similar retail or institutional packaged-products that are mechanically handled with equipment similar to a forklift or pallet jack.

  • It can be used to evaluate load stability.
  • The test levels are based on general data, including standard horizontal restrained impacts like ISTA 3E, and may not always directly correlate to the impact levels in unrestrained field events.
  • The package and product are considered together and not separately.
  • Some conditions of transit, such as moisture, pressure or unusual handling, may not be covered.

Further considerations:

  • This test is an optional test that can be conducted with other generalized unit load tests like 3B and 3E.
  • This test is in a development stage. Sharing how the test results correlate to known field results would be helpful for ISTA as the organization works to validate the method.