Drop, Impact and Load Stability

Smithers Pira has experience of the range of standard drop test methods and procedures associated with ISTA and ASTM package tests and our laboratories are well equipped to provide testing capable of reproducing the drop, impact and load stability events that occur in the field.

From e-commerce shipments to retail supply chains and sea shipments, the level of mechanical and manual handling can vary significantly for individual cases, mixed pallets, roll cages and large-scale containers.

Smithers testing experts understand that the result of manual and mechanical handling is that packaged products experience repeated and varied impacts, including:

  • ‘Drop’ type events from significant heights - typically as a result of mechanical handling
  • Lower level placement ‘drop’ type events - typically as a result of manual handling
  • Horizontal acceleration / deceleration events – typically as a result of fork lift truck palletizing, automated warehousing and vehicle braking and cornering

With this understanding, we recognize that often a custom test approach is needed to understand the specific real life conditions that cause impact failure. Our experts are knowledgeable and skilled at developing non-standard drop and impact test scenarios to deliver greater understanding of packaged product performance.

Pallet / Load Stability 

Instability is particularly an issue for taller unit load (such as container shipments) and pallets, and loads where light weighting and cost saving projects have eliminated corrugated material. Instability typically occurs from:

  • High displacement (low frequency) hazard events
  • Road vehicle cornering or braking
  • Mechanical and automated handling machinery (including fork lift trucks, pallet trucks and pallet conveyor systems)

Smithers Pira has developed its own stability test method based on using an inclined impact tester and this has been used to identify suitable packaging solutions to address stability issues in the field.


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