Thermal and Climatic Testing

Smithers Pira operates a range of climatic and environmental test chambers for cold chain testing of thermal packaging and to simulate the range of global shipping environments for general packaging applications.

With more and more products being shipped through longer and extended global supply chains, and with products being shipped through adverse climatic conditions, thermal or climatic testing is a crucial part of ensuring a packaged product is ready for launch on to the market.

Climatic Testing Capabilities    

Much of the pre-shipment and package testing undertaken by Smithers Pira involves some form of climatic testing as part of the test procedure. Our experts regularly conduct climatic testing on packaging and products for the following sectors: food, health and personal care, industrial goods, electronics products and household goods including detergents, as well as luxury products.

Our climatic testing facilities include:

  • -70°C to +150°C
  • Walk-in pallet scale chamber and storage
  • Elevated temperature testing, cold or sub-zero testing and elevated humidity testing
  • Many bench-top and floor standing cabinets
  • Calibrated data capture systems with 50+ individual monitoring points within packs or palletized loads
  • Static, cyclic and automated/programmable test chambers including pallet scale
  • ISO 17025 accreditation, including thermal testing procedures and standards

Understanding How Climatic Conditions Affects Various Packaging Formats

For most packaging materials, elevated temperature and elevated humidity are significant factors in deciding material weights and packaging specifications.

  • Paper-based packaging - Increased relative humidity means increased moisture content within the packaging material causing a reduction in performance.
  • Corrugated packaging - Elevated humidity is one of the most significant factors in determining board type and grade for a particular application.
  • Plastic packaging - Elevated temperature causes 'creep', the slow deflection of the container while under top-load. Creep damage can introduce instability in a pallet, causing damage during transit.
Thermal Package Testing for Cold Chain

Smithers Pira's combination of mechanical and thermal testing capabilities and experience provides an invaluable, independent resource for users of temperature controlled packaging. Our experts regularly conduct insulated shipping container testing or thermal package testing for the cold chain industry.

Our experts are highly experienced in conducting evaluations for cold chain pharmaceuticals. Smithers Pira has supported numerous brand owners with thermal qualification of temperature sensitive products (TSPs) including:

  • Medicines
  • Blood samples and fractions
  • Vaccines and inoculants
  • Other clinical trials materials

Smithers Pira's testing has covered both passive and active cooling systems for the temperature-sensitive mediscience industries.

Examples of Thermal and Climatic Testing Projects for Supply Chain Performance
  • Validation of pharmaceutical packs - maintaining product temperature from 2°C to 8°C
  • Comparison study between multiple insulation materials for thermal packaging
  • Assessment of the performance of cushioned packs for protection from ambient temperature fluctuations, shock and impact
  • Elevated humidity analysis of lightweight corrugated packaging for extended shipments
  • Feasibility studies on temperature effects on PLA corn based plastics

Need assistance? Request a quote or contact one of our experts