Package Testing

Package Testing should be carried out according to an agreed upon testing standard, these may be developed internally by a company, in partnership with your supplier or taken solely from the available international standards such as those provided by ASTM, BSI and ISO. There are also a number of good resources available on the Internet.

Acceptance Criteria should be established based on the type of packaging system being evaluated. Individual and multiple boxed products shipped in a single case are considered "Type 1". Integrated single item/unitload or pallet packages are considered "Type 2", and Multiple cases of the same or different products on a single unit load are considered "Type 3".

Type 1 (Small boxed
Container (External) - Any rupture to the extent that it can no longer contain or support the product.
- Compression damage from a palletized load that creates unstable pallet loads.
- Failure of closure such that one or more flaps are free to open or cannot support the weight of the product.
- Serious cosmetic or aesthetic deterioration.
- Carton carrying device failure that creates a safety hazard.
- Glue joint breaks open and exposes internal contents.
- Crushed cartons leading to an unstable pallet load which creates a safety issue during storage or handling.
- Tape, snap-lock, or fastener failure compromising containment.
- Delamination, discoloration, or illegible product graphics.
- Hand hole or handle failure .
- Localized ruptures of edges from impacted corners.
- Compression damage from a palletized load, but the pallet load remains stable.
- Localized failures in closure in area of impact (carton is still effectively closed.).
- Dents, dirt, small punctures from handling impacts.
- Carton carrying device which tears or cracks, but maintains structural integrity.
- Edges or corners have small localized cracks/ruptures.
- Minor compression which is supported by internal package or product support, or corner pads and stretch wrap.
- The tape splits across bottom edge.
- Dented corners, dirty flat panels, small partial carton punctures.
- Handle corner tearing.
  Cushioning (Internal) - Failure of bonded joints or surfaces which results in internal packaging to lose original configuration.
- Fractured or deformed material which no longer maintains product position.
- Product contamination or abrasion from cushioning resulting in cosmetic or functional defects.
- Laminated material separation.
- Cushioning deteriorated to a point that the product is no longer held in its intended position or it can not continue its protective function.
- Top case texture worn and contaminated with foam powder.
- Fracture or permanent deformation that still permits internal packaging to maintain product position.
- Product contamination from cushioning not resulting in cosmetic or functional defects.
- Cracked and crushed ribbing.
- Loose foam beads or pulp fiber on the product.
Type 2 (Large Single Product Palletized) External - Non-functional pallet.
- Ruptured wraps, bands, clips, or strapping.
- Fractured bolts, fastening systems, or other hardware used in pallet construction which are beyond their usable function or create a human hazard.
- Protruding nails or bolts, or sharp wood sections. - Splits, cracks or breaks in wood members that do not degrade its function.
- Loose stretch wrap, banding, or fasteners.
- Cracked stringers or blocks.
  Internal - Same as Type 1 internal.   - Same as Type 1 internal.  
Type 3 (Multiple Product Unitized) External - Same as Type 2 external.
- Unitization method (i.e., straps, stretch wrapping) allows individual products to leave the load.
- Unusable slip sheets.
- Immovable slip sheet due to torn tab, product shifting. - Carton or load shift, where carton edges are no longer aligned but load configuration is stable for transport.
- Torn slip sheets, bent or curled but usable.
  Internal - Same as Type 1 internal.   - Same as Type 1 internal.  

Note: Accumulative testing of one container may result in unacceptable damage. Please keep in mind that it is extremely unlikely that any one container will experience all the distribution elements tested for in this series. Therefore, at the engineer's discretion, it is acceptable to change out the packaging materials some number of times during testing; the product may also be changed.

Most outer packaging testing is carried out initially with a small sample of between five and ten packs. Further, larger scale tests involving several unitized loads may then be appropriate. After the test are complete the previously agreed upon information, which would have been gathered throughout the test should be gathered and a report produced. It is important that not only should success and failure criteria be set down, but also the responsibility for the testing and acceptance or rejection of the pack should be clearly noted and understood.