Pre-shipment testing of your packaging simulates the conditions and dangers your goods could encounter during transport. Also termed package validation or distribution testing, its goal is to ensure that your packaging protects the product as intended. This includes validation of new packaging components, troubleshooting shipment issues and ensuring regulatory compliance for medical and healthcare products.
Pre-shipment testing isn’t just kicking boxes around a warehouse. It involves objective assessment of packaging and product performance under controlled conditions that are reproducible and comparable across trials. Different tests are applicable for different market sectors; e.g., pharmaceutical products, food products, beverages, appliances and electronics.
Tools and procedures to simulate transport conditions and potential hazards are always improving. Organizations like the International Safe Transport Association (ISTA) are dedicated to addressing the specific concerns of transport packaging, and offer standards and testing programs to help optimize packaging systems across the supply chain – not just environmentally, but economically and socially as well.
ISTA has developed over twenty packaging protection tests that simulate what might happen if your packaged product is dropped, compressed, subjected to shaking or vibration and/or exposed to moisture and temperature extremes. As you refine your packaging options, these and other tests can help you decide what packaging configuration performs best, while also meeting the demands of consumers, sustainability goals and your business needs. Testing is likely to cost far less than unexpected product damage.
Corrugated material is legendary for its ability to cost-effectively protect all kinds of products, while delivering sustainability benefits as well. But to really know how secure a product is within its packaging during transport, warehousing, display and consumption, testing is the way to go.
Lithotech and its independent lab partners can provide comprehensive assessment of all the substrates and corrugated packaging selected. We not only can monitor and report on performance, but also can suggest corrective actions in the event performance is unsatisfactory or not in alignment with cost and environmental factors.
Lithotech’s lab test capabilities include:
- A full complement of containerboard testing, including tests for stiffness/stackability, burst resistance, resistance to moisture, resistance to crushing, and slideability or slipperiness.
- Box quality tests, like the Edge Crush Test (ECT) and Flat Crush test.
- A wide range of pre-shipment tests, like the ISTA vibration, drop and incline impact tests; as well as appliance-specific tests like the “tip test” and “fork truck test.”
- Lithotech can also test the performance of packaging meant to secure dangerous goods during transport.
What pre-shipment packaging validation (if any) does your company normally perform? Please comment and share a bit about your experiences with this process.