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ISTA 3A Package Testing

ISTA 3A package testing evaluates the performance of a packaged-product related to vibrations, shocks and other stresses encountered during handling and transportation. As an ISTA and ISO 17025 certified lab, we realize the importance of ISTA 3A transit testing. Meeting the ISTA 3A integrity requirements can be difficult. We understand the challenges and guide companies through the process. 

Keystone Compliance partners with customers to achieve package compliance. We provide comprehensive reports shortly after completion of the testing. Keystone provides the peace of mind that all of your needs will be met. Lastly, we create an accurate test plan to eliminate expensive over-testing.

Request a quote and find out first hand about our competitive pricing, timely process, and outstanding reputation. Contact us to receive more information on ISTA 3A testing.

Summary of ISTA 3A Integrity Testing

ISTA 3A package testing is a general simulation test for individual packaged-products shipped through a parcel delivery system. The ISTA 3A test procedure is appropriate for four different types of packages commonly distributed as individual packages, either by air or ground. 

The packaging standards are standard, small, flat and elongated packages. ISTA 3A includes an optional test combining Random Vibration under Low Pressure (simulated high altitude). This tests the container’s (whether primary package or transport package) ability to hold a seal of closure and the retention of contents (liquid, powder or gas) without leaking.

ISTA 3A requires one test sample be tested unless the product is considered to be fragile or liquid. A fragile product is defined as an item that could easily break when dropped without having protective packaging.

ISTA 3A test drop heights may vary per package. Examples of fragile products include ceramics, clay, electronics glass and porcelains. Liquids include liquids as well as semi-liquids and solids that can become liquids if they are exposed to temperatures in excess of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

STANDARD packaged-products are defined as:

  • Any packaged-product that does not meet any of the definitions below for a small, flat or elongated packaged-product.
  • A standard packaged-product may be packages such as traditional fiberboard cartons, as well as plastic, wooden or cylindrical containers.

SMALL packaged-products are defined as any packaged-product where the:

  • Volume is less than 13,000 cm3 (800 in3) and
  • Longest dimension is 350mm (14in) or less and
  • Weight is 4.5kg (10lb) or less.

FLAT packaged-products are defined as any packaged-product where the:

  • Shortest dimension is 200mm (8in) or less and
  • Next longest dimension is four (4) or more times larger than the shortest dimension, and
  • Volume is 13,000 cm3 (800in3) or greater

ELONGATED packaged-products are defined as any packaged-product where the:

  • Longest dimension is 900mm (36in) or greater and
  • Both of the packages’ other dimensions are each 2 percent or less of that of the longest dimension.

The chart below is from the ISTA 3A shipping test standard that outlines the testing sequences. This chart also provides more guidance on the testing procedure and requirements for package validation and ISTA 3A certification:

Test Sequence STANDARD

Sequence #

Test Category

Test Type

For ISTA Certification

1

Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1

Temperature and Humidity

Required

2

Atmospheric Conditioning TEST BLOCK 1

Controlled Temperature and Humidity

Optional

3

Shock TEST BLOCK 3

Drop

Required

4

Vibration TEST BLOCK 4 & 7 for Standard TEST BLOCKS 5 & 7 for Pails and Short Cylinders

Random Vibration Under Low Pressure

Required

5

Vibration TEST BLOCKS 2 & 8

Random Vibration Under Low Pressure

Optional

6

Shock TEST BLOCK 9

Drop

Required

Test Sequence SMALL

Sequence #

Test Category

Test Type

For ISTA Certification 

1

Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1

Temperature and Humidity

Required

2

Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1

Controlled Temperature and Humidity

Optional

3

Shock-TEST BLOCK 3

Drop

Required

4

Vibration TEST BLOCKS 6 & 7

Random with and without Top Load

Required

5

Vibration TEST BLOCKS 2 & 8

Random Vibration Under Low Pressure

Optional

6

Shock TEST BLOCK 9

Drop

Required

 Test Sequence FLAT

Sequence #

Test Category

Test Type

For ISTA Certification

1

Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1

Temperature and Humidity

Required

2

Atmospheric Conditioning TEST BLOCK 1

Controlled Temperature and Humidity

Optional

3

Shock TEST BLOCK 3

Drop

Required

4

Vibration TEST BLOCKS 4 & 7

Random with and without Top Load

Required

5

Vibration TEST BLOCKS 2 & 6

Random Vibration Under Low Pressure

Optional

6

Shock TEST BLOCK 9

Drop

Required

7

Shock TEST BLOCK 10

Rotational Edge Drop

Required

8

Shock TEST BLOCK 11

Full Rotational Flat Drop

Required

9

Shock TEST BLOCK 12

Concentrated Impact

Required

Test Sequence ELONGATED

Sequence #

Test Category

Test Type

For ISTA Certification

1

Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1

Temperature and Humidity

Required

2

Atmospheric Conditioning TEST BLOCK 1

Controlled Temperature and Humidity

Optional

3

Shock TEST BLOCK 3

Drop

Required

4

Vibration TEST BLOCKS 4 & 7

Random with and without Top Load

Required

5

Vibration TEST BLOCKS 2 & 8

Random Vibration Under Low Pressure

Optional

6

Shock TEST BLOCK 9

Drop

Required

7

Shock TEST BLOCK 10

Rotational Edge Drop

Required

8

Shock TEST BLOCK 11

Full Rotational Flat Drop

Required

9

Shock TEST BLOCK 13

Bridge Impact

Required

Expert ISTA 3A Integrity Testing

Keystone Compliance has a full lab of test equipment which permits us to provide short lead times on scheduling. We can accommodate flexible and rigid packages of all sizes, including large pallets. Our team strives to give our customers more time and energy on product development instead of testing.

Contact us to learn first hand why so many companies partner with Keystone to achieve their ISTA 3A certification needs.