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ISTA 3A

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 of 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 exposed to temperatures in excess of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

STANDARD packaged-products shall be 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 shall be 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 shall be 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 shall be 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 ISTA 3A shipping test standard that outlines the testing sequences and provides more guidance on the testing procedure and requirements for package validation and ISTA 3A certification:

Test Sequence STANDARD

Sequence #Test CategoryTest TypeFor ISTA Certification
1Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1Temperature and HumidityRequired
2Atmospheric Conditioning TEST BLOCK 1Controlled Temperature and HumidityOptional
3Shock TEST BLOCK 3DropRequired
4Vibration TEST BLOCK 4 & 7 for Standard TEST BLOCKS 5 & 7 for Pails and Short CylindersRandom Vibration Under Low PressureRequired
5Vibration TEST BLOCKS 2 & 8Random Vibration Under Low PressureOptional
6Shock TEST BLOCK 9DropRequired

 

Test Sequence SMALL

Sequence #Test CategoryTest TypeFor ISTA Certification 
1Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1Temperature and HumidityRequired
2Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1Controlled Temperature and HumidityOptional
3Shock-TEST BLOCK 3DropRequired
4Vibration TEST BLOCKS 6 & 7Random with and without Top LoadRequired
5Vibration TEST BLOCKS 2 & 8Random Vibration Under Low PressureOptional
6Shock TEST BLOCK 9DropRequired

 

Test Sequence FLAT

Sequence #Test CategoryTest TypeFor ISTA Certification
1Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1Temperature and HumidityRequired
2Atmospheric Conditioning TEST BLOCK 1Controlled Temperature and HumidityOptional
3Shock TEST BLOCK 3DropRequired
4Vibration TEST BLOCKS 4 & 7Random with and without Top LoadRequired
5Vibration TEST BLOCKS 2 & 6Random Vibration Under Low PressureOptional
6Shock TEST BLOCK 9DropRequired
7Shock TEST BLOCK 10Rotational Edge DropRequired
8Shock TEST BLOCK 11Full Rotational Flat DropRequired
9Shock TEST BLOCK 12Concentrated ImpactRequired

 

Test Sequence ELONGATED

Sequence #Test CategoryTest TypeFor ISTA Certification
1Atmospheric Preconditioning TEST BLOCK 1Temperature and HumidityRequired
2Atmospheric Conditioning TEST BLOCK 1Controlled Temperature and HumidityOptional
3Shock TEST BLOCK 3DropRequired
4Vibration TEST BLOCKS 4 & 7Random with and without Top LoadRequired
5Vibration TEST BLOCKS 2 & 8Random Vibration Under Low PressureOptional
6Shock TEST BLOCK 9DropRequired
7Shock TEST BLOCK 10Rotational Edge DropRequired
8Shock TEST BLOCK 11Full Rotational Flat DropRequired
9Shock TEST BLOCK 13Bridge ImpactRequired

 

Keystone Package testing is an accredited ISTA certified test lab with extensive knowledge with e-commerce package testing. With significant experience in the testing of ISTA 3A packages, Keystone assists shippers throughout the entire testing process. Our quotes are timely and affordable and we assist with designing test plans.

We have ample equipment, ensuring that job scheduling can occur in a short period of time. When testing challenges arise, our engineers and technicians can assist with making recommendations in changes to packaging material and package design. Our package test reports are concise and completed expeditiously after the test program is complete. Contact us when you are ready to receive expert ISTA 3A transit testing.