Industrial products are those intended for a business or commercial application as opposed to those intended for a direct consumer application. Examples include larger air compressors, refrigeration equipment, and even larger medical diagnostic equipment. They are sometimes described as electro-mechanical devices and have a wide variety of end-use applications.
The packaging for such devices and products will focus on the protective and utility functions to deal with the shock & vibration, temperature & humidity, and similar hazards of the distribution environment. The testing for such packages follows the functions as described below.
||Hazards & Sources
||Typical Test Procedures
||Shock related damage from manual or mechanical handling during storage, transportation, and installation
||Package freefall drop tests;
Rotational impact tests;
Horizontal or inclined impact tests
|(8) drop testers
(3) complete systems
True Horizontal Impact Test System
|Protection: Vibration attenuation
||Loosening of fasteners, fatigue cracking, scuffing, etc from vehicle-induced vibration
||Sinusoidal resonance search test;
Sinusoidal resonance dwell test;
Random vibration tests
|More than (12) different vibration test systems
|Temperature and Humidity protection
||Temperature and humidity extremes in storage and distribution
||High temperature and humidity extremes;
Low temperature extremes
||More than (60) different temperature & humidity test chambers
|Utility: ability to stack the packages for better space utilization
||Top load compression from storage and from stacking in vehicles
||Compression test to failure
Compression test, max load and release
ISTA procedure 2 and similar
|(4) complete container compression test systems
|Utility: the ability to resist pressure differentials from high altitude shipment
||Lower atmospheric pressure characteristic of higher altitudes, above 5000 feet altitude by truck or in aircraft
||Expansion and over-pressurization of sealed compartments.
||(4) complete vacuum test chambers
|Utility: stability of the package to resist tipping over
||Shipping and handling in the LTL (less than truckload) environment
||Tip test to determine if the package system can withstand a 22.5° tilt and return to its base after the tipping force is removed
|Complete stability test systems at all lab sites
|Utility: forklift handling stability
||Most large industrial products are handled with forklifts. A sudden turn by the forklift driver can cause a load to rotate off of the forks and impact the floor or other surfaces.
||Fork stability course procedure.
|Complete forklift handling test courses at all lab sites
By subjecting your product/package system to the above suggested test procedures, or others (ie, ASTM D4169 or the appropriate ISTA procedure), you will quickly determine the ability of the package system to perform its intended function in the anticipated distribution environment. Minor adjustments, major changes, or complete system overhaul can normally be accomplished quickly and easily at this point, prior to disappointing your customer with a damaged product upon delivery. No one's job in the Corporation is finished until your customer has a quality product and a satisfied look. This very simple concept is what we call quality delivered.
When considering a package test such as suggested above, remember that your package system will always be tested. The distribution environment will make sure of that. The only question to be answered is "who sees the results first, you or your customer?" A brief and cost effective package system evaluation prior to initial shipment is good policy regardless of your product.