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Over the past two decades, ISTA Testing has played a crucial role in revolutionizing how consumable goods are packaged and shipped. There’s now a strong focus on making products more durable to reduce costs from damaged items during transportation.

This has led to the growing importance of packaging testing services. Organizations like ISTA take the lead in establishing specific protocols and certifications to ensure quality, security, and sustainability in the distribution of goods from various industries, such as pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, or distribution, among others.

Proper packaging is essential for protecting electronics, food items, or delicate products from damage during transit. Businesses are increasingly realizing the significance of ISTA Testing and other packaging assessments to maintain product integrity and minimize financial losses from shipping damages.


Other industries

Understanding ISTA Testing Protocols

ISTA tests cover a wide range, starting from early design screening tools (1-Series) to more comprehensive simulations of hazards specific to certain shipments (3-Series). Selecting the appropriate test for your desired outcome is crucial.

Test procedures of ISTA testing

Non-Simulation Tests

Partial Simulation Tests

The product and package combination is being questioned in terms of its integrity. While these tests are valuable for initial evaluation, they are not intended to replicate real-world environmental situations.


  • 1A  – Integrity Testing for Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less
  • 1B – Integrity Testing Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68 kg)
  • 1C – Extended Integrity Testing for Individual Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less
  • 1D – Extended Integrity Testing for Individual Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68 kg)
  • 1E – Integrity Testing for Unitized Loads
  • 1G – Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less utilizing Random Vibration
  • 1H – Integrity Testing for Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68 kg) utilizing Random Vibration

The ISTA 2-Series protocols are tests that combine elements from both 3-Series type General Simulation performance tests, like atmospheric conditioning or mode-shaped random vibration, and basic elements of 1-Series type Non-Simulation Integrity tests.


2A – Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less
2B – Packaged-Products weighing over 150 lb (68 kg)
2C – Furniture Packages

General Simulation Tests

Enhanced Simulation Tests

ISTA 3-Series protocols are tests that simulate the damaging motions, forces, and conditions of transport environments in a laboratory setting. They can be applied in various situations, like different vehicle types, routes, or handling exposures. These tests may involve simple shaped random vibration, different drop heights for the package, and atmospheric conditioning like tropical wet or winter/frozen conditions.


3A – Parcel Delivery System Shipments 150 lb (70kg) or Less
3B – Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) Shipment
3E – Similar Packaged-Products in Unitized Loads for Truckload Shipment
3F – Distribution Center to Retail Outlet Shipment 100 lb (45 kg)
3H – Mechanically Handled Bulk Transport Containers
3K – Fast Moving Consumer Goods for the European Retail Supply Chain
3L – Generalized E-commerce Retailer Fulfillment

By customizing testing elements based on specific situations and using current hazard profiles and parameters, an Enhanced Simulation can be achieved. ISTA 4AB enables users to create personalized test plans that closely align with their desired distribution pattern. It includes a wide range of up-to-date and precise information on distribution environment hazards.


4AB – ISTA Project 4AB is a web-based software application that generates Enhanced Simulation Test Plan

Member Performance Tests

ISTA 6-Series protocols are tests designed to match the supply chain processes of specific Global 500 Retailers or Carriers. These tests are considered unique and cannot be easily standardized across the industry according to the ISTA Standards Council. They can be entirely new or modified versions of existing ISTA Procedures or Projects, or other recognized tests.


Project 6 – AMAZON.COM-SIOC – Ships in Own Container (SIOC) for Distribution System Shipment
Project 6 – AMAZON.COM-Over Boxing – e-Commerce Fulfillment for Parcel Delivery Shipment
Project 6 –  SAMSCLUB – Packaged-Products for Sam’s Club® Distribution System Shipment
6-FEDEX-A – FedEx Procedures for Testing Packaged Products Weighing Up to 150 lbs.
6-FEDEX-B – FedEx Procedures for Testing Packaged Products Weighing Over 150 lbs.

Development Tests

ISTA 7-Series protocols are employed in developing transport packages. They allow comparing the performance of different container designs, but they are not meant to assess the protection provided to the packaged products inside.


7D – Temperature Test for Transport Packaging
7E – Testing Standard for Thermal Transport Packaging Used in Parcel Delivery System Shipment

Significance of ISTA Certification

ISTA is crucial as it provides comprehensive testing protocols to assess packaging performance during transportation.

The ISTA certification mark on a package is visible proof that the packaged-product has passed a valid ISTA preshipment test. It gives the hihghest level of credibility  to the design, test, and package product verification process.

Furthermore, other avantdges od ISTA certification mark are:

  • Cost Reduction: ISTA testing can significantly reduce the risk of product damage during transportation. By identifying and rectifying packaging weaknesses early in the design phase, companies can minimize costly product losses and warranty claims.
  • Sustainability: Packaging optimization through ISTA testing leads to reduced material usage while maintaining or improving the package’s protective capabilities. This aligns with sustainability goals and reduces the environmental impact of packaging.
  • Enhanced Customer Satisfaction: Robust packaging ensures that products reach customers in pristine condition. By reducing the likelihood of product damage, companies can enhance customer satisfaction and build brand loyalty.
  • Compliance with Regulations: Many industries have strict packaging regulations to ensure the safety of both consumers and products. ISTA testing helps companies comply with these regulations and avoid potential legal issues. In order toi get the USRA Certification Mark, tha packaged-products must be tested in an ISTA cERTIFIED lAB.
  • Innovation and Product Development: ISTA testing not only identifies weaknesses in existing packaging but also stimulates innovation in packaging design. Companies can develop new, more efficient packaging solutions, giving them a competitive edge in the market.

Where to start in ISTA Testing – How to Get ISTA Certification?

To obtain the ISTA certification, companies have two options: either use the services of an ISTA Certify laboratory around the world,  or establish their own testing facility, by certifiying it by ISTA.

Both choices come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and the decision between them depends on the company’s short-term and long-term needs.

For companies that don’t want to invest in owning, operating, and maintaining testing systems, outsourcing to technological testing laboratories or leasing testing equipment is a more suitable option. This way, they only make specific economic investments when testing is required.

However, it’s crucial to understand the key criteria for selecting the right laboratory. If the company aims to achieve ISTA certification, it must seek out an ISTA testing laboratory.

On the other hand, some companies choose to create their own ISTA lab for testing, acquiring transport simulation machines tailored to their specific requirements. Despite the initial investment, this approach offers several benefits, including:

  1. Conducting unlimited testing without additional costs.
  2. Faster product certification, bypassing formalities and waiting times.
  3. Generating more comprehensive analyses since companies are familiar with their equipment and products in detail, and they can conduct tests based on their specific needs.

The Role of Safe Load Testing Technologies in Packaging Optimization

Safe Load Testing is a leading company that sells advanced equipment designed for conducting load and transportation tests. These machines are able to conduct tests according to ISTA standards. Their state-of-the-art equipment allows for simulating various transportation and handling conditions, ensuring the safety and efficiency of the tested products.

Our machines are able to conduct all these ISTA procedures:

Non-Simulation Tests

  • 1A
  • 1B
  • 1C
  • 1D
  • 1E
  • 1G
  • 1H

Partial Simulation Tests

  • 2A
  • 2B
  • 2C

General Simulation Tests

  • 3A
  • 3B
  • 3E
  • 3F
  • 3H
  • 3K
  • 3L

Enhanced Simulation Tests

4 series

Member Performance Tests

  • 6-FEDEX

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