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September/October 2008
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parcel delivery systemSingle Parcel Delivery Systems

The need to create a more realistic simulation for the small parcel shipping and handling environment was the impetus for the development of a new ASTM standard, D7386, Practice for Performance Testing of Packages for Single Parcel Delivery Systems. Subcommittee D10.21 on Shipping Containers and Systems — Application of Performance Test Methods, under the jurisdiction of ASTM International Committee D10 on Packaging, developed the new standard.

According to Patrick J. Nolan, chief operating officer, DDL Inc., and chair of Committee D10, the distribution cycles contained in D4169, Practice for Performance Testing of Shipping Containers and Systems, no longer accurately represent the handling methods and technology within the small parcel shipping industry. “D7386 will be used to test and evaluate packages that are handled with UPS, FedEx or other small parcel handling systems,” says Nolan. “It will have the most application for companies who typically ship by this mode of transport.”

Medical device manufacturers that use small parcel shipping frequently will be primary users of D7386 instead of the current standards contained in D4169, according to Nolan. He also notes that D7386 has been submitted to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for inclusion in the list of recognized standards within the FDA’s Guidance for Recognition and Use of Consensus Standards. FDA recognition will allow medical device manufacturers to use D7386 in lieu of D4169.

Nolan says that the subcommittee welcomes both participation in its standards developing activities and feedback from those using D7386 in order to prepare future revisions of the standard.

In addition to developing D7386, Subcommittee D10.21 has revised D4169 to reflect the existence of the new standard. Distribution Cycle 3, which previously included the small parcel/single package carriers now covered in D7386 and less-than-truckload carriers that sort packages manually or with lift trucks at their transit terminals, has now been revised to eliminate the categories now covered in D7386 and to include only single packages shipped by less-than-truckload carriers.

“With the new D7386 and the revised D4169, we now have the latest and best performance test procedures for both small parcel/single package shipments and LTL shipments,” says Al McKinlay, a past chair of Committee D10 who worked on both the development of D7386 and the revision of D4169.

CONTACT

Technical Information: Patrick J. Nolan, DDL Inc., Eden Prairie, Minn.

Phone: 952-941-9226, ext. 112

ASTM Staff: Kevin Shanahan

Phone: 610-832-9737