ASTM D1185 - 98a(2009)

    Standard Test Methods for Pallets and Related Structures Employed in Materials Handling and Shipping

    Active Standard ASTM D1185 | Developed by Subcommittee: D10.21

    Book of Standards Volume: 15.10


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    Significance and Use

    Static compression and bending tests provide data that are used to estimate stiffness, strength, and safe working loads for pallets under specified load and support conditions. These estimates provide a basis for designing pallets and comparing the performance between pallets of different designs and constructions.

    Dynamic tests provide data which are used to estimate the physical durability and functionality of a pallet in specified material handling and shipping environments. These estimates provide a basis for designing single or multiple-use pallets.

    Other tests may be performed to assess the properties of specific materials (Test Methods D 2395, D 4442, D 4444, and T 208 OM) and connecting devices (Test Methods D 1761, F 680, Test Method F 1575, and Specification F 1667), design features, use applications, and other variables encountered.

    1. Scope

    1.1 These test methods cover the performance of pallets and related structures, functioning as skids, bases, platforms, and bins in materials handling and shipping. Their use facilitates the protection of both packaged and unpackaged products during storage and transportation. The test methods include measurements of the relative resistance of pallets and related structures to deformations, damages, and structural failures which detrimentally affect the functionality of the unit load.

    1.2 These test methods include conditioning requirements, static stiffness and strength tests, and dynamic tests of structural reliability. These test methods are used to evaluate the relative performance of new, used, or reconditioned general and special-purpose pallets fabricated from various materials including solid wood, wood composites, fiberboard, honeycomb, plastics, or metal, or to compare the performance of such pallets and related structures to specified performance criteria. Recommended criteria for all tests specified in this standard are listed in Appendix X2.

    1.2.1 These test methods are also used to classify pallets as single- or multiple-use pallets and to determine the safe working loads for pallets under specified load and support conditions.

    1.3 Nonmandatory Preliminary TestsBecause each pallet may be used under several different conditions of load and support, pallet-design considerations and safe working-load estimates shall be based on that condition under which the pallet offers least resistance or is most severely stressed.

    1.3.1 Preliminary, short-duration static tests up to the ultimate (see 8.2, 8.3, and 8.4) shall be performed on previously non-tested pallets to determine which load and support conditions influence most severely the pallet load-carrying capacity and safe working loads.

    1.3.2 During the development of prototypes leading to designs that will be subject to acceptance testing, as described in 1.4, these preliminary tests shall include the free-fall drop tests in accordance with 9.1.

    1.4 Mandatory Acceptance Tests:

    1.4.1 General-Purpose PalletsWhen the objective of the test is to determine the safe working load or to classify a general-purpose pallet as a single- or multiple-use pallet, all tests described in these test methods shall be performed in the order specified. The same pallet shall be used for all static and dynamic tests, where feasible.

    1.4.2 Special-Purpose PalletsWhen the objective of the test is to determine the safe working load or to classify a special-purpose pallet, as a single- or multiple-use pallet, only those tests representing the intended condition of use shall be performed. Certain specialpurpose pallet designs, because of the pallet size, its shape, or the material of fabrication, or combinations thereof, cannot be reliably tested using this methodology. When available, alternative test methods should be used.

    1.4.3 Field TestingIt is recommended that pallet designs passing these acceptance tests be further subjected to field testing in the distribution environment.

    1.5 Simulation of the Distribution EnvironmentThese test methods are not intended to lead to exact simulations of pallet performance in the distribution environment. These test methods are designed to relate to practice with the added provision that they are repeatable, do not depend on exceptional skills, and are safe to conduct without elaborate precautions. The test findings are not expected to lead to unalterable conclusions. Testing in the distribution environment may be necessary to verify the results obtained from laboratory tests.

    1.6 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use. Specific warnings are given in 9.5.3.5.


    2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.

    ISO Standard

    ISO445 Pallets for Material Handling- Vocabulary

    ASTM Standards

    D642 Test Method for Determining Compressive Resistance of Shipping Containers, Components, and Unit Loads

    D996 Terminology of Packaging and Distribution Environments

    D999 Test Methods for Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers

    D1505 Test Method for Density of Plastics by the Density-Gradient Technique

    D1761 Test Methods for Mechanical Fasteners in Wood

    D2395 Test Methods for Specific Gravity of Wood and Wood-Based Materials

    D4003 Test Methods for Programmable Horizontal Impact Test for Shipping Containers and Systems

    D4332 Practice for Conditioning Containers, Packages, or Packaging Components for Testing

    D4442 Test Methods for Direct Moisture Content Measurement of Wood and Wood-Base Materials

    D4444 Test Method for Laboratory Standardization and Calibration of Hand-Held Moisture Meters

    D4728 Test Method for Random Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers

    F680 Test Methods for Nails

    F1575 Test Method for Determining Bending Yield Moment of Nails

    F1667 Specification for Driven Fasteners: Nails, Spikes, and Staples

    ASME Standard

    MH1 Pallets, Slipsheets, and Other Bases for Unit Loads

    TAPPI Standard

    TAPPIT208OM-89 Moisture in Wood, Pulp, Paper and Paper Board by Tolvene Distillation


    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    DOI: 10.1520/D1185-98AR09

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