ASTM D4169 - 09

    Standard Practice for Performance Testing of Shipping Containers and Systems

    Active Standard ASTM D4169 | Developed by Subcommittee: D10.21

    Book of Standards Volume: 15.10


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    Significance and Use

    This practice provides a guide for the evaluation of shipping units in accordance with a uniform system, using established test methods at levels representative of those occurring in actual distribution. The recommended test levels are based on available information on the shipping and handling environment, and current industry/government practice and experience (1-13). The tests should be performed sequentially on the same containers in the order given. For use as a performance test, this practice requires that the shipping unit tested remain unopened until the sequence of tests are completed. If used for other purposes, such as package development, it may be useful to open and inspect shipping units at various times throughout the sequence. This may, however, prohibit evaluating the influence of the container closure on container performance.

    For Distribution Cycle 18, as referred to in MIL-STD-20731, the use of this practice is defined in subsequent sections identified as DC-18.

    1. Scope

    1.1 This practice provides a uniform basis of evaluating, in a laboratory, the ability of shipping units to withstand the distribution environment. This is accomplished by subjecting them to a test plan consisting of a sequence of anticipated hazard elements encountered in various distribution cycles. This practice is not intended to supplant material specifications or existing preshipment test procedures.

    1.2 Consider the use of Practice D7386 for testing of packages for single parcel shipments.

    1.3 The suitability of this practice for use with hazardous materials has not been determined.

    1.4 The values stated in inch-pound units are to be regarded as standard. The values given in parentheses are mathematical conversions to SI units that are provided for information only and are not considered standard.

    1.5 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.


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

    ASTM Standards

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

    D880 Test Method for Impact Testing for Shipping Containers and Systems

    D951 Test Method for Water Resistance of Shipping Containers by Spray Method

    D996 Terminology of Packaging and Distribution Environments

    D999 Test Methods for Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers

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

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

    D4728 Test Method for Random Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers

    D5265 Test Method for Bridge Impact Testing

    D5276 Test Method for Drop Test of Loaded Containers by Free Fall

    D5277 Test Method for Performing Programmed Horizontal Impacts Using an Inclined Impact Tester

    D5487 Test Method for Simulated Drop of Loaded Containers by Shock Machines

    D6055 Test Methods for Mechanical Handling of Unitized Loads and Large Shipping Cases and Crates

    D6179 Test Methods for Rough Handling of Unitized Loads and Large Shipping Cases and Crates

    D6344 Test Method for Concentrated Impacts to Transport Packages

    D6653 Test Methods for Determining the Effects of High Altitude on Packaging Systems by Vacuum Method

    D7386 Practice for Performance Testing of Packages for Single Parcel Delivery Systems

    F1327 Terminology Relating to Barrier Materials for Medical Packaging

    Military Standards

    MIL-STD-2073–1 DOD Standard Practice for Military Packaging


    ICS Code

    ICS Number Code 55.040 (Packaging materials and accessories)

    UNSPSC Code

    UNSPSC Code


    Referencing This Standard

    DOI: 10.1520/D4169-09

    ASTM International is a member of CrossRef.

    Citation Format

    ASTM D4169-09, Standard Practice for Performance Testing of Shipping Containers and Systems, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2009, www.astm.org

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