ISTA Test Procedure 1A, defined by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA), provides a rigorous testing regime for packaged products weighing less than 68 kg when prepared for shipment. This test is designed to evaluate the performance and integrity of both the packaging and the product it contains.
The test offers a systematic process that can be used to compare the performance of different packaging and product designs. It is important to note that the packaging and product are considered collectively and not in isolation in this process. However, the procedure may not cover certain transport conditions such as humidity, pressure, or unusual handling, suggesting that other ISTA procedures may be required to address different conditions or objectives.
In specific situations, other ISTA test procedures are suggested:
- If you prefer to use random vibration instead of fixed displacement vibration, ISTA Test Procedure 1G should be applied instead of ISTA 1A.
- ISTA Test Procedure ISTA 1C is recommended for packaged products where a minimum compression value needs to be tested.
- For packaged products intended for international distribution, ISTA Partial Simulation Performance Test Procedure ISTA 2A may be more appropriate.
- For packaged products likely to be transported within a small parcel delivery system, consider using the ISTA General Simulation Performance Test Procedure ISTA 3A.
Prior to conducting the test, the shipper must determine certain factors including what constitutes damage to the product, any allowable level of damage tolerance, the correct method for determining the product's condition at the end of the test, and the acceptable condition of the packaging after the test.
For Test Procedure ISTA 1A, a single sample is required for testing. However, to ensure a reliable determination of representative performance of the packaged product, ISTA recommends conducting the procedure five or more times using new samples for each test. It is important to note that packages that have already been subjected to the rigors of transportation cannot be assumed to represent standard conditions. To ensure testing under ideal conditions, products and packaging shipped to certified laboratories for testing should either be overpacked for shipment or be repackaged in new packaging at the laboratory.
The test should be conducted in a specific order. The sequence begins with:
- Atmospheric preconditioning (ambient)
- Fixed displacement vibration test: 25mm peak-to-peak displacement at a determined frequency
- Shock testing: Inclined impact and horizontal impact tests, where the impact velocity and/or drop height vary based on the weight of the packaged product.