ISTA Test Procedure 2B, established by the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA), is designed to test the performance of individually packaged products, particularly those intended for international distribution. It facilitates a comprehensive evaluation of the packaged product, aiding in the comparison of packaging and product design alternatives.
The procedure tests the packaging and product as a single unit, providing a holistic analysis of packaging performance under various transportation conditions. However, it is important to note that the procedure does not simulate all transportation conditions, such as humidity variations, pressure changes, or unusual handling scenarios. For these specific conditions, other ISTA procedures may be more appropriate.
ISTA Test Procedure 2B applies to individually packaged products weighing over 150 lb (68 kg) when prepared for shipment. There is an exception for individually packaged products on a pallet or visible support, which can be tested using ISTA Test Procedure 1E for non-simulated integrity performance testing or ISTA Test Procedure 3E for general simulation performance testing.
Before initiating the test, the shipper must establish several critical parameters:
- Definition of product damage.
- Acceptable level of damage tolerance, if applicable.
- Methodology for assessing the product's condition after the test.
- Acceptable condition of the packaging after the test.
These parameters are essential for determining whether the packaged product passes or fails the test.
ISTA Test Procedure 2B comprises several different tests, including compression, vibration, and shock tests. These tests assess the packaging's ability to withstand various physical stresses that may be encountered during transportation.
Ultimately, at the end of all tests, the product must not be damaged according to the established product damage tolerance, and the packaging must still be in an acceptable condition, both of which are determined prior to the start of the test.
While it is only necessary to perform ISTA Test Procedure 2B once, it is recommended to conduct the procedure five times or more using new samples each time. This allows for adequate determination of representative performance of the packaged product.
Packaging that has already undergone the rigors of transportation cannot be assumed to represent standard conditions. Therefore, products and packaging sent to certified laboratories for testing must either be overpacked for shipment to the laboratory or re-packaged in new packaging at the laboratory.
The tests should be performed in the following sequence:
- Atmospheric conditioning
- Compression tests
- Vibration tests
- Shock tests
- Vibration tests