ISTA Load Stability Whitepaper

ISTA Standards Council Approves New Unitized Load Stability Test

Load Stability Performance Testing of Unitized Packaged-Products for Transit Whitepaper
The stability of unitized loads provides challenges for many companies around the globe. The ISTA Standards Council authorized a workgroup to be formed with the objective to improve the industry’s ability to predict the effects of non-restrained events that occur on unit loads in a generalized supply chain. To tackle this objective, the workgroup walked through research, discussions, and experiments to understand field inputs that create load stability issues and test methods that can be used to predict the effects of those inputs on shipping units. The workgroup’s published whitepaper, Load Stability Performance Testing of Unitized Packaged-Products for Transit documents the current landscape relative to load stability performance testing of unitized packaged-products and also provides visibility of the discussions, research and process used by ISTA’s workgroup.

The workgroup also identified an opportunity to gather further data on other events that influence the stability of a unitized load, specifically those associated with vehicle transport. Funding for research that explores vehicle transport constant acceleration events (truck cornering, braking, etc.) has been approved by ISTA’s Advocate Research and Value Delivery Program. The intent of the research is to drive further development of qualitative test methods that predict the effects of vehicle transport constant acceleration events on unit loads in transit.

Horizontal Impact Testing for Unrestrained Unitized Loads Test
As a result of their findings, the ISTA load stability workgroup developed a new qualitative (pass/fail) test method that predicts the effects of non-restrained horizontal impacts on unitized loads during mechanical handling. ISTA’s ANSI consensus body approach was used to approve the new test, Horizontal Impact Testing for Unrestrained Unitized Loads.

Michael Kuebler, ISTA Load Stability Workgroup Chair and Smithers Technical Director shared “I’m thrilled to see all the hard work of this load stability workgroup culminate in a tangible guidance document that will bring value to not only the Smithers distribution testing team but to the entire package testing community. This new unitized load stability test fills a gap in testing guidance and will ultimately help users better predict performance and shipping effects by delivering accurate testing data.”

The new test will be used in two ways:

  • As an optional “add-on” test conducted with other generalized unitized load tests like ISTA 3B and 3E, and
  • As an a la carte test element that can be utilized independently to challenge the stability of a unit load.

The Standards Council has also determined it most appropriate for the individual test element to reside in ISTA’s Data Depot, in the “project” phase, prior to incorporation into any standardized testing procedures. Since this test is in the “project” stage, sharing how test results correlate to known field results is encouraged. These correlation efforts help the ISTA Standards Council validate the method.

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