Methods Available For Testing Packaging Strength

August 27, 2022

There are several factors that are important to any packaging design or shipping program that your business is involved in, and one of these is the strength of the packaging involved. You need your goods and products to arrive at their destination in perfect shape, and strong, durable packaging is one of the key elements that allows this to be possible.

At Packsize, it’s our pleasure to assist clients in numerous ways in this area. We offer comprehensive custom packaging and automated packaging solutions, streamlining your entire process.  We also regularly assist clients who are wondering about strength and durability for their packaging, including offering them resources to test and determine strength levels for any of our products independently.  Here are a few different methods that can be used for testing packaging strength, whether they’re carried out by you or your packaging supplier.

Drop Tests

One of the most common types of tests used for packaging is the drop test. Drop tests are typically carried out on individual items that are placed inside of a package to check and see if the packaging can protect them from damage. There are two main types of drop tests: guided and free fall.

Guided drop tests involve dropping the packaged item onto a hard surface from a predetermined height. This is generally done using a specialized jig or fixture. The height of the drop is usually around 3-6 feet (0.9-1.8 meters), but it can be varied to simulate different conditions, such as a fall from a shelf or other location.

Free fall drop tests are conducted by simply dropping the packaged item from a specified height onto a hard surface. These tests are generally used to simulate items that are dropped during shipping or handling. The most common heights for free fall drop tests are 18 inches (0.5 meters) and 36 inches (0.9 meters), but again, the heights can be varied to simulate different conditions.

Burst Test

Also known as a Mullen Burst Test, this form of test reveals the amount of force that’s required to “burst” the material that’s being tested. The test is generally used to determine the bursting strength of paper and paperboard materials, but it can also be used for other types of materials, such as plastics.

For this test, a small piece of your packaging will be inserted, lying flat, in a machine that contains a small rubber ball. This rubber ball will apply pressure to the packaging until it bursts. The amount of pressure that’s required to cause the burst is then recorded and used to determine the strength of your packaging.

For this test, the metric that will be used is pounds per square inch. If you’re looking for packaging that will be able to withstand a lot of pressure, you’ll want to find something with a high bursting strength.

Edge Crush Test

Abbreviated ECT, the edge crush test is specifically applied to corners and edges of corrugated materials to learn more about their overall strength. The test simulates the pressure that’s applied to these types of materials during stacking, shipping, and handling.

For this test, a small piece of your packaging will be inserted into a specialized machine. This machine will then apply pressure to the edges of the material until it crushes them. The amount of pressure that’s required to cause the crush is then recorded and used to determine the strength of your packaging.

Vibration Test

When it comes to packaging strength, it’s not only important to check the pressure it can withstand in various areas — but also how it will fare during actual transportation of the products themselves. This is one area where the vibration test comes into play.

As its name indicates, this is a form of test that judges how well packaging will handle vibrations that take place during normal driving conditions. There are two separate types of vibration test:

  • Random vibration: This form of test is meant to simulate a truck or plane ride, with random vibrations that occur throughout the journey.
  • Sine vibration: Rather than focusing on a specific simulation type, this test is aimed at identifying which specific frequencies are most damaging to your packaging.

Both of these tests are important in their own ways, and can give you valuable insights into how well your packaging will withstand being transported.

Moisture Level Test

Another important theme when it comes to packaging and transportation is keeping moisture at bay. No matter what type of product you’re shipping, it’s important that it arrives at its destination in the same condition as when it left — and this means keeping moisture out.

There are a few different ways to test for moisture level, and one involves the use of a moisture meter. This type of device can be used to measure the level of moisture in both the atmosphere and in the packaging itself.

Another common method is to use a desiccant, which is a substance that’s designed to absorb moisture from the air. By placing a desiccant inside your packaging, you can get an idea of how well it will protect your products from moisture damage.

It’s important to make sure that your packaging can withstand being exposed to moisture, as this is one of the leading causes of product damage during shipping.

For more on the various methods available for testing the strength of packaging materials, or to learn about any of our custom packaging automation services, speak to the team at Packsize today.

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