ASTM D4169-23 Was Released – See What Changed

ASTM D4169-23 Was Released - See What Changed

WESTPAK’s General Manager, Greg Schwinghammer, recently attended the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)’s International Conference in Washington D.C. at the end of October. Greg is an active ASTM committee member and has been part of the working group that developed the latest update to ASTM D4169-23. The conference was hosted by the ASTM International Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE), supporting over a dozen ASTM technical committees comprising 100 plus scientific committee members.

This bi-annual event consisted of 26 committee meetings related to the test methods, practices, and test methods of industry-specific requirements around key packaging and advanced manufacturing areas. During this conference, the D10 committee met to discuss and vote on upcoming changes to ASTM D4169, and today we are disclosing some important updates that could affect your organization in the months ahead.

Changes to Note in Section 3

Sub-section 3.2.7 has been updated to include a new package definition. Small and lightweight packages have been defined as packages weighing under 10 lbs (4.53 kgs) with a volume below 2.0 ft3 (0.056 m3).

Changes to Note in Section 11

Schedule B and Schedule C

There are several changes in Section 11, Schedule B – Warehouse Stacking and Schedule C – Vehicle Stacking that you should be prepared for.

This new section in 11.4.1 reads: “Typical shipping density (freight) factors for mixed load and LTL shipments are from 10 lb/ft3 (160 kg/m3), which represents the 40th percentile to 30 lb/ft3 (481 kg/m3, which represents the 95th percentile of measured top load packages. If the average shipping (freight) density factor (Mf) for the specific distribution system is not known, a value of 12.0 lb/ft3 (192.2kg/m3) is recommended.”1

For those manufacturers who have been utilizing the same boxes for years without any compression issues within the distribution environment, it may be justifiable to use a shipping density of 10. For those desiring a higher margin paired with survival, WESTPAK recommends using the recommended shipping density of 12.

For example, using an Assurance Level of I under ASTM D4169-22, a 12 x 12 x 12 inch box that weighs 30 pounds would have required a vehicle stacking top load of 800 lbf. However, under this updated standard, ASTM D4169-23, this same package and situation could offer a vehicle stacking top load of 960 lbf.

Another example would be a 54 x 12 x 12 inch box that weighed 30 pounds, which would be required to assume a vehicle stacking top load of about 3,600 lbf under D4169-22. But now, with these changes coming in D4169-23, that same assurance level for the vehicle stacking top load could be 4,320 lbf.

Section 11.4.2 was added to clarify when a user should reduce the H from the recommended 108.

In relation to the safety factor “F”, this new update includes clarifying terms to help the user better select which Shipping Unit Construction to use.

This version will address if product support is unknown, removing the calculation and changing it to use Type 1 Factors in these cases.

Section 12, Schedule D

Here is the change to note in Section 12, Schedule D – Stacked Vibration: the recommended shipping density (M) has been updated from 10 to 12.

For the Entire ASTM D4169-23 Standard

An added reference for ASTM F2825 – Standard Practice for Climatic Stressing of Packaging Systems for Single Parcel Delivery should be noted. Under Section 6 Conditioning, this included reference states (i.6.1.3) that when testing is conducted using DC-13, the F2825 environmental conditioning may also be applicable and should be considered. These are more realistic than the conditions listed in D4332 since, according to F2825, the temperatures used are not absolute extremes but the recorded daily averages in cold and hot climates worldwide.

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1 “Reprinted, with permission, from ASTM D4169-23, Standard Practice for Performance Testing of Shipping Containers and Systems, copyright ASTM International. A copy of the complete standard may be obtained from”