The core of any Quality Management System is continuous improvement and Industry standards are no different. Active review of a test standard is conducted periodically to improve the content and to keep the standard relevant. Significant changes to ASTM D4169 Standard Practice for Performance Testing of Shipping Containers and Systems is a good example of this process. The practice simulates the distribution environment and exposes packages to hazards that occur during distribution; freefall impacts, compression, and vibration to name a few. This standard is used across many industries to simulate the distribution environment.
The latest revision, ASTM D4169-22 (2022) updates the vibration profile for the air spectrum with all other test inputs remaining the same. Significant changes were made to the duration, intensity, frequency band, and overall shape of the profile.
In the previous revision of D4169, the air vibration input was conducted in conjunction with the truck spectrum. The user had to choose an Assurance Level (between I and III) with Level I representing the most intense input while Assurance Level III was the least intense. In the new revision, three levels are defined and are used in sequence with varying intensities and duration. A standard shipper box would receive 40 minutes of vibration per axis. The table below indicates how that duration is split up at each intensity. This structure is similar to the revision made to the truck profile back in 2016.
Other significant changes were made to the frequency band with a decrease from 300Hz to 200Hz and the shape of the profile shifting to below 10Hz. This lower frequency content will require higher displacement and not all vibration test machines will be able to reproduce the new profile.
Moving forward, the following recommendations are suggested:
- Review internal documents or protocols and update references along with the activities to include the changes from ASTM D4169-22. There may be an instance of keeping the legacy standard, but these will be few.
- Reference to any Assurance Level in the air profile should be removed.
- If you have an internal laboratory, include a review of the maximum displacement of the vibration machine as the profile requires more displacement.
- Any outsourcing to an independent laboratory should include a review of the capabilities and the ability to meet the new requirements.
- Testing should always be conducted in accordance with a robust Quality Management System.
As the World’s Most Trusted Test Laboratory, we have multiple vibration tables to meet this new requirement. If you have any remaining questions, Westpak has subject matter experts ready to help.