The ASTM D5276 standard evaluates how a package and its contents are affected by expected free fall impacts experienced during its shipping and distribution environment.
ASTM D5276: Drop Test of Loaded Containers by Freefall
We have all dropped our phones, or watched videos of packages being thrown onto doorsteps, and been left wondering how these packages and products survive. The ASTM D5276 Free Fall Drop Test is used to assess the ability of the package system to protect its contents when subjected to the shock of a free-fall.
Why is the ASTM D5276 Free Fall Drop Test performed?
The ASTM D5276 standard evaluates how a package and its contents are affected by expected free-fall impacts experienced during its shipping and distribution environment. This type of free-fall could potentially occur if a package is dropped in transit or is handled aggressively during the distribution process. This test standard helps manufacturers ensure the safety of their product in transit and delivery and is typically used to test samples that will be handled manually at some point in the supply chain. Large or bulk containers that are not suitable for manual handling are generally not evaluated with the ASTM D5276 standard. ASTM D6179 and D880 typically cover the relevant impact and drop testing for these crates and unitized loads. By testing a variety of packaging configurations, teams can verify product ruggedness and optimize material selection for safe and efficient packaging. The ASTM D5276 drop test can be performed on a variety of products and packaging, including boxes, bags, "cylindrical containers, and shipping systems. Westpak tests a variety of packaging solutions ranging from small packages to large crates. Our qualified test operators assess the ability of a packaging system to protect its contents from the impact of a free-fall by using advanced drop testing machines. ASTM D5276 testing can be performed on different surfaces repeatedly and reliably for high-quality test assurance.
What are the impact surface requirements?ASTM has established a set of standards for drop testing procedures. When performing an ASTM D5276 drop test, the impact surface must be:
- Horizontal and flat
- Built with concrete, steel, or stone
- Durable enough not to deform under test conditions
- A rigid mass equal to 50 times or more the mass of the heaviest sample being dropped
- Sufficiently large so that the test sample falls entirely on its surface
Frequently Asked Questions
Get answers to our most frequently asked questions.
What data can be gained from drop testing?
Impact testing without sensors can produce qualitative data that shows if the package remained intact through testing. Was normal denting and scuffing noticeable, or was there more significant damage to the package? Is the product functional following impact testing? If an accelerometer is adhered to a rigid surface on the product, we are able to ascertain the acceleration levels (G’s) the product experienced as a result of impact testing. This quantitative analysis helps to understand if the cushion system is properly designed to protect the product. The cushion system may be overloaded or underloaded, meaning the cushion system is too soft or too rigid for the product, potentially resulting in damage. With this information in hand, product teams can minimize the risk of product damage in both distribution and in-use settings. Westpak’s degreed engineers are industry leading in their knowledge of this testing and ability to provide recommendations for improvement. We are excited to partner with you to optimize your package system.
What is the ASTM D5276 drop height used in the test?
ASTM D5276 does not specify a required drop height. However, Westpak can advise and perform drops from various heights to provide a comprehensive set of test results. These drops can be either specific to an industry standard or specially tailored per the needs of the customer, product, or distribution environment. Impacts can cause product damage whether the package is dropped, knocked, or banged around. To generate valid results, testing involves dropping packages onto corners, faces, and edges. When testing products, it’s essential to consider every potential possibility and environment the product may encounter.
What are the advantages of using the ASTM D5276 drop test?
Drop testing offers a variety of benefits. In particular, the ASTM D5276 drop test:
- Allows manufacturers to assess the structural integrity of a product and/or packaging
- Enables manufacturers to evaluate the type of packaging required for reliable transport
- Helps establish shipping conditions and logistics for safe and effective delivery
- Mitigates potential for product damage and associated costs
- Provides insight into a product’s ruggedness once it has been delivered and is in-use (i.e. how a cell phone responds to being dropped)
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