Immediate Action Required: ASTM D4169-23e1 Introduces Tougher Testing for All Existing Packaging

ASTM D4169, the gold standard for transportation simulation testing of packaging, has undergone significant revisions with its latest updates, ASTM D4169-23 and ASTM D4169-23e1. These updates introduce stricter H-Factor and compression load requirements, ensuring that all packaging previously certified under older versions must now be rigorously retested to meet these enhanced standards. This article highlights the critical changes that reflect the latest advancements in packaging technology and regulatory requirements, particularly essential for sectors like biomedical, where safety and compliance are paramount.

Overview of Recent Changes to ASTM D4169

Recent revisions to ASTM D4169 have incorporated significant modifications, including:

  • Conditioning References: Addition of ASTM F2825 for more relevant climatic stressing
    Compression Load Adjustments: Updates to the H-Factor and compression values, specifically increasing the default shipping density from 10 lb/ft³ to 12 lb/ft³, impacting how compression tests are conducted
    Reclassification of Packages: New definitions for small or lightweight packages, affecting their testing protocols and standards

Detailed Analysis of New Standards

The inclusion of ASTM F2825 for climatic conditioning represents a significant shift in testing protocols. Unlike the previous references to ASTM D4332, which provided general guidelines for conditioning based on broad temperature and humidity ranges, ASTM F2825 targets specific climatic stressing of packaging systems intended for single parcel delivery. This change ensures that the conditioning phase of testing is more closely aligned with the actual environmental conditions that packages are likely to encounter during shipping, leading to more accurate testing outcomes and better preparation for real-world conditions.

Changes to H-Factor: Previously, ASTM D4169 allowed for adjustments in stack height based on the size and weight of the package, which directly influenced the compression load applied during testing. With the latest revision, certain exceptions for reducing the stack height have been removed, specifically the note that allowed smaller stack heights for lighter packages. This means that all packages are now subject to a uniform stack height of 108 inches in the calculation, increasing the compression load for smaller, lighter packages.

Increase in Compression Values: The update from a default shipping density of 10 lb/ft³ to 12 lb/ft³ for unknown densities marks a 20% increase in the compression load. This change is intended to better reflect the stresses encountered during transportation, especially given that actual shipping densities can vary widely. The new standard helps ensure that the testing is robust enough to prevent damage during shipping, accommodating for worst-case scenarios more effectively.

a package undergoing compression testing at CMG

A package undergoing compression testing at CMG

The ASTM D4169-23 standard’s updates contribute significantly to the safety and integrity of shipping containers. By refining testing parameters to better match real-world conditions and potential risks, the standard helps ensure that packaging can reliably protect its contents against the rigors of transport. For instance, the increased compression load requirements mean that packaging must be designed to withstand greater forces, which can help prevent failures in the field. Furthermore, the consistent application of a higher stack height in testing reflects a conservative approach, preparing packaging for extreme stacking scenarios that might occur during mishandled or over-stacked shipping processes.

These detailed expansions provide a deeper insight into how the changes in the ASTM D4169-23 standard affect packaging testing, ensuring that stakeholders can better prepare for compliance and optimize their packaging designs accordingly.

Ask CMG’s Package Testing Experts

Unsure how these new standards might impact your packaging? We can help. Our Scope of Accreditation has expanded to include the new testing requirements of ASTM D4169-23e1. Speak with one of our package testing experts today.