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ISTA Testing

Time to read 5 min

The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) has developed a series of tests designed to simulate the conditions and environments that products may be subjected to during transport. These tests, known as ISTA 3-Series protocols, are used by companies all over the world to ensure their products can withstand a variety of potentially damaging scenarios while in transit. In this post, we’ll explore what ISTA testing is and why it’s so important for product safety and reliability.

Who Is The ISTA?

The ISTA, short for International Safe Transit Association, is a non-profit organization that aims to reduce product damage during transportation and promote smarter resource usage through optimized packaging design. As a member-based association, ISTA provides guidelines for packaging design that ensure the safety of the packaged contents during shipment.


They also offer laboratory certifications to facilities that meet the pre-shipment testing standards set by ISTA. Through their efforts, ISTA helps businesses minimize costs associated with damaged goods and decrease their environmental impact by reducing packaging waste

What Are ISTA Tests?

ISTA testing is a critical process that’s performed in a controlled laboratory setting to assess the durability and reliability of packaging products under real-world conditions. This testing entails replicating various forces and environmental conditions that the products are likely to encounter during shipping and storage.


Through ISTA testing, companies can gather valuable insights into how their products can withstand different stresses, determine any weaknesses in packaging, and enhance overall product resilience. This approach is critical to ensuring that products reach the intended destination safely and in good condition.

What Is An ISTA laboratory?

Certified ISTA laboratory conducts pre-shipment tests, ensuring that all testing equipment is accurately installed and well-maintained. Only qualified personnel are entrusted to carry out tests on packaged-products, adhering to the precise procedures outlined in ISTA Test Projects. Final results are recorded, and Certified Laboratory Test Report forms are submitted, promising top-quality performance every single time.


The ISTA laboratory is a game-changer for companies struggling with packaging problems in their supply chain. With testing specifically engineered to mitigate damage throughout the transportation process, this facility offers a unique and necessary solution for businesses seeking to preserve their products. From unforeseen transit hazards to unusual testing methods, the ISTA laboratory provides invaluable insight and effective solutions for those looking to minimize losses and achieve success.

ISTA Testing Categories

ISTA evaluations come in three flavors: conditioning, performance, and repeatability. By engaging with these tests, companies can optimize their packing designs to protect their products on their journey. These preventive measures reduce the likelihood of product damage and subsequent losses, ensuring that goods reach their intended recipients in pristine condition.



Conditioning tests are designed to simulate the effects of real-world elements such as temperature, humidity, shock, and vibration during transport.



Performance tests simulate the actual physical stresses that may be experienced in shipping. That includes impacts from handling, and even simulated drops.




Repeatability tests aim to make sure the packaging is able to handle multiple shocks without causing any damage to the products inside.

Types of ISA Tests

There are a range of ISTA tests that can be conducted, depending on the level of certification you need.


1-Series: Non-Simulation Integrity Performance Tests

This product and packaging is rigorously tested in order to ensure its structural integrity and resilience. Simulations should be used to assess its ability to withstand environmental conditions, such as extreme temperatures, moisture levels, or pressure changes.


2-Series: Partial Simulation Performance Tests

The capabilities of a 1-Series type Non-Simulation Integrity test are further augmented with the inclusion of at least one element from 3-Series type General Simulation performance tests, such as atmospheric conditioning or mode-shaped random vibration. These simulations provide a more detailed and accurate assessment of product integrity, creating a standard for reliable quality assurance.


3-Series: General Simulation Performance Tests

This series is designed to generate realistic, laboratory-simulated conditions that emulate the environmental factors which commonly damage goods in transit. This includes vibration characterized by simple shaped randomness, drops of specific heights, and exposure to atmospheric elements.


By employing this testing chamber to replicate a broad range of circumstances such as vehicle types, transportation routes, and the quantity of handling a sample package may experience, it enables manufacturers to better prepare their products for those potential conditions. Furthermore, the chamber is equipped with sensors that measure acceleration and displacement in order to accurately record and analyze data points.


4-Series: Enhanced Simulation Performance Tests

General Simulation tests involve the evaluation of a specific system or process through the use of software and hardware to create a virtual environment that closely mirrors the actual system or process. This allows for testing to take place in a safe and controlled environment, which helps identify potential problems before they are encountered in the real world.


These tests often include at least one element of Focused Simulation, such as test sequence or test conditions linked to actual known distributions. This allows for more accurate and reliable results since the virtual environment closely models the real world.


5-Series: Focused Simulation Guides 

The 5-Series Focused Simulation Tests provide a comprehensive set of guidelines for constructing laboratory simulations that reflect the measured and observed risks and levels in a given field. These tests are not solely focused on gauging performance, but rather offer detailed instructions that enable users to establish their own simulations according to the requirements they have identified.


With precise guidance, users can design and implement laboratory simulations that accurately reflect their field-measured and observed hazards and levels.


7-Series: Development Tests

ISTA (International Safe Transit Association) provides packaging tests to help developers evaluate and compare container designs. These tests are used to assess the performance of different containers, rather than the protection they afford to products. To ensure that the appropriate testing procedure is chosen for a particular application, ISTA’s Guidelines for selecting ISTA Test procedures should be consulted. In cases where additional guidance is required.

Benefits of ISTA Packaging Tests

The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) provides various testing procedures for developers to evaluate and compare container designs. These tests are specifically tailored to assess the performance of containers, rather than the protection they afford products contained within.


To ensure that the appropriate test method is chosen for a given application, ISTA’s Guidelines for selecting ISTA Test procedures should be consulted.


Other benefits include:

  • Increased product protection during transit.
  • Cost-reduction through efficiency and damage reduction.
  • Increase customer loyalty and satisfaction.
  • Eliminate supply chain trial shipments.

Do More With Bennett

Overall, ISTA packaging tests provide a comprehensive range of testing procedures for developers to evaluate and compare container designs. From general simulation performance tests to focused simulations guides, these tests are tailored specifically towards assessing the performance of containers instead of the protection they afford products contained within.


With precise guidance from ISTA’s guidelines and their selection procedure, product manufacturers can enjoy various benefits such as improved product protection, cost savings, increased brand loyalty and customer satisfaction as well as reduced need for trial shipments. Bennett is here to help you take advantage of all that ISTA has to offer in order to make sure your goods arrive safely at their destination every time.