ASTM D4169

ASTM D4169 is a standard practice for performance testing of shipping containers and systems. It is a practice for packaging distribution that allows to simulate many distribution environments. Micom Laboratories offers ASTM D4169 testing as part of its Packaging testing solutions.

ASTM D4169 use and factors to be consider

For ASTM D4169 testing you will need to know which Distribution Cycle (DC) you want to test for and which Assurance Level you have to meet.  Each DC addresses a different shipping environment and different shipping hazards. On the other hand, each Assurance Level provides you with different test intensities. For each DC there are three Assurance levels. Level I is a high level of test intensity and has a low probability of occurrence. Level III is a low level of test intensity, but has a correspondingly high probability of occurrence. Level II is between these extremes.  Using these testing parameters, we will be able to create a test plan tailored to your package testing requirements. There is a list of 18 DC to choose from in ASTM D4169 such as rail and motor freight, unitized, Assurance Level II, etc. General Motors, for example, since February 2020, in its Specification GM 1738 NA rev.4.0 – GM Packaging and Identification Requirements For Production Parts – requires its suppliers to test their parts pallet loads per ASTM D-4169. They however do not specify the distribution cycle nor the Assurance Level. Since they also specify as an equivalent ISTA 3E, we can infer that what they require is actually ASTM D-4169, DC 6, level II.

ASTM D4169 – Random Vibration Test

Packaging distribution testing

Depending of your distribution environment as well as your payload and packaging characteristics, it may be better to conduct some of the tests under special climatic conditions, such as those given in ASTM D4332 or ASTM D951. The ISTA testing methods also offer potential conditioning scenarios based on the most extreme conditions your product could face during transportation. Otherwise, the testing will be done under ambient conditions. Even if most of the time only a pre-conditioning in standard conditions is mandatory, more and more standards and experts strongly recommend to condition samples in real life conditions prior to testing when it can be detrimental to your packaging performance. For example, a fiberboard box used in a humid environment can see its compression strength dramatically lowered.

Typical experimental parameters for ASTM D4169 testing

  • Distribution Cycle: 1 to 18
  • Assurance Level: I to III
  • Number of Samples: 1 (more depending on how critical the shipment is)
  • Specimen dimensions: as in actual distribution
  • Conditioning and testing Temperature: Ambient unless otherwise specified
  • Conditioning and testing relative humidity: Ambient unless otherwise specified

Other related test methods to ASTM D4169

For additional test methods related to this standard, we invite you to consult Transit testing or ISTA testing. For testing packaging components you might also want to consult our Packaging testing or Material testing resources.

If you have any questions about ASTM D419 packaging test, we invite you to contact us today. It will be our pleasure to answer your custom testing questions and help you with your package testing requirements.

We invite you to download your PDF copy of the ASTM D4169 Package Testing article.

We also invite you to learn more about our package testing services by consulting our brochure below:

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