IMPORTANT: The FULL PROCEDURE may be purchased through our E-Market by non-members. Members may download full procedures through our Member Center. The link after each procedure below is the procedure overview and equipment required only.
ISTA has two types of tests - Performance Tests result in a Pass/Fail assessment and are used to determine the viability of a packaged-product to survive normal shipment. Development Tests compare relative performance of two or more designs or the same design from different suppliers.
ISTA® Test Series - Test protocols are also grouped into what ISTA calls a Series. Testing moves from non-simulation of transport environmental hazards through simulation in general or broad terms and finally to a test developed from a comprehensive collection of field data.
Procedures versus Projects - Most ISTA tests are called Procedures because they have been validated to be effective and the testing methodology seldom changes. New tests, called Projects, are in their first years of implementation, are closely monitored and subject to change.
For the new user, the Guidelines for Selecting and Using ISTA® Procedures and Projects is very helpful.
ISTA 1 Series: Non-Simulation Integrity Performance Tests. Challenge the strength and robustness of the product and package combination. Not designed to simulate environmental occurrences. Useful as screening tests, particularly when used as a consistent benchmark over time.
Procedure 1A: Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or
Procedure 1B: Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68
Procedure 1C: Extended Testing for Individual Packaged-Products
weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or Less
Procedure 1D: Extended Testing for Individual Packaged-Products
weighing Over 150 lb (68 kg)
Procedure 1E: Unitized Loads
Procedure 1G: Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or
Less (Random Vibration)
Procedure 1H: Packaged-Products weighing Over 150 lb (68
kg) (Random Vibration)
ISTA 2 Series: Partial Simulation Performance Tests. Tests with at least one element of a 3 Series type General Simulation performance test, such as atmospheric conditioning or mode-shaped random vibration, in addition to basic elements of a 1 Series type Non-Simulation Integrity test.
Procedure 2A: Packaged-Products weighing 150 lb (68 kg) or
Procedure 2B: Packaged-Products weighing over 150 lb (68
Procedure 2C: Furniture Packages
Procedure 2D: Packaged-Products Considered Flat
Procedure 2E: Packaged-Products Considered Elongated
Procedure 2F: LTL Shipments (NMFC Item 180)
ISTA 3 Series: General Simulation Performance Tests. Designed to provide a laboratory simulation of the damage-producing motions, forces, conditions, and sequences of transport environments. Applicable across broad sets of circumstances, such as a variety of vehicle types and routes, or a varying number of handling exposures. Characteristics will include simple shaped random vibration, different drop heights applied to the sample package, and/or atmospheric conditioning such as tropical wet or winter/frozen.
Procedure 3A: Packaged-Products for Parcel Delivery System
Shipments 70kg (150 lb) or Less (standard, small, flat or elongated)
Procedure 3B: Packaged-Products for Less-Than-Truckload (LTL)
Procedure 3E: Unitized Loads of Same Product
Procedure 3F: Packaged Products for Distribution Center to
Retail Outlet Shipment 100 lb (45 kg)
Procedure 3H: Performance Test for Products or Packaged-Products
in Mechanically Handled Bulk Transport Containers
Project 3K: Fast Moving Consumer Goods for the European Retail
ISTA 4 Series: Enhanced Simulation
Performance Tests. General Simulation test with at least
one element of focused simulation, such as test sequence or condition
linked to actual known distribution. Project 4AB, an Enhanced Simulation
Performance Test, has been released as version 1.0.0 and is currently
under further development by ISTA. It closely ties the tests and sequence
to a user-defined pattern of distribution, and includes a broad range
of current and quantitative information on distribution environment
hazards. The Focused Simulation elements are test-tailoring to individual
situations, and usage of up-to-date and specific hazard profiles and
parameters. Project 4AB is a web-based application to generate customized
test plans; most of the complexity will be handled "behind the
scenes" without burdening the user.
ISTA Members - login to the Member Center to access 4AB.
ISTA 5 Series: Focused Simulation Guides- No longer an active series. Designed to provide a laboratory simulation based on actual field-measured and observed hazards and levels. Measured hazards will typically include complex shaped random vibration, multi-tiered drop height distribution, temperature and humidity extremes and/or cycling, and dynamic or static compressive loads. 5 Series are not performance tests per se, but Guides to the creation of Focused Simulation user-defined tests.
ISTA 6 Series: Member Performance Tests. Test protocols created by ISTA members to meet their particular purposes and applications. The tests may be completely original, or may be modifications or variations of ISTA Procedures or Projects or other published and accepted tests. ISTA reviews and approves these tests, but primary responsibility rests with the originating members.
Project 6-AMAZON.COM-SIOC, Ships in Own Container (SIOC)
for Amazon.com Distribution System Shipment
6-FEDEX-A: FedEx Procedures for Testing Packaged Products
Weighing Up to 150 lbs.
6-FEDEX-B: FedEx Procedures
for Testing Packaged Products Weighing Over 150 lbs.
Project 6-SAMSCLUB, Packaged-Products for Sam’s Club®
Distribution System Shipment
ISTA 7 Series: Development Tests. These tests are used in the development of transport packages. They can be used to compare relative performance of two or more container designs, but are not intended to evaluate the protection afforded packaged-products.
Project 7A: Open Reusable Transport Containers for Loads
of 60 lb (27 kg) or Less and Unitized for Shipment on a Pallet
Procedure 7B: Closed Reusable Transport Containers for Loads
of 150 lb (68 kg) or Less
Procedure 7C: Reusable Intermediate Bulk Containers
Procedure 7D: Temperature Test for Transport Packaging
Standard 7E: Testing Standard for Thermal Transport Packaging
Used in Parcel Delivery System Shipment
ISTA Process Standards
Responsible Packaging by Design (RPbD) Guide
The process provides a framework and guidance for evaluating two
or more different packages to:
The protocol provides a data-driven procedure for analyzing packaging
systems throughout the life cycle. Eight steps guide the package designer
in a Stage-Gate Process, with each stage accompanied by a template
to help users gather data and navigate the process.