What Is a Drop Test in Packaging?

Custom Case Manufacturing

what is a drop test in packaging

When you consider all the motions that packaging goes through — from the moment it leaves the production floor to the moment it arrives at its destination — it’s no surprise that drops occur. Oftentimes a result of mishandling, dropped packages naturally cause concern over potential damage to products and parts stored inside. Drop tests are intended to alleviate this concern.

What Is the Purpose of a Drop Test?

Rather than finding out after the fact that their protective packaging can’t withstand the impact of a drop, a drop test helps manufacturers take a more proactive approach. Once a prototype is built and before production ramps up, manufacturers can evaluate how well their packaging (and the equipment inside) holds up when dropped and make any adjustments to the sample as needed.

As the International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) notes, a drop test in packaging is intended to help minimize product damage and loss (and in turn maximize profits) while contributing to a better customer experience that retains business. And in some industries, the drop test can be a necessary step to ensure compliance with relevant regulations and standards.

How Does a Drop Test Work?

Drop tests take place in a controlled environment where the dropping of a package is simulated. Holding the package at a selected drop height (typically 100-450 mm) — a decision based on the dimensions and weight of the package, as well as the packaged product(s) inside — a quality inspector will drop the package a series of times. 

Usually comprised of about six rounds of drops, each drop is performed on a different area of the packaging (e.g., the base of the package vs. the corners of the package) to see how each section responds to the force. Manufacturers can then feel confident about the consistency of the test measurements, no matter the positioning of a package when it’s dropped in shipping or handling.

See a Drop Test in Action

Now that you’ve learned a little more about what a packaging drop test entails, you’re probably wondering what the process looks like firsthand. With third-party drop testing included as part of our custom case design and manufacturing process (among other quality assurance tests), we have a quick video to show you a drop test in real-time:

From our approach to design and manufacturing to the third-party tests and certifications we adhere to, quality is an integral part of everything we do at Cases By Source. We can conduct simulated tests or work with an ISTA-certified lab for complete product testing. Talk to us about your next packaging project, and we’ll share how we can help.

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