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Cushion Performance Testing
For The
ECOAIR Packaging System

Prepared for

ECOAIR Company
407 Sherman Avenue, Suite A
Palo Alto, CA 94306-1872

Prepared by

WESTPAK, INCORPORATED
134 Martinvale Lane
San Jose CA 95119
USA

Excerpted from Report No. 6-12595
A copy of the full report is available for a nominal fee.


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I.  INTRODUCTION
A. Package description:  The package consisted of a 4 mil polyethylene bag into which the product (test block) was placed.  The open end of the bag was then placed through a hole in a die-cut corrugated H-shaped package element, and then the assembly was placed into a corrugated RSC.  The result of the package is that the product is suspended inside the polyethylene bag in all orientations.
B.  Test description:  The package system was subjected to a series of freefall impacts with ballast weight and accelerometer placed inside the bag.  The data resulted in a series of cushion curves for various orientations of the package conducted according to the general  requirements of ASTM D4168 (modified).   Refer to Section II of this report for more details of the test procedure.
C.  Test equipment:  LAB Model 5D-100 drop test machine.
D.  Instrumentation:  B&K Model 4321 triaxial accelerometer, Kistler Model 5004 amplifiers, GHI LapCAT transient capture and analysis system with vector resolution software.
II.  BACKGROUND AND TEST PROCEDURES
A. The purpose of the testing described in this report was to quantify the level of shock transmitted through this package system and into a potential product when the package was subjected to drops or impacts in the distribution environment.
B.  Because of the unique nature of the package system, there are no known test procedures available for determining the cushion characteristics of the package.   Therefore, a test procedure was developed utilizing a modification of ASTM D4168.   This standard describes the procedures for developing a cushion curve for foam-in-place cushion materials using an enclosed test block.

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C.  As modified for this test, the procedure involved creating a mass with dimensions of approximately 4" x 4" x 2".  The cell was designed so that ballast weights could be added as well as an accelerometer to record the shock levels.
D.  The cell was then placed inside the package system which was sealed and placed on the drop test machine.  In this configuration it was subjected to a series of 30" freefall drops in various orientations.
E.  The level of shock transmitted through the cushion and into the test cell was recorded by the triaxial accelerometer and displayed on the instrumentation system.   Because the orientation of the cell could not be guaranteed within the package, the instrumentation was set to produce the triaxial resultant acceleration level which gives a geometric summation of the three axes recorded during the impact.
F.  This procedure results in a quantification of the maximum level of shock transmitted through the cushion and into the cell.  Other cushion procedures use mechanical means to guarantee linear compression of a cushion system, and therefore, reads only one axis.
G.  The testing was repeated with various levels of ballast weights in order to derive a cushion curve describing the maximum transmitted deceleration as a function of the load in the package for each combination of drop height and orientation.
H.  Refer to the test procedure in Appendix I more details.
III.  TEST RESULTS
A. Typical data showing transmitted deceleration levels and the resulting vector are contained in Appendix II of this report.  The data is summarized in the following table and graphically reproduced as well.

Note that for most impacts, the following box sizes were used:

WEIGHT RANGE BOX O.D.
2-3 lbs. 12" x 12" x 12"
3-4 lbs. 16" x 16" x 12"
4-5 lbs. 17" x 11" x 14"
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Table 1
SUMMARY OF PACKAGE FREEFALL IMPACT DATA

ORIENTATION OF
PACKAGE
WEIGHT OF TEST
CELL
POUNDS
TRANSMITTED DECELERATION
G's
MEAN RANGE
Base Down 2-3 54 41-73
  3-4 47 41-52
  4-5 33 24-43
Top Down 2-3 23 16-30
  3-4 25 16-33
  4-5 21 16-26
Side Down 2-3 50 24-48
  3-4 27 27-27
  4-5 96 19-199*

* Impact of test cell with carton wall was noted on several drops resulting in high deceleration levels.  This was a result of the narrow space left in the test carton and has been since corrected.

IV.  CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
A. It should be recognized that the product and package system will respond with different levels of transmitted deceleration varying with the drop height, mass of the product, configuration of the product, temperature, and numerous other factors.   The numbers generated in this report come from a specific sized test cell using carefully controlled impact orientations.
B.  The package design appears to be a viable option for products that are moderately rugged and that have projections or geometry that make traditional cushioning methods difficult.

WESTPAK is pleased to present this report to ECOAIR Company covering the cushion response testing for the ECOAIR package system.  The equipment used to conduct this testing has been recently calibrated and is known to be in good operating condition.  In addition the test operator uses good laboratory practice at all times.  Therefore, the data is considered accurate and reliable.  However, there is no warranty expressed or implied with the submission of this report, and ECOAIR Company assumes all liability for use of the data contained herein.

 

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Last updated on 17 January 2008.