Horizontal Clamp Testing

What is clamp testing?

Packaged products are not only subjected to vertical movements and loads, but also horizontal compression forces. These forces might affect the integrity of the packaging system and have a negative impact upon the condition of products contained within.

The purpose of clamp testing is to assess the ability of packaging systems to support and protect products when subjected to horizontal forces and vertical motions such as those experienced during automated warehousing operations.

The importance of clamp testing continues to grow with the appearance and increased use of automated warehousing systems which apply compression forces to packages by clamping them from the sides.

Clearly, a major benefit to the introduction of these automated systems is a significant reduction in the human workforce required. However, as a result of the dynamic forces involved, the risks associated with damaging the packaged items have increased. Subsequently, the need to simulate and evaluate the risks associated with clamping systems under laboratory conditions is a real one.

Clamp testing equipment
This machine is able to test samples ranging from 200 mm to 2,000 mm, with a maximum weight of 500 kg. The clamp tester can simulate clamp forces of over 19600 N with a load precision of ± 5%, moving at a constant speed so as to apply a uniform compression on the load.

Which testing protocols include clamp testing?
Some of the protocols that include clamp testing within their testing sequences are the ones developed by ISTA members such as Amazon.  In association with ISTA, a test protocol has been designed with the aim of optimising their own supply chain. In doing so, they ensure that a premium purchase experience is provided using optimised packaging to avoid unnecessary customer complaints. Vendors wishing to distribute their products via Amazon need to be sure that their packaged products align with the requirements of the Amazon ISTA 6 SIOC and Amazon ISTA 6 Over-boxing protocols.

 The distribution simulations required by the ISTA 6 Amazon test protocol include environmental conditioning, impact, vibration and compression testing.

As a certified test laboratory and member of ISTA, Sebert Trillingstechniek is able to conduct all of these packaging tests. Together with the specified test equipment our trained ISTA packaging professionals can perform all of the simulations outlined in the ISTA 6 Amazon protocols. Another simulation protocol is ISTA 6 Samsclub, aimed at companies that use the Samsclub distribution system to ship packaged products within the United States.

Other similar protocols include:

  • ASTM D6055 – 96(2019) Standard Test Methods for Mechanical Handling of Unitized Loads and Large Shipping Cases and Crates, designed to test a load unit and its ability to withstand mechanical handling.
  • ASTM Standard D4169 Standard Operating Specification for Shipping Containers and System Protection Performance test.