ASTM D4169 Standard Update





Bradley Lethby
Lead Scientist
Medical Engineering Technologies

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In October 2023 ASTM D4169-22 – Standard Practice for Performance Testing of Shipping Containers and Systems, was reviewed and updated to ASTM D4169-23 (Updated to ASTM D4169-23e1 in March 2024), This revised standard saw changes to the ‘Small and Lightweight Package’ dimensions outlined in the standard and changes the default shipping density. The update also adds reference to ASTM F2825 – Standard Practise for Climatic Stressing for Packaging Systems for Single Parcel Delivery.

The editorial update in March 2024 (ASTM D4169-23e1) removed a note which allowed using a maximum stack heigh of 1.4m if the vehicle height was unknown. This update means that unless the shipper is identified as ‘small and lightweight’, the stack height will be 2.7m.

Small and Lightweight Packages –

The dimensions for a shipper to be classified as a Small and Lightweight Package have undergone a notable adjustment. Previously, to qualify as a small package, the dimensions were under 0.056 m³ and under 13.6 kg. However, with the latest update, these criteria have been refined to under 4.53 kg and have a volume below 0.056 m³.

Shipping Density –

This update to ASTM D4169-22 to -23 sees the default shipping density increased to 192.2 kg/m³, a figure that represents the 95th percentile of measured top load packages. This data-driven approach ensures that packaging solutions meet stringent performance criteria, enhancing safety and efficiency in shipping operations.

Here is an example of how this change can affect the top load value:

Description ASTM D4169-22
Mixed – AL I
ASTM D4169-23
Mixed – AL I
Constant for Gravity (N/kg) 9.8
Length of Shipping Unit (m) 0.4
Width of Shipping Unit (m) 0.4
Height of Shipping Unit (m) 0.3
Mass of One Shipping Unit or Individual Container (kg) 5
Maximum Height of Stack in Transit Vehicle (m) 1.4 2.7
Factor from Assurance Level and Test Schedule 10 10
Computed Load (N) 2459.68 7232.87

Reference to ASTM F2825 –

ASTM F2825 – Standard Practice for Climatic Stressing of Packaging Systems for Single Parcel Delivery, is newly listed in the reference section and in Section 6 (Conditioning) the standard states that when conducting testing to DC-13 F2825 may be applicable. This standard is designed to simulate overnight or two-day deliveries, and cycles between conditions frequently.

ASTM D4169 Standard Update small package

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