ASTM D4728-17: Standard Test Method for Random Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers

ASTM D4728-17: Standard Test Method for Random Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers has been released. It revises and replaces the previous version of the same international standard, which was published last in 2006 but reaffirmed in 2012.

The modern shipping container is a marvel of standardization. These containers were conceived in 1955 in line with the concept of intermodalism—using  the same container to transport cargo through various transport nodes with minimum interruption—and can move seamlessly between ships, trucks, and trains. With this ease of transport, the simplified logistics of the shipping process has supported the exchange of goods worldwide.

Either within these larger containers or on their own, loaded containers pass throughout the world. In continuous motion to their destinations, filled containers are subject to a series of forces, including shock, vibration, and pressure. Recognizing these forces and adequately preparing the containers for their influence is key to assuring that shipped goods arrive in their original condition.

Several ASTM standards deal with testing containers against their expected forces. For example, ASTM D4169 specifies performance testing of shipping containers, providing a uniform basis of evaluating the ability of shipping units to withstand their distribution environment. In addition, ASTM D5276 details a standard drop test of loaded containers, which is used to evaluate shock.

ASTM D4728-17 is focused on vibration stresses, and it covers random vibration testing of filled shipping units. These tests are intended to approximate the actual damage, or lack thereof, experienced in real life, as these containers undergo complex dynamic stresses during transport. Because of this, the random vibration tests should be based on representative field data, and actual observed field shipment effects may prove useful for comparison.

The ASTM D4728-17 document details the apparatus, safety precautions, test specimens, calibration, conditioning, procedure, and report for carrying out the random vibration tests.

This standard revision contains several alterations. Changes to ASTM D4728-17 include added references and definitions and a complete revamping of Appendix X1 (References for PSD Test Profiles), and Appendix X2 (Sample PSD Vibration Data). PSD stands for power spectral density, an expression of random vibration in terms of mean-square acceleration per unit of frequency.

ASTM D4728-17: Standard Test Method for Random Vibration Testing of Shipping Containers is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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