Packaging Testing

The task of any packaging is to protect a product from damage during transport from the shipper to the recipient. As a rule, damage is caused by external stress: Throughout the supply chain, packaging is subjected to static and dynamic loads in the form of stack pressure, impacts or vibrations, as well as additional climatic stresses caused by changing temperature and humidity conditions during transport, handling and storage. 

In addition to the classic protective function, packaging is increasingly taking on an informative role: "Smart Packaging" describes the digital transformation from pure packaging / load carrier to information carrier and creates great potential in terms of data collection and provision along the supply chain.

Our offer:

Testing of Packaging

Packaging or packaging systems must withstand a wide range of static, dynamic and climatic loads along the transport chain. In our packaging laboratory, we therefore test the load capacity of your packaging system during storage, transport and handling. Here we determine, among other things

  • Maximum compression load capacity/stacking height of your packaging (BCT value)
  • Protective properties of your packaging during tipping, dropping or horizontal impact processes
  • Resistance of your packaging to vibration loads
  • Insulation performance of your packaging
  • Long-term durability of your packaging

Depending on the material, climatic stresses (temperature or humidity) can have a strong impact on the stability of the packaging. In order to take the real transport climate into account, it is possible to condition the test objects in advance in one of our four climate chambers.

Our tests provide you with the certainty that your packaging / packaging system is suitable for the intended shipment or provide you with feedback on where there is potential for optimization.

Testing of Load Carriers

The main task of load carriers is to make several identical or mixed packaged goods or packages suitable for storage, distribution, use and sale. For this to be done economically, the load carrier must be adapted to the transport, handling and storage conditions.

In our laboratory we have many years of experience in testing pallets of all materials, steel frames and large plastic load carriers. One focus of our laboratory activities is e.g. the testing of pallets according to DIN ISO 8611. For the evaluation of your load carriers we determine or compare the

  • Load capacity and deflection on high rack or floor storage
  • Load capacity on forklift forks
  • Stability at corner drop
  • Maximum load capacity of structural connections (e.g. between pallet deck and floor assembly)
  • Maximum load capacity of load carrier blocks and feet
  • Coefficients of friction 
  • Permanent load capacity, also under climatic influence

Manufacturers thus receive proof of the performance of their load carriers. Users avoid plant downtimes, customer complaints and the use of oversized and thus cost-intensive load carriers.

Testing of Load Units - Transport Simulation

A stable load unit results from the correct dimensioning of packaging, load carrier and load unit securing. The inherent stability of the load unit strongly influences the effort required for load unit securing. Accordingly, a different type of load unit securing (strapping, stretch wrapping or hooding, shrink wrapping) and, if necessary, the use of aids (intermediate layers, edge protectors, etc.) is optimal and necessary for each type of load unit. The stability of each type of securing depends on a large number of parameters. In order to avoid damage to product, people and image, it makes sense to simulate the stresses occurring in the distribution chain in advance in our laboratory.

For this purpose, we realistically and reproducibly simulate on our equipment the climatic, vibration and impact loads of the respective mode of transport as well as the handling with industrial trucks according to your individual transport chain. As a result of this transport simulation, you receive information about the technical suitability of your loading unit and a presentation of possible optimization potentials. In addition, we determine the coefficients of friction of slip-resistant materials on our tension-compression testing machine based on VDI 2700.

Smart Packaging

The previously largely analog world of packaging is increasingly blurring with the digital world of data. The demand for traceable and digitally visible load carriers (digital twin) as well as intelligent packaging is increasing and thus corresponds to the increased demands for transparency and near-real-time information about the location, condition and availability of goods. 

Due to data bottlenecks, many packaging-related processes are still opaque today. Fraunhofer IML's packaging laboratory makes it its business to close this gap and to carry out tests at customers' premises beyond the boundaries of the laboratory. With the help of smart packaging sensors and video-based documentation, we analyze your intra- and extralogistic material flow with regard to, among other things 

  • mechanical loads (shocks, vibrations, etc.)
  • climatic loads (temperatures, humidity, etc.) 
  • identification, localization and communication/data transmission

and are available to advise you in all matters. Members of a supply chain are given the opportunity to identify and eliminate weaknesses in their material and information flow. Furthermore, used packaging can be improved, adapted and handled more gently in the future. 

The Packaging Laboratory at the IML

Here you can see a small tour through our packaging laboratory.