Packaging Laboratory

An optimally tailored packaging system forms the basis for transporting products to the customer safely and without damage. For this purpose, packaging, load carriers, load units and load securing equipment must be designed to handle the loads effectively. Weak points, potential savings and the performance of packaging, load carriers and loading units are analysed and evaluated at Fraunhofer IML’s packaging laboratory. For this purpose, we develop an individual test plan together with you. Then, in our packaging laboratory, we simulate the stresses that occur during their transport, handling and storage processes. The testing options range from the individual transport packaging, the load carrier and the complete loading unit to the load securing system used. We apply national and international testing standards. Upon completion of the tests, you will receive a recognised expert report on the results.

Dates and Facts

  • Size / floor space: 400 m²
  • Number of machines: 9 test facilities, 4 climatic cabinets / rooms
  • Opening date: 1986 (modernization: 2012)
  • Special features: Inspection of loading units, large load carriers, transport packaging and pallets


Packaging is intended to protect the packaged product from damage. Damage is generally caused by external stresses that affect the packaging. These can be stresses that are frequent in storage environment or during transport - such as stack pressure, shocks or vibrations. But extreme temperature and humidity conditions also cause problems for packaging.

A careful analysis of the intended distribution structure is therefore the first essential step for all tests. On this basis, we create individual test concepts based on international and national standards. We then simulate the individual steps in the distribution chain at Fraunhofer IML’s packaging laboratory. We quickly identify possible sources of error and then design individually optimised solutions for the respective customer. The packaging laboratory is an approval body for plastic pallets (DIN Certco) and large load carriers (VDA). The laboratory works in accordance with the "International Safe Transit Association" ISTA procedures. It is also regularly involved in German and European research projects: e.g. they are currently working on the "CoSaTT" project, a research project to improve load securing in truck transports. It is part of the "European Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EraSME)" programme, which promotes cooperation between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and research institutions within Europe.

Unique HITS - Horizontal Impact Test System

This testing machine, which was specially built for the Fraunhofer IML in the USA, significantly extends the scientists' capabilities: the "Horizontal Impact Test System" (HITS) is 17 meters long, 1.5 meters wide and 2.8 meters high and thus imitates the part of a truck loading area with an end wall. The loading area is brought up to speed on a 17-metre long rail and then braked. It can simultaneously expose two pallets weighing 1,500 kilograms to the real loads experienced while braking, transverse loads when cornering and shunting impacts when coupling railway wagons, cornering and braking operations on trucks and shunting impacts on the railway.

Only in this way can measures for the formation of loading units be developed in a material- and cost-efficient manner. Thanks to this realistic design, HITS can also demonstrate the many small forces that act on the various delivery items during transportation including on long journeys.