Preprint version. Journal of Testing and Evaluation, Volume 35, Issue 4, July 1, 2007, pages 1-5. Copyright © 2007 ASTM International. The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1520/JTE100787.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author K. Saha was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
The past decade has shown a great increase in the number of direct to consumer shipments of products and packages. As a result, parcel delivery companies like DHL, FedEx, UPS, and the USPS have strengthened their presence in air transport to deliver products faster and through larger distances. Using cargo planes, they route packages from various destinations to large airport hubs, where they sort millions of packages and ship them to their destinations. There is a continuous need to quantify what happens to these packages as they are handled both manually during collection and delivery and on large high-speed conveying and sortation equipment at hubs. The dynamic events during these moves can cause damage. The information collected in this study helps packaging engineers design protective packaging. This study measured and compared shock and drop events for these carriers during next-day and two-day shipping service between Michigan and California. Data are presented in terms of drop heights associated with the 90, 95, and 99th percentile of occurrence for DHL, FedEx, UPS, and USPS. Impact orientation is also discussed. The data from this study are beneficial to new test methods being developed for drop testing of single parcel shipments by ASTM.