Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Business and Technology


Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


Jay Singh



Carton Clamp Test Methodologies and the Effects on

Load Containment and Retention

Tyler Don Blumer

A carton clamp is an alternative device for moving packages and material. Instead of using iron tines like that of a conventional forklift, a carton clamp uses two large aluminum platens to slightly compress and secure the load for handling. This is advantageous as it allows operators to move layers of a unitized load individually, and eliminates the need for a pallet when handling full unitized loads. When using a carton clamp attachment, it is often difficult for operators to accurately gauge the amount of force being applied to the load. The required clamping force changes depending on the size, shape, and weight of the load. This creates the potential for under-clamping (slippage) and over-clamping (compressive damage). Seeing a market need for a reliable means of testing, two organizations set out to develop a testing protocol.

A rift formed between schools of thought regarding the correct testing procedure. ISTA provides a sterile, calculated, and stationary simulation of carton clamp handling in its ISTA 6-SAMS test protocol. ASTM offers a more holistic, dynamic, observational approach in its mobile ASTM 6055 standard protocol. One school of thought is suggested to imply that a package should be developed to be handled by the carton clamp (ASTM). The other school of thought is that the carton clamp attachment should be properly adjusted to the package specimen (ISTA).

Previous studies have been performed citing the ISTA standard and using a specialized carton clamping device vibration device that is calibrated for laboratory research. Arguably, this method, though repeatable in nature, does not accurately simulate carton clamp handling found in industry. Likewise, the equipment investment is cost prohibitive for those in industry wishing to duplicate such a study. ASTM uses a carton clamp truck as used in industry, but does not specify any specific parameters making repeatability between laboratories and practitioners ambiguous.

This study examined whether or not a common ground can be reached; implementing a carton clamp lift truck as found in industry allowing for mobile (hazard course) testing. A modified version of ISTA 3B will be paired off against ASTM 6055 for evaluating both column and cross stack pallet patterns with a variety of treatments. This study attempted to determine if carton clamps as found in industry are capable and repeatable enough to provide consistent data. Similarly, this study examined the test methodologies effect on load containment via stretch film force, load retention via unitized load slippage, and the effects of ride height and driver interaction. The study sought to understand if these effects are uniform across the unitized load, or if particular layers of the load more affected than others.