Packaged products transported via aircraft are liable to experience altitudes as high as 19,000 feet. Common examples of high-altitude transportation are feeder aircraft and ground transportation over high mountain passes. When exposed to these high-altitude conditions, products or packaging systems may be affected negatively by the resultant pressure differential. Thus, altitude simulation testing is important for all goods traveling to their ultimate destination with varying altitude levels.

The ASTM D6653 Standard Test Methods are used for determining the effects of high altitude/pressure differential on product packaging by vacuum method. These test methods simulates the effects a product is subjected to during the change in pressure when transferred via certain modes of transportation such as in the cargo hold of an aircraft.

Recently, LACO shipped an altitude simulation system for a client who needed a custom Package Testing System for Medical Products specifically designed to satisfy the requirements outlined in the ASTM D6653 specification.

The unusual part of this test was the rate at which the pressure needed to be lowered and raised to simulate the climb and descent of aircraft. Usually, our clients prefer to pump a chamber down to a specified pressure level and vent back to atmosphere as rapidly as possible so each test cycle can be accomplished as quickly as possible. For ASTM D6653, the rate of pump down and the rate of return to atmospheric pressure is strictly regulated, so our engineers designed a system that would ramp pressure within the vacuum chamber up and down according to the ASTM-specified rate utilizing a pulse width modulation valve, LACO’s VC-3500 vacuum controller, and countless hours programming and testing the software. They were able to develop an algorithm to carefully control pressure over time – precisely simulating the environment that products experience when traveling by air or ground. Kudos to LACO’s talented and skilled engineering team! 

Once the package testing system was complete, it was time for testing. Following the guidelines of ASTM D6653, we tested several product samples in our altitude simulation system and logged the data for each individual test. The most impressive part about this entire process is the data we collected. ASTM D6653 allows for a 20% variance either way in actual pressures, but a review of our test cycle data showed minimal variance. The VC-3500 vacuum controller coupled with the pulse width modulation valve seamlessly work in unison delivering optimal results.

If you have a package/product testing problem that’s keeping you up at night, LACO can provide you with a high-performing ASTM D6653 compliant altitude testing system. Contact Us and one of our experienced sales engineers will work with you to design a system to meet and exceed your requirements. 

For more information, check out the following package/product testing systems

Altitude Testing System Examples:


Bubble Emission System Examples:

 

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