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Improve your cargo stability with tilt testing


Keeping the goods being transported upright is one of the challenges faced when guaranteeing the safety of the loads and everyone involved in their transportation. The goal of tilt testing is to simulate the forces that cause transported goods to tilt and achieving unit load stability.

What is tilt testing and what are its benefits

Tilt testing consists of a testing procedure to evaluate the stability of a load in a laboratory setting under similar conditions than those faced during transportation. With this in mind, the cargo is tilted until it reaches a predetermined inclination or until failure, observing how the package reacts with sights on improving it.

Truck freight is generally transported using a pallet systemthereby guaranteeing the unit load stabilityThis unit load allows for efficiency during distribution mainly accomplished through the use of stretch wrap or other methods such as tie-downs or lashes. 

This turns the load into a complex unit for which it is necessary to know how the packagingpallet and handling equipment interact. Package tilt simulation is a method that evaluates the resistance of cargo securing systems.

Performing these tilt simulation tests offers companies a series of benefits.

On one hand, it is a simple way to certify that the load maintains its rigidity during transportation. This means that this verification method is especially recommended to be applied at the end of a production line.

In addition, it is highly recommended at different packaging analysis phasessuch as in quality control systems or to compare different packages during the design phase.

As for which products could benefit the most from this method, it could be beneficial for those that have high rigidity and are transported as a compact unit in tightly-packed packages.

One example would be companies of the furniture or ceramics sector. 

Furthermore, through tilt testing, companies can have access to the other benefits of transport simulation in the field of packaging optimization and distribution

  • Cost savings, avoiding over-packaging and shrinkage due to under-packaging.
  • Increased safety, limiting damage to the goods caused during transportation and storage while guaranteeing the safety of the transport personnel.
  • Improved customer satisfaction, as a result of receiving a product that is in good condition.
  • Tilt simulation is also particularly important in a time when sustainable packaging initiatives are being lauded and encouraged both by official organizations and the end customer. Tilt testing therefore allows companies to reduce packaging materials and their weight, optimizing the packaging of unit loads and boosting their sustainability.

How to perform it and required equipment

The process of performing a tilt simulation can be broken down into three basic steps:

  1. A sample prepared for the simulation is installed on a platform, securing it using the load securing system to be tested.9
  2. The load is tilted up to a specific angle which is defined based on the coefficient of sliding friction, the resistance to be attained and the mass being used. 
  3. When that angle is reached, the tested system must remain free from deformities for a period of time. 

When extrapolating it to palletized loads, two methods can be used:

  • Verification: this consists of tilting the load up to the required angle to determine the coefficient of sliding friction, and as per the acceleration that it must withstand.
  • Characterization: this implies tilting the unit load until failure. After knowing the angle of failure and the coefficient of sliding friction of the surface, it is possible to calculate the equivalent acceleration to establish a stability cap value.

In order to evaluate lashing systems, it is necessary to use machines specifically designed for package tilt testing. However, when evaluating packages, any system that enables us to elevate one part of a sample may be used. 

Depending on the characteristics of the sample, it is possible to use brute force, drop testerstilt testers, scissor lift tables, forklifts or cranes, among others. 

Among its methods to guarantee a safe stowage, the EN12195 standard includes the performance of tilt testing

This test is effective when verifying the stability of a load under transport-like conditions, but in turn, this standard has a few limitations:

  • The load might tip over or suffer shocks when the centre of gravity of the load exceeds the turning point. It is therefore not possible to test accelerations over that point.
  • In specific cases (e.g., bulk cargo) the load might shift when modifying the inclination, altering the result of the test. 
  • This is a static test, which means that it cannot reproduce some of the dynamic effects that affect the loads during transportation.
  • Other limitations include the testing of loads with a low resonance frequency or the reproduction of stabilities over 1g.

At Safe Load Testing Technologies, through our simulation equipment and our experience, we help companies perform the necessary tests to comply with the regulations in effect and to optimize their packaging systems. Contact W5 Engineering for assistance.

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