NTS News Center

Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

NTS News Center - Latest News in Testing, Inspection and Certification

Package Testing

Package testing is a way of simulating the conditions a package can be expected to encounter during transit. In today’s increasingly global supply chains, packages and products will often cross wide geographic distances to get to market, moving through multiple stakeholders using different modes of transportation. A product or component’s packaging must be designed to withstand these environments.

NTS offers package testing to ASTM® and ISTA® standards, among others. We can help you protect your investment, reduce product loss and minimize risk during shipping and transport.

Why Invest in Package Testing?

Package testing has several potential benefits for manufacturers, including:

  • Package testing in a controlled lab environment is more reliable than trial and error.
  • Regular testing helps you understand your distribution environment, so you can make changes that reduce your exposure to hazards.
  • Testing methods and protocol can be reviewed and revised at any time, allowing you to respond in an agile manner to changing products, packaging materials and distribution hazards.
  • The information gathered from testing leads to smarter package design, which in turn helps you transport products in a safer manner.

Ultimately, these benefits will save you money and reduce shipping bottlenecks caused by damaged products and packaging failures. Ongoing investment in testing will deliver strong returns over time, making your business more stable and sustainable.

Common Modes of Transportation

An understanding of the conditions your package will encounter during transit is essential to designing a package test program. A package may be transported by:

  • Road
  • Rail
  • Sea
  • Air

As well, it may move through different vehicles and vessels and change hands between organizations several times during transit. A large part of package testing involves anticipating the impact these transitions will have on your product.

Industry Package Testing Standards

The diversity of conditions and stakeholders involved in transporting a product to its destination requires unified testing standards. The following organizations have established package testing guidelines for use by organizations in a range of industries:

  • ISTA
  • ASTM
  • IEC 60068-2-55

Package Testing Methods

NTS’ package testing methods include:

  • Vibration
  • Loose cargo
  • Freefall drop
  • Shock
  • Incline impact
  • Horizontal impact
  • Compression
  • Temperature and humidity

We can perform package vibration testing, loose cargo testing, freefall drop testing, shock testing and temperature and humidity testing to ASTM or ISTA standards. Our engineers can also design a custom testing program according to your specifications. Either way, our team will work with you to assess your requirements and deliver customized service.

ISTA Package Testing

The International Safe Transit Association (ISTA) publishes guidelines for two types of package tests:

  • Performance tests, which assess the ability of a package to survive normal shipment conditions
  • Development tests, which measure the relative effectiveness of two or more package designs against each other

ISTA further groups these tests into seven different series, which vary according to the extent and depth of simulation involved, the weight of the product and several other factors:

  • ISTA 1 Series: Non-Simulation Integrity Performance Tests
  • ISTA 2 Series: Partial Simulation Performance Tests
  • ISTA 3 Series: General Simulation Performance Tests
  • ISTA 4 Series: Enhanced Simulation Performance Tests
  • ISTA 5 Series: Focused Simulation Guides
  • ISTA 6 Series: Member Performance Tests
  • ISTA 7 Series: Development Tests

Learn more about individual test series by contacting an NTS representative today.

How will MIL-DTL-901E affect your shock qualification?

Photo: Navy.com

For the past 30 years, MIL-S-901D has defined requirements for shock qualification of items installed on U.S. Navy Combatants. For the duration of this period, there have been rumors of a new and improved specification revision. That time has finally come.

MIL-DTL-901E, revision to MIL-S-901D of 1989 has been approved and released as of 20 June 2017. The new “detail specification” or DTL per DOD 4120.24M is an evolutionary document that includes changes from MIL-S-901D, Interim Change #2, the 2012 DSCR-2 initiative clarification letters and cost reduction strategies, and the Total Ownership Cost (TOC) reduction provided by the Deck Simulating Shock Machine (DSSM).

For most Navy shipboard shock practitioners, the most impactful change to the document is the addition of the Medium Weight Deck Simulating Shock Test.  This test is primarily performed on Class II, deck mounted equipment and utilizes the DSSM. The DSSM is typically used in lieu of performing a heavyweight shock test series.

The DSSM shock test machine at NTS Rustburg

In the early 2000s, we recognized that the current model for shock qualification of a vast majority of the proliferating Class II, Deck Mounted, COTS equipment was not sustainable from a costs and schedule perspective.

So, in collaboration with HII-NNS partners, NTS led the pioneering development of a more cost and schedule effective land-based approach to meet this new challenge. These efforts culminated in the fabrication of the DSSM Generation I machine that has been in use at NTS Rustburg, VA since 2004.

The success of the Generation I DSSM led to the development of a scaled-up Generation II machine that is specified in MIL-DTL-901E. All of the certification testing that was necessary prior to inclusion in the new MIL-DTL was conducted at NTS. We have been routinely conducting shock qualification testing on the DSSM as an Alternate Shock Test Vehicle since 2015.

The DSSM development is yet another example of NTS’ focus on customer driven innovation. If you have questions concerning the new MIL-DTL-901E detail specification and how it may affect your program or have a need for Medium Weight Deck Simulating Shock Tests contact our experts today!

Changes to Certification Process in Ecuador

ARCOTEL in Ecuador issued a new regulation about the homologation process. The biggest impact to the changes are highlighted below:

  • No in-country testing is required. The changes have removed the requirement for testing, therefore no samples are required for submission/certification to ARCOTEL in almost all cases
  • Photographs of the device will now be required and there are specific requirements for the photos including external, internal and label views. These cannot be photos from test reports or marketing material.
  • The certificates will be issued by class. This could mean that a product will fall into multiple classes and require multiple certificates. The classes are as follows:
    • Terminals for the Advanced Mobile Service (SMA):
    • Terminals for the Bearer Service (P)
    • Terminals for the Fixed Telephone Service (STF)
    • Terminals for the Telecommunications Satellite Service (TTS)
    • Terminals for Internet access. (AI)
    • Trunked terminals for the Service. (T)
    • Terminals for the Communal Service (C)
  • Products that do not fall into mandatory scope can obtain obtain a certificate of recognition of being outside the scope of the regulation

Contact our NTS International Approvals Team at IATeam@nts.com if you need more information or assistance.

NTS by the Numbers

For over 50 years NTS has been sharing our testing expertise with our customers to help design and implement test programs according to project needs. We have consistently expanded our network to meet the needs of our customers, constantly adding capacity and capabilities across North America.
Check out this info graphic for just a sampling of NTS extensive offerings!

NTS Awarded Research Grant from US Lacrosse Center for Sport Science

Lacrosse Game

The US Lacrosse Center for Sports Science has awarded new research funding to three studies that will investigate issues related to lacrosse-specific sports medicine and performance.

Research conducted by NTS Chesapeake will seek to measure lacrosse helmet performance degradation as a function of exposure. Test engineers Cameron Showell and Dr. Erin Hanlon will be evaluating the effects of environmental factors such as UV radiation and humidity on the performance of the helmet materials and components over time.

“As the national governing body for men’s and women’s lacrosse, one of our highest organizational priorities is the advancement of player safety,” said Bruce Griffin, director of the Center for Sport Science at US Lacrosse. “We anticipate that these studies will provide insightful scientific data that will help us better understand how rule changes to the game and educational initiatives can affect player safety, as well as how equipment can have an impact on safety.”

Singapore IDA changed to IMDA


Singapore authority IDA has changed their name to IMDA (Info-communications Media Development Authority) and the labeling requirements have been updated to reflect the change accordingly. The transactional arrangement highlights are:

  • All dealer’s licenses and equipment registrations previously issued by IDA before October 1st 2016 will remain in force and will be deemed to be issued by IMDA. All conditions in the respective dealer’s license and equipment registration will remain the same (under Section 91(1) of the Info-communications Media Development Authority Act 2016 in force on Oct 1st, 2016).
  • Equipment registered or renewed before Oct 1, 2016 can remain the same IDA labeling on the existing stock if the labels are affixed before this date.
  • For the devices registered or renewed after Oct 1, 2016 shall bear the IMDA compliance label no later than September 30, 2017.

For further details, please refer to this document published by IMDA

Contact our NTS International Approvals Team at IATeam@nts.com if you need more information or assistance.

Reverberation Chamber Workshop at NTS Plano

On Thursday, November 10, 2016, NTS is hosting its second workshop on reverberation chamber technology at our Plano facility.* Sponsored by ETS-Lindgren and NTS Plano, this is a free, hands-on, half-day workshop open to those that are interested in learning about reverberation chamber test methodology including new applications for this versatile and robust test environment.

Reserve your seat today – space is limited!
This is a free event; please register by November 8th to ensure adequate seating and catering.

Event Details

Date and Time
Thursday, November 10, 2016
12:30pm – 6:00pmLocation
1701 East Plano Parkway #150
Plano, TX 75074

(972) 509-2566

12:30pm – 1:15pm
Complimentary lunch and registration

1:15pm – 5:00pm
Presentations including Q & A

5:00pm – 6:00pm
Reverberation Chamber Testing Demonstrations


For specific questions about this workshop or to confirm your registration, please contact Janet O’Neil, ETS-Lindgren and IEEE EMC Chapter Vice-Chair, at (425) 443-8106 or j.n.oneil@ieee.org.

NTS International Approval Staging Services

untitled-1Preparing for in-country testing is very similar to preparing for CE, FCC tests. However, some commonly seen issues such as language barriers, incorrect instructions/faulty samples or customs clearance issues may cause delays for obtaining the approvals.

The international approvals staging session at NTS is designed to mitigate these potential problems. With our experienced team at NTS, we will help to ensure the test instructions are executed correctly and more importantly, that the product is operating according to the relevant country specific standards. Lastly, before shipping out the test sample, we will check the product has the proper documents in order to clear customs.

Please contact our NTS International Approvals Team at IATeam@nts.com for more details on preparing for your in-country test.

This post was written by Luis Cabrera. Luis has 10 years of experience at NTS in the areas of international shipping, testing and international approvals.

NTS Chicago Expansion Phase 9: Grand Opening Preparation

As you’ve seen over the past few months, much has been happening at our new Mt. Prospect laboratory. We will now be showcasing all the hard work and effort on Thursday, October 6th, 2016 at the Grand Opening Event.

RSVP now to join the NTS team, local and state officials, friends and neighbors for a day long celebration and open house. Beginning at 8 am, we will be holding two morning technical seminars, tours of the lab, a ribbon cutting ceremony and catered lunch reception.

Below, you can watch brand new time lapse footage spanning over 6 months showing the environmental test area taken from empty space to fully functional and ready to accept customer quotes!

As well as all the services previously available at our Palatine location, the new laboratory includes:

  • 5m semi-anechoic chamber for emissions measurements
  • Assortment of EMC chambers for testing and troubleshooting
  • 24′ x 24′ MIL-SPEC chamber
  • Environmental testing such as blowing sand and blowing dust
  • Expanded ingress protection
  • Increased capability for corrosion testing
  • Expanded capacity for current high-demand tests such as HALT and vibration

To find out more including specific technical information, don’t hesitate to contact our lab General Manager, Kevin Mehaffey, directly.

NTS Chicago Expansion Phase 8: Up and Running!

In anticipation of the upcoming grand opening event, the Chicago team has been working non-stop to get equipment up and running with no downtime for customer testing!

As you can imagine, we needed quite a bit of preparation before installation could take place. In the photo below you can see part of that process – the crew installing a few remaining power cabinets.


and NTS technicians testing products in the temp/humidity chambers…


then validating our thermal cycling chambers, now ready to go!


We hope you will join us on 10/6/16 for the grand opening celebration. The day will begin with morning technical seminars covering EMC testing and International Approvals, followed by a ribbon cutting ceremony and catered lunch. Meet our team, local officials and network with other attendees plus take the opportunity to tour the lab and see our new test capabilities in person!

Remember to submit a quote for your next project, we know you’ll be interested in our competitive pricing.

Click here to request a quote

Click here to contact the Chicago team with any questions about the new location