In October of 2010, the International Safe Transit Association published the ISTA 7E Testing Standard for Thermal Transport Packaging, to be used in conjunction with the ISTA Standard 20. Increasing regulatory measures have generated a need for a comprehensive qualification standard for shippers of temperature-sensitive products; a problem that ISTA addresses with these guidelines. By itself, the ISTA 7E is useful for general qualification and testing of insulated packaging materials when no official certification is necessary. By obtaining and using the Standard 20 in addition to the ISTA 7E profile, shippers are able to obtain the ISTA 7E Certification for their packages.
The ISTA 7E
The ISTA 7E is a set of standard temperature profiles, developed as the aggregate of many real-world shipping observations. As temperature data loggers have become smaller and more wide-spread, they have given us a better glimpse into the actual temperature variations that an insulated shipping container will encounter over the course it’s transit. It was found that extreme highs and lows were actually very uncommon, and that any temperature reading below 0°C or above 35°C was not only extremely rare, but also very short lived. The ISTA was able to use this new knowledge to create risk-based temperature profiles that would use temperatures that a package could expect to encounter a vast majority of the time, rather than a worst-case scenario approach.
The Standard 20
In order to obtain ISTA 7E Certification, The Standard 20 guidelines must be purchased and used alongside the 7E profile. The Standard 20 has three main guidelines.
- Training: At a minimum, a Certified Thermal Professional Level I and a Certified Thermal Professional Level II must be active in performing and reporting the tests.
- Lab Protocol: Documenting, data packages, and test reporting must all be done in the specified formats outlined in detail in the Standard 20.
- Lab Audit: An audit on the onsite testing laboratory must be completed by a Certified ISTA Thermal Transport Lab Auditor.