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PLASTIC PAIL SELECTION AND USAGE

Return to Pail Selection and Usage Index

Guidelines for the Selection and Use of Plastic Pails:
Performance Requirements

Packages may be subject to specific performance requirements depending of the modes of transportation used and how a product is classified.  The following information is provided as a guide to some of the performance requirements that may be required for your application.   

Is my Product Regulated as a Hazardous Material / Dangerous Good by the U.S. Department of Transportation ? (Select for more information)                     

Yes     No  I don't know

YES: My Product is Regulated as a Hazardous Material / Dangerous Good by the US Department of Transportation.  

Products regulated as a hazardous material are subject to all of the requirements contained in the Title 49 CFR which include the successful completion of the following performance tests (Plastic Pails / Open Head Drums).  The following is for informational purposes only and the current revision of the Title 49 CFR must be consulted when packaging and shipping hazardous materials (Click here for current CFR available online at the DOT website).

Design qualification testing is the performance of the drop, leakproofness, hydrostatic pressure, and stacking tests for each new or different packaging, at the start of production of that packaging.  The Vibration test is a capability requirement.  The packaging manufacturer shall achieve successful test results for the design qualification testing at the start of production of each new or different packaging.
Periodic retesting is the performance of the drop, leakproofness, hydrostatic pressure, and stacking tests at at least once every 12 months. The packaging manufacturer shall achieve successful test results for the periodic retesting at intervals established by the manufacturer of sufficient frequency to ensure that each packaging produced by the manufacturer is capable of passing the design qualification tests. 
  • Drop Tests (6 Samples Total) - Section 178.603
    • Samples are prepared in accordance with the Title 49 CFR and preconditioned at 0 degrees Fahrenheit.  With the package and its contents at 0 degrees Fahrenheit the samples are subjected to drop tests in the following orientations.
      • Diagonally on the top Chime (3 Samples)
      • Weakest part not tested by the first drop orientation (3 Samples)
  • Stacking tests (3 Samples) - Section 178.606
    • Samples are prepared in accordance with the Title 49 CFR and subjected to one of the following tests depending if it is a design qualification or a periodic retest.
      • Design Qualification: A calculated top load is applied for 28 Days at 104 degrees Fahrenheit Upon completion of the test a stack stability test is conducted
      • Periodic Retest:  A dynamic compression test is performed to a calculated required load with less than 1" of deflection.
  • Hydrostatic Pressure Tests (3 Samples) - Section 178.605 - Required for Liquids Applications Only
    • The hydrostatic pressure test involves filling a package to maximum capacity with water and pressurizing the package using a regulated water source. The pressure is increased gradually to a required test pressure. The hydrostatic pressure test must be conducted for 30- minutes on all plastic packagings and 5-minutes for all packaging materials other than plastic.
  • Leakproofness Tests (3 Samples) - Section 178.604 - Required for Liquids Applications Only
    • The leakproofness test involves pressurizing the empty package using a regulated air source. The pressure is increased gradually to a required test pressure. To inspect for leakage at the required test level the package is either submerged in a water tank or the exterior is coated with a soap solution.  The leakproofness test must be conducted for 5- minutes.
  • Vibration tests (3 Samples) - Section 178.608 - Capability
    • The vibration test involves placing the samples on a vibrating platform that has a vertical or rotary double-amplitude (peak-to-peak displacement) of one inch.  The test must be performed for one hour at a frequency that causes the package to be raised from the vibrating platform to such a degree that a piece of material of approximately 1.6 mm (0.063 inch) thickness can be passed between the bottom of any package and the platform.

All of the tests must be completed without leakage.  Refer to the current Title 49 CFR for specific Pass/Fail criteria.

What should the UN mark look like and what does it tell about the certified plastic pail?
Click HERE for detailed description of label markings
Click HERE for detailed description of label markings
The markings may not be applied only to the removable head (Cover) of a plastic pail.

The United States Department of Transportation Title 49 CFR covers the domestic transportation of hazardous materials. You may need to consult additional regulatory sources depending on where your package is manufactured, where it is filled and what modes of transportation will be used for shipping.  Here are some additional resources you may need to consult (Links provided when available).

Referenced regulatory resources may be purchased from Labelmaster at 1-800-621-5808 or at www.labelmaster.com 

Small parcel carriers often have additional requirements and restrictions for packages containing hazardous materials which must be referenced prior to shipping.  Contact your carrier to determine what additional requirements must be met.

My Product is Not Regulated as a Hazardous Material / Dangerous Good by the US Department of Transportation.  

Even though a material is non-regulated as a hazardous material it may still be subject to specific performance requirements.  The following are some examples where the mode of transportation dictates specific performance levels be met.

Truck Transport: When transporting materials in plastic pails via truck transport the NMTA - National Motor Freight Traffic Association requirements issued  should be referenced.  The requirements for plastic pails can be found in the National Motor Freight Classification publication under Item 258.  Be sure to reference the latest edition NMFC.  Updated performance requirements were approved by NMFTA in 1999.  To assist you a brief overview of the Item 258 requirements is provided below.  Copies can be purchased from SMC at 800-845-8090 
 

Rail Transport: When transporting materials in plastic pails via rail transport the UFC - Uniform Freight Classification requirements issued  should be referenced.  The requirements for plastic pails can be found in the UFC under Rule 40 and are aligned with the requirements set forth in NMFC Item 258.

  • Drop Tests
    • Sample Size:  6 Samples
    • Pre-Conditioning:  0° (-18°C)
    • Fill Level:
      • Solids:  Filled to gross mass at marked capacity
      • Liquids:  Filled to marked capacity
    • Fill Material: 
      • Solids:  Material that is similar to commodity
      • Liquids:  Antifreeze solution
    • Drop Orientation:
      • Samples 1-3:  Flat on Side
      • Samples 4-6:  Flat on Bottom
    • Drop Height:
      • Solids or Liquids < 1.2 SG:  0.8 meters (31.5”)
      • Liquids > 1.2 SG:  SG x 0.667 = Drop Ht (meters)
    • Pass / Fail Criteria:  For pails containing liquid, a loss of a few drops through the closure or gasket area at impact is not to be considered failure if 5 minutes after dropping, the pails are rolled for a distance equal to twice its circumference, and no further leakage occurs.  Otherwise, leakage or sifting out of contents constitutes failure.
  • Stack Tests
  • Sample Size:  3 Samples
  • Pre-Conditioning:  73°F (23.0°C)
  • Test Condition73°F (23.0°C)
  • Fill Level:
      • Solids:  Filled to gross mass at marked capacity
      • Liquids:  Filled to marked capacity
    • Fill Material:
      • Solids:  Material that is similar to commodity
      • Liquids:  Water
    • Top Load:  Load based on:  L = [(118 / H) – 1] x W x 1.5
      • L = Required Top Load (Lbs)
      • H = Height of a Single Container (Inches)
      • W = Gross Weight of Container (Lbs) With a Maximum Load of 600 Lbs (272 Kg)
    • Test Duration 48 Hours
    • Maximum Deflection:   No greater than 5% of the original height of the container
    • Time Between Removal of Load & Inspection:  30 Minutes
    • Pass / Fail Criteria:  No signs of collapse or instability, and the vertical deflection of the containers, measured while they are under load, shall not exceed 5% of the original height of the container.  Additionally, none of the containers may leak when they are placed on their sides

Small Parcel:  Small parcel carriers often have additional requirements for packages.  Contact your carrier to determine what additional requirements must be met.

Food & Beverage: Food and beverage applications are subject to specific requirements which must be reviewed using the CFR. Click here to go to the FDA - Food and Drug Administration web site

Regardless of the product classification the two following performance tests are an effective tool for evaluating your packages performance.