The acronym “ATA” stands for the Air Transport Association of America. The term “ATA-300” refers to a government-enforced standardized shipping guideline—shipping cases must comply with certain standards in order to be used for shipment. A case has to pass several quality tests, such as a drop test, a vibration test, and a water test, to receive ATA-300 approval. Cases with ATA-300 Category 1, designation are qualified to withstand being used for a minimum of 100 one-way shipments.

Drop Test

During the shipping process, an item is likely to be dropped while being moved from one location to another. ATA-300 requirements include a drop test. The ATA drop test consists of holding a case up to three feet in the air and dropping it to the ground. The case must be separately dropped from each side, each corner, and from all angles. Since packaging is likely to fall at some point throughout the shipping process, this test is important to ensure protection when shipping fragile products that could be damaged if dropped.

Shock/Vibration Test

During shipment, an item will likely experience vibrations, particularly if it is traveling to its destination in a fast-moving truck or airplane. A shipping case must go through tests to make sure it can withstand heavy vibrations to reach ATA-300 status. Items like computers, TVs, amplifiers, or other large electronics with delicate interior mechanisms are susceptible to damage if jostled too harshly during shipment, so this test is a helpful requirement for ensuring the safe delivery of electronics.

Water Test

During an item’s shipping journey, it may need to sit on the ground for a while in the process of being transferred between different vehicles, which could expose it to rain. Also, if you are shipping an item across the sea, it may be susceptible to the ocean spray. The ATA-300 water test ensures that cases do not allow water to penetrate the exterior, which would damage or destroy the items being shipped. Water can cause warping, corrosion, or denaturing of the items inside if they’re not stored in a watertight case. When you choose an ATA-300-approved case for your shipping needs, you know that the items you’re shipping will be protected against large drops, conditions that cause vibrations, and water exposure. If your case has the ATA’s seal of approval, you’ll never have to worry about getting your items from A to B safely.