Damage Indicators Information
Damage indicators are applied onto or within containers and products to indicate that the device has been exposed to environmental factors that could damage the packaged goods. They are used extensively in the shipping industry to ensure that containers and products are handled properly, and in the manner agreed upon by the shipper and the receiver. When selecting damage indicators, industrial buyers need to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the available form factors: sticker, card, mechanical device, or electronic event recording device.
As their name suggests, damage indicators provide a visual indication (such as a change in color) to signal that a product or package has been exposed to adverse conditions of temperature, humidity, shock and impact, or tilt and inclination. For example, an apple orchard that ships fruit from New York to Florida may choose a temperature indicator to ensure that its containers of apples weren’t exposed to extreme temperatures while en route. A company seeking to ship a plate of glass between neighboring cities may not be concerned about temperature, but would choose a damage indicator to signal if the package was hit or bumped.
Damage indicators are typically dedicated devices that monitor for one type of event or another but there are some electronic models that will record multiple types and occurrence of events. Below is a summary of the different configurations available.
Types of Damage Indicators
Tilt (inclination) indicators detect and record unacceptable tilting on goods that must remain upright. When tilt indicators are used the product cannot be tipped without evidence of mishandling. Activation angle is a key attribute of these indicators. Some tilt indicators record the degree in increments to record how much a package has been tilted. Others have a set activation angle and record simply that a determined angle had been exceeded. Tilt indicators are armed and affixed directly to a package using a self-adhesive backing.
Temperature indicators and recorders provide verification that exposure to maximum and minimum temperatures are adhered to. Temperature indicators are a visible, easy to read indication of a package being exposed to temperatures that are too hot or too cold during transportation or storage. Temperature indicators are available in several configurations from simple recording of exceeding a temperature to recording the trigger temperature and the amount of time the temperature was exceeded.
Temperature recorders are electronic devices with memory that record all the temperatures that the package has been exposed to. Temperature recorders collect a high number of data points to allow the user to graph the temperature exposure over time. Temperature recorders can be pre-programmed or be set to be configured by the user.
Impact / shock indicators and recorders continuously monitor and record shock, vibration and other environmental conditions experienced by structures. Impact indicators are a visual device that will activate when an impact level exceeds a predetermined level. Impact indicators can be mounted on the exterior of the packaging or can be mounted directly on the packaged product. Impact indicators are available in single use or resettable configurations.
Impact recorders monitor and record direction, amplitude and duration of impact force in real time. Impact recorders can also be sourced to include other sensors such as temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, tilt and roll and GPS tracking. Impact recorders are available to record when boundary conditions are broken or to record hundreds of events during the transit of the package.