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Interpretation Response #16-0095 ([Jamestown Container Corporation] [Mr. Brian Storms])

Below is the interpretation response detail and a list of regulations sections applicable to this response.

Interpretation Response Details

Response Publish Date:

Company Name: Jamestown Container Corporation

Individual Name: Mr. Brian Storms

Location State: NY Country: US

View the Interpretation Document

Response text:

December 22, 2016

Mr. Brian Storms
Corporate Packaging Engineer
Jamestown Container Corporation
14 Deming Drive
P.O. Box 49
Falconer, NY 14733

Reference No. 16-0095

Dear Mr. Storms,

This letter is in response to your June 1, 2016, email requesting clarification of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR; 49 CFR Parts 171-180) applicable to the standards for United Nations (UN) 4G fiberboard boxes. Specifically, you describe a scenario in which a customer has challenged your stance on the construction of the corrugated components in a UN performance-oriented tested package. We have paraphrased and answered your questions as follows:

Q1. You ask for confirmation of your understanding that according to UN 4G packaging requirements, both the outer and inner corrugated components must be manufactured with liners and mediums that vary by not more than plus or minus 5% from the basis weights reported in the valid hazmat test report issued by a competent test lab or agency.

A1. Your understanding is correct. As provided in § 178.516(b)(7), you have "[a]uthorization to manufacture, mark, and sell UN 4G combination packagings with outer fiberboard boxes and inner fiberboard components that have individual containerboard or paper wall basis weights that vary by not more than plus or minus 5% from the nominal basis weight reported in the initial design qualification test report."1,2

1 The HM-233C final rule, published March 18, 2014, amended § 178.516 by adding paragraph (b)(7). This action by PHMSA converted numerous competent authority approvals in to the HMR, which reduced paperwork burdens and facilitates commerce while maintaining an acceptable level of safety. (See 79 FR 15033; 15034) https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2014-03-18/pdf/2014-05630.pdf.

2 CA2005120010 - Authorization to manufacture, mark, and sell UN4G combination packagings with outer fiberboard boxes and with inner fiberboard components that have basis weights that vary by not more than plus or minus 5% from the measured basis weight in the initial design qualification test report. CA2006060006 - Authorization to manufacture, mark, and sell UN4G combination packagings with outer fiberboard components that have individual containerboard basis weights that vary by plus or minus 5% from the nominal basis weight reported in the initial design.

Q2. You ask for confirmation of your understanding that only the outer liner of the outer carton of a UN 4G fiberboard box must be able to pass the Cobb water absorption test in § 178.516.

A2. Your understanding is incorrect. As specified in § 178.516(b)(1):

Strong, solid or double-faced corrugated fiberboard (single or multi-wall) must be used, appropriate to the capacity and intended use of the box. The water resistance of the outer surface must be such that the increase in mass, as determined in a test carried out over a period of 30 minutes by the Cobb method of determining water absorption, is not greater than 155 grams per square meter (0.0316 pounds per square foot)—see ISO 535 (IBR, see § 171.7 of the HMR).

As such, the outer surface of all fiberboard used in the construction of UN 4G fiberboard boxes must meet the water resistance requirements as determined by the Cobb method of determining water absorption. The Cobb test must be performed at a frequency sufficient to ensure that all fiberboard used in the boxes meets the water resistance standard.

The water resistance test is a manufacturing requirement, not a mechanical performance test requirement. The UN 4G fiberboard boxes must also meet the mechanical performance test requirements located in Subpart M of Part 178.

I hope this information is helpful. Please contact us if we can be of further assistance.

Sincerely,

 

T. Glenn Foster
Chief, Regulatory Review and Reinvention Branch
Standards and Rulemaking Division

178.516(b)(7), 178.516, 178.516(b)(1), 171.7, 178


CA2006010012 - Authorization to manufacture, mark, and sell UN4G combination packagings with outer fiberboard boxes and with inner fiberboard components that have individual containerboard basis weight that vary by plus or minus 5% from the nominal basis weight reported in the initial design qualification test report.

Regulation Sections

Section Subject
171.7 Reference material
178.516 Standards for fiberboard boxes