UN 38.3 test series

In most of the checklists you can find a checkpoint regarding the so called UN 38.3 Test.

What does it mean?

Before lithium cells/batteries can be transported in the first place, they must have successfully passed certain tests. These tests simulate transport conditions like pressure, temperature, crush, impact ect. These tests are described in the United Nations manual called "UN manual of tests and criteria". Part III of this manual describes in subsection 38.3 the 8 test modules which in some documents or data sheets are also called T.1 to T.8 test.

Since 01. January 2019 the 6. Revised edition of the UN manual of tests and criteria, Amendment 1 is valid.

 

 


Test Requirements according to the UN Manual of Tests and Criteria Part III, Subsection 38.3

38_3_overview

 

 

 

The new edition of the UN manual of tests and criteria

 

 

When you are interested in the technical details of this UN test series 38.3, you can download the up-to-date version of the German manual for free via the following link:
https://opus4.kobv.de/opus4-bam/frontdoor/index/index/docId/47379

The English version of the UN 38.3 test you can find here:
http://www.unece.org/trans/areas-of-work/dangerous-goods/legal-instruments-and-recommendations/un-manual-of-tests-and-criteria/rev6-files.html

In addition you need to download the file with the information on Amendment 1. Unfortunately there is no consolidated version available. The Amendment can be found unter this link:
http://www.unece.org/trans/areas-of-work/dangerous-goods/legal-instruments-and-recommendations/un-manual-of-tests-and-criteria/amend-to-rev6.html

With the changes on 01. January 2019 two tables have been added which present a nice overview on the number of test samples for each of the tests in the UN test series 38.3:

New requirement of a UN 38.3 Test Summary from 01. January 2020 onwards

With the changes on 01. January 2019 in the UN manual of tests and criteria a new subsection 38.3.5 was included which refers to the specific regulations of the different transport modes.
Latest on 01. January 2020 the information on the successfully passed UN 38.3 test must be documented in a lot more details and must be provided to users. At the moment a general declaration of conformity stating "The UN 38.3 test has been successfully passed" is sufficient.

The UN 38.3 Test Summary must included the following information:

We have included all those information into our Supplier Inquiry Forms. You may download these combined UN38.3 Test Summary and Supplier Inquiry Forms under these links:

English versions:

UN38.3 Test Summary and Supplier Inquiry Form Lithium Battery Service in English for batteries
(Version 1/2020)
PDF
UN38.3 Test Summary and Supplier Inquiry Form Lithium Battery Service in English for cells
(Version 1/2020)
PDF

German versions:

UN38.3 Prüfungszusammenfassung und Lieferantenabfrage Lithium Battery Service in Deutsch für Batterien (Version 1/2020) PDF
UN38.3 Prüfungszusammenfassung und Lieferantenabfrage Lithium Battery Service in Deutsch für Zellen (Version 1/2020) PDF

This combined UN 38.3 Test Summary and Supplier Inquiry Forms we provide to you free of charge. You may use it free of charge and even include your own logo in it provided that our copyright information in the footer is kept in place.

 

What does that mean for you as Shipper?

You as shipper of lithium cells/batteries have to get a confirmation from the manufacturer of the cell/battery or from the supplier that the cells/batteries provided have successfully passed the UN 38.3 test series. And from 2020 this declaration of conformity needs to include the details of the UN 38.3 Test Summary. Of course this is also needed for lithium cells and/or lithium batteries that are already installed in equipment. Here the manufacturer of the equipment has the obligation to provide the information to you.

Usually you´ll find this information in product data sheets of the manufacturer. Unfortunately at the moment there is no obligation for the lithium cells / lithium batteries or the equipment containing lithium cells and/or lithium batteries to bear a note regarding this.

Here a very important tip from experience: Batteries are subject to the UN 38.3 test regardless of whether the cells they are composed of have passed the test or not. You have to look very closely what the manufacturer or supplier confirms. The certificate must match your lithium cell / lithium battery.

Transport of lithium cells / lithium batteries without UN 38.3 test

Without a confirmation of this UN 38.3 test lithium cells and lithium batteries may only be transported following stricter requirements as so called prototypes. This is also possible for small series of max. 100 lithium cells / lithium batteries. This is regulated in the ADR and IMDG code in Special Provision 310 and for this variety of transport you can find the relevant checklist on our website via FIND A SINGLE CHECKLIST and "Detailed Search".

In air transport this is regulated in the IATA DGR manual in Special Provision A88. For this an exemption from the appropriate national authority is needed every time. We have developed checklists for this transport variety also, even though the appropriate national authority will determine the requirements for transport and especially for packaging for each individual case.

How can we help you?

Should you have questions regarding the UN 38.3 test certificate or when you´re looking for a UN 38.3 Test certificate of a certain product, please contact us via the button "Contact/Consulting". We have obtained quite a lot of UN 38.3 certificates or UN 38.3 declarations of conformity ourselves and we can help you directly or to support you in your search.

Quality Management Program for the manufacture of lithium cells / lithium batteries

Closely related to the UN test series according to 38.3 is the additional requirement that the manufacturer of the lithium cells / lithium batteries must manufacture under a clearly described quality management program. With this shall be ensured that the production series is not of low quality which could present a risk during transport.

At the moment it doesn´t have to be a certified system like ISO 9001 but on request the manufacturer must present proof of the existing qualtiy management program to the authorites. A certification according to ISO 9001 of the manufacturing process would fulfill all requirements of the transport regulations on the Quality Management Program for the manfuacture of the lithium cells / lithium batteries.

As shipper / consignor of lithium cells / lithium batteries you must get a confirmation from the manufacturer or your supplier that the manufacture was according to the required QM Program. In our checklists we do have a check point regarding this. And in our combined Supplier Inquiry Form and UN 38.3 Test Summary we included it also.

The details on the Quality Management Programm on the manufacture of lithium cells / lithium batteries we´ve provided for you under this link:
https://www.lithium-batterie-service.de/en/quality-management-program