How does the ShockWatch Label Work?

How does the ShockWatch Label Work?
Published On: July 14, 2021 Revised On: March 6, 2024

ShockWatch labels are often used as packaging indicators for shipping and logistics. These indicators detect and record impacts during transportation, offering a tangible way to monitor potential mishandling. As shipments become increasingly diverse and valuable, it is paramount to ensure they are handled with care. These labels provide shippers and recipients with a clear snapshot of a package’s journey, reinforcing the necessity for meticulous handling and underscoring the broader significance of shipment integrity.

What are ShockWatch Labels?

These specialized impact indicators are tamper-proof, mechanically activated devices that alert handlers of potential mishandling during shipment or storage. When an undesired impact occurs, the indicator’s colour transitions from white to a vivid red. This transformation not only signifies potential accidents or mistreatment but also deters further mishandling, aiding in reducing damage-related costs and identifying shipping hazards.

The design’s omnidirectional shock response ensures accurate detection from any direction, making it a reliable tool in transit monitoring. These labels minimise transit-related losses by providing a straightforward way to oversee goods’ treatment. Their dual role in damage detection and as a cautionary reminder ensures that goods arrive in optimal condition, making them cost-effective and essential in contemporary shipping and logistics.

Understanding the Mechanics

The label is fitted with liquid-filled tubes or glass ampoules. When the package undergoes an impact beyond a certain threshold, the ampoule breaks, releasing the liquid into the surrounding medium. This interaction between the ampoule’s liquid and the medium produces the visible indicator of mishandling.

The colour transformation serves a dual purpose: it is a clear visual sign of mishandling and a deterrent for further rough treatment. When the aforementioned liquid is released, it reacts with a specially treated paper or medium inside the label, causing a vivid colour change. This isn’t just a simple stain; it’s a chemically-induced transformation that cannot be reversed, ensuring the evidence of the impact remains clear and tamper-evident.

How it works and function

Products are susceptible to mishandling, internal movements, and external shocks during transport. ShockWatch Labels help monitor these potential hazards, signalling when a product may have experienced undue stress. The primary function of the labels is to alert handlers to treat packages carefully. Once activated, the label can’t be reset. Labels are calibrated to specific gravitational force thresholds, represented by values like 25G, 37G, 50G, and 100G.

Here, “G” denotes gravitational force, indicating the shock intensity the label is set to detect. These labels have a clear impact indicator. If an impact exceeds the designated G value, the indicator changes colour, showing possible harm to the contents. This colour shift serves a dual purpose: indicating a potential incident and reminding handlers to be careful. Being aware that a package is being monitored, handlers are likelier to be cautious.

These labels are cost-effective and promote mindful handling. Each comes with adhesive backing, ensuring it stays attached from storage to the final destination. ShockWatch Labels act as a record, tracking any rough handling from production to delivery. The colour indicators provide a way to verify a package’s treatment during transit. They also prompt recipients to check their goods before acceptance, ensuring products arrive in the intended condition.

Benefits of Using Impact Indicators

Transporting products or equipment between various locations has inherent risks. While delivery is convenient, the journey subjects goods to potential damage. This risk is especially pronounced for fragile items that can be compromised by multiple factors, from inadequate packaging and storage to careless handling. Often, the benefits of transportation are overshadowed by the risks involved.

Product damage leads to disruptions and financial losses. Whether it’s broken equipment or compromised goods, addressing the aftermath is cumbersome. It entails managing customer grievances, facilitating replacements, and sometimes absorbing additional costs. For suppliers handling delicate items, a proactive approach is imperative.

It’s crucial to detect damages early, ideally upon receipt. Without clear indicators, it’s challenging to ascertain the extent of damages sustained during transit. Early detection facilitates timely replacements or compensation claims, eliminating prolonged disputes or dissatisfaction.

ShockWatch Labels offer visual instant alerts indicating when a product has faced undue stress or impact. These labels are designed for precision and triggered only by impacts beyond standard transportation stresses. A liquid-filled tube within the label turns from clear to a bright red hue upon experiencing significant shock, providing an instant visual cue of mishandling.

Their design is versatile. They remain effective, whether affixed directly to products like computers or phones, attached via a clip on the product surface, or as an adhesive on the shipping container. Any excessive impact or forceful mishandling immediately activates the label, revealing potential harm.

Determining liability for damaged goods also becomes straightforward. Moreover, for diverse needs, various ShockWatch Impact Indicators are tailored to different sensitivities based on product weight and size. By integrating these indicators into shipping practices, businesses protect their products and reinforce their dedication to excellence at every supply chain step.

Real-time Feedback on Mishandling: These labels immediately indicate when a package has experienced undue stress or impact. Their visible colour change signals potential compromise, prompting immediate inspection or action.

Deterrence for Handlers: The mere impact indicator on a package serves as a cautionary sign. Handlers, aware of the monitoring, are more likely to be careful, promoting safer transportation of goods.

Reduction in Product Damage and Warranty Claims: With more cautious handling, damages naturally decrease. This means fewer costs related to replacements or repairs and a decline in warranty claims, leading to operational and financial efficiency.

Boost to Brand Reputation: Employing such indicators showcases a brand’s commitment to product integrity. This diligence can enhance consumer trust and loyalty, positioning the brand as one that prioritizes quality and customer satisfaction.

Applications Across Industries

Incorporating impact indicators in these industries is not just about preventing physical damage. It’s about preserving value, be it in the form of technological functionality, medical accuracy, cultural significance, or operational integrity.

  • Electronics and Precision Equipment: Modern electronics, from smartphones to advanced instrumentation, often contain delicate components that shocks can damage. Using impact indicators ensures these devices are handled carefully during transportation, reducing the risk of component failure or product returns.
  • Biomedical and Healthcare: The biomedical sector regularly transports sensitive equipment, diagnostic kits, and biological samples. Ensuring the integrity of these items during transit is crucial. Impact indicators alert handlers to the fragile nature of the contents, ensuring that medical samples arrive uncontaminated and equipment remains calibrated.
  • Glassware and Fragile Goods: Whether it’s fine china, laboratory glassware, or decorative items, these goods are inherently fragile. Impact indicators are invaluable in this sector, as they visibly signify the need for gentle handling, minimizing the chances of breakage.
  • Aerospace and Defense Components: Parts and components in these sectors are often high-value and sensitive. Mishandling can lead to expensive replacements or, worse, operational failures. Using impact indicators ensures these components are transported under vigilant monitoring, preserving their functional integrity.
  • Art and Museum Artifact Transportation: Transporting irreplaceable art pieces and artefacts requires utmost care. Any damage can result in immeasurable cultural and financial loss. Impact indicators serve as silent guardians, ensuring that these invaluable items are treated with the respect they deserve during their journey.

Integrating ShockWatch Labels into Packaging

Users must consider two critical factors before selecting an impact indicator’s sensitivity: the shipment’s size and weight. The selection of these labels is primarily based on the shipment’s weight. To ensure accurate matching, it’s essential to provide the precise dimensions and weight of the products in transit.

Product fragility and the type of packaging used should also influence the choice of label. When applying an indicator label, always position it on the right edge and the package’s longest side. Remember: the heavier the package, the lower the label should be mounted.

Proper Placement on the Package:

  • Visibility: Position the label where it’s easily noticeable. The primary goal is to ensure that anyone handling the package sees the label, prompting careful handling.
  • Location: Place the label on the package’s flat, rigid surface. Avoid corners or edges where the label might get peeled off.
  • Clean Surface: Before applying the label, ensure the package surface is clean and dry. This ensures the adhesive sticks properly, and the label remains affixed throughout the transit.

Selecting the Right Sensitivity Level for the Product:

  • Assess Product Fragility: Different products have varying levels of fragility. Electronics may require different sensitivity compared to glassware or art pieces.
  • Weight Considerations: Labels come with varying sensitivity levels depending on the weight of the package. It’s crucial to match the label’s sensitivity to the package’s weight to ensure accurate detection of mishandling.
  • Consult the Manufacturer: If uncertain, consult the ShockWatch manufacturer or supplier for guidance on the ideal sensitivity level for your product type.

Educating the Supply Chain about the Label’s Presence and Importance:

  • Training Sessions: Organize training sessions for your staff, especially those in warehousing and dispatch, to educate them about the label’s function and significance.
  • Information Inserts: Include a brief note or pamphlet inside the package explaining the presence of the ShockWatch label. This can be especially helpful for the end recipient to understand any colour change in the label.
  • Collaborate with Transport Partners: Engage with your logistics or transport partners. Make them aware of the labels, emphasizing the importance of careful handling and the potential consequences of neglect.
  • Feedback Loop: Create a system where mishandling incidents can be reported and addressed. This feedback mechanism can help refine the packaging process and identify any recurring issues in the supply chain.


Integrating ShockWatch Impact Indicators into shipping practices minimises transportation damages and ensures transparency and accountability throughout the supply chain. Proper selection and application of these labels are paramount to maximize their benefits. Humi Pak offers extensive USA-manufactured impact packaging indicators to safeguard goods during transit. Contact us to schedule a consultation with our packaging engineers to discover more.

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