Packaging FAQs - Preservation Methods

NAVIGATIONAL BAR:   | Submethods | Specialized Preservation Codes | SPIs

Listed below are compiled packaging FAQs for the 'Preservation' topic. Our Preservation Method web page identifies the types of preservation methods, submethods, and their requirements. If your question is not listed, please use either our feedback form to add a Packaging FAQ to this listing or contact us directly by E-mail us at:

  • What is preservation?
    MIL-STD-2073 states preservation is the 'Application of protective measures, including cleaning, drying, preservative materials, barrier materials, cushioning, and containers when necessary.'

  • What are the five basic Methods of Preservation?
    The five basic methods of preservation are as follows:
    Method 10 (formerly Method III) physical protection
    Method 20 (formerly Method I) preservative coating only
    Method 30 (formerly Method IC) waterproof protection
    Method 40 (formerly Method IA) watervaporproof protection
    Method 50 (formerly Method II) watervaporproof protection with desiccant

  • Are there only five Methods of preservation?
    No, there are actually 13 submethods, 22 specialized preservation codes, and many special packaging instructions (denoted with 'ZZ').

  • How do I convert preservation methods/submethods from MIL-STD-2073-2C and/or MIL-P-116 to MIL-STD-2073-1D codes?
    The preservation conversion table web page is a good tool to convert old codes to new codes.

  • How do I package an item that's considered to be an electrostatic sensitive (ESDS) device?
    ESDS items shall be packaged in accordance with preservation method 'GX'. For more details on how to properly package ESDS items, refer to our web page covering Electrostatic Discharges Sensitive (ESDS) items.

  • How do I package kits?
    Military packaging of parts kits and/or modification kits shall be in accordance with MIL-STD-2073, Appendix D. See our KITS web page for more information.

  • How do I package a item that's considered to be a hazardous material?
    Items that contain a hazardous material and are regulated for transportation shall be packaged in accordance with preservation method 'HM'.

  • May I provided disassembled items within a package?
    Yes, under the following conditions: 'Items may be disassembled into component parts provided an overall saving will result and disassembly and reassembly can be accomplished with the use of common hand tools by semi-skilled personnel.'  

  • May I coil, roll, or fold items before packaging them?
    Yes, under the following conditions: 'Flexible, coilable items constructed in a loop, such as fan belts or doorseals, having a 14 inch diameter or greater, shall be looped so as not to distort or otherwise damage the item. Items shall not be looped if undue stain or damage will occur. Items that are practical to roll or fold shall be rolled or folded to the minimum cube the will prevent deformation or set to the item during long term storage.'  

  • What requirements should I use if my contract does not cite a preservation method and/or packaging requirements?
    The following answer is an excerpt from MIL-STD-2073, paragraph 5.2.3: 'Preservation methods should be specified in the contract or purchase order. In the absence of such requirements, the appropriate method shall be selected in accordance with the applicable tables of Appendix A. The following requirements will apply:
    1. Protection from physical damage and mechanical malfunction is required for all methods of preservation in addition to the specific environment protection provided.
    2. When methods provide either transparent or opaque protection, transparent protection may be furnished at the option of the supplier but is not required unless specifically called for in the contract or purchase order.
    3. Protection for all electrostatic discharge sensitive items requires the use of packaging materials to counteract electrostatic and electromagnetic field forces (see
    4. When specific methods require using a bag or container, preliminary wrapping, cushioning or other dunnage material shall be applied as necessary to protect the item, the bag, and the container from the all projections or sharp edges of the item as well as to restrict its movement within the unit pack.
    5. When methods require chipboard or fiberboard containers within the bag, the corners and edges of the containers shall be blunted prior to placing the item in the box and enclosing within the bag.
    6. When a transparent unit pack is specified, the preliminary wrapping shall also be transparent. Items preserved with VCI-treated materials are exempted from preliminary wrapping.
    7. Methods of preservation requiring the use of a bag for the interior packaging shall be subject to the use and fabrication procedures and limitations of MIL-DTL-117. Table II lists the acceptable materials that may be used in constructing bags that meet the requirements of specific methods of preservation. Bags shall comply with MIL-E-6060 when the construction limitations of MIL-DTL-117 are exceeded.
    8. All cushioning and dunnage used shall be as clean and dry as practicable to minimize item susceptibility to corrosion and contaminants.
    9. Items with handles, knobs or other protrusions shall be wrapped or otherwise protected and secured to facilitate equal distribution of shock forces over the entire surface of the item and thus prevent damaging shock forces to the protrusion.
    10. When flexible bags are used, the volume of trapped air within the bag shall be kept to a minimum by compressing the bag around the contents, or by carefully drawing a vacuum inside the bag, prior to effecting the final sealing. Caution shall be taken to prevent rupture of the bag.'
    We strongly recommend you contact the managing Center for packaging requirements to request a contract modification.

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Last Updated:  15 Oct 2015