Search Google right now for ‘Equipment Case’ and see what you get. There’s such a huge range of choice out there, with little or no guidance into what case is best for each need. We want to change that. In order to do this, I’m going to give you an insight into all the questions I ask my customers when they’re looking for a case. A case cheat sheet, if you will, that will arm you with all the details you’ll need to have clear in your mind when looking for a case to perfectly fit your needs.
What is the case for?
It could be for storage, maybe shipping or even presentation, but for many of our customers, the answer is really all three, (sometimes without them even knowing it!) So although this question is a good opener, the best services out there should really drill down into the detail of each case function, to help determine the right choice for their customers.
What is the size and weight of the item?
For small items there are single & double skin lightweight cases, which offer both good protection and provide great presentation for your product. For mid – heavy weight items we have cases in a range of technical plastics and aluminium. It’s stating the obvious but the larger and/or heavier the item, the more robust the case needs to be, here our protective and bespoke case ranges come into their own.
How will the case be transported?
If equipment is to be shipped in the case, a tough case that will stand up to the rigours of rough handling is best. The size and weight of the item might incur lifting limitations, so the case will require additional handles for a two man lift or even wheels. At the extreme end of the scale, a pallet riser kit or skids may be needed for larger cases to accommodate handling by forklift.
How many trips?
Whether the case is required for single or multiple trips will determine how rugged your case will need to be. Lifetime warranty is available with some makes of case, providing a worry-free assurance of repair or replacement if the case is damage in transit.
Will accessories or documentation be included with your item?
It is important to consider what will be stored or shipped with your item. Additional components or accessories may need to be included and these extras have an impact on the size of the case required. Documentation can be housed in a case lid organiser or foam pocket.
Is the item of high value or delicate?
When storing fragile valuable items, a crush proof robust case will be needed with a custom foam insert designed to provide great cushioning and protection. Essential equipment being shipped to remote locations may similarly need a high level of protection to see that it arrives at the destination in working order. If it doesn’t, there are additional costs due to working time lost in arranging for a replacement to be sourced and shipped.
What’s the weather like?
Although this might sound more like a question you’d ask relatives on their holiday, weather conditions should be seriously considered. Our plastic resin cases resist corrosion including use in marine environments, unlike many aluminium cases. A waterproof or dustproof case may be required in extreme environments; protective cases should have the appropriate Ingress Protection (IP) certification to meet these needs.
Is presentation a priority?
Attractive design and protection are not mutually exclusive, from a comprehensive range of single and double skin cases, the right level of protection for your product can be found without compromising on aesthetics. Would brand and/or product identification be required? Options include case colour to complement your brand, custom labelling and screen printing.
Economic to premium range cases can be sourced and supplied to meet your project’s budget, but, as ever, squeezing budgets will invariably mean compromise on features will have to be made. So if you need to be economical with your budget, I’d advise making a numbered list, based upon the above questions, of all the features you require, starting with the most vital to the least. If you become stuck, case insert experts like our very own Steve Chandler, have vast experience in maximising pack density. This is essentially optimising a case insert’s layout to increase the amount of items that could go into one case. Often this has proved a subtle but significant way to make the most out of a strict budget.
I am always glad to hear feedback or help with any questions you might have either about this article or even your own quest for your best case scenario (sorry).