May 13, 2024

Protection, storage, and transportation a full guide to 2024 Protective Cases

1. What is a protective case?

In its most basic definition, a case refers to a container for storing something. The protective cases mentioned in this article typically refer to roadie cases, ABS tool cases, plastic hard cases, electronic carrying cases, and EVA cases, which serve as containers.

all kinds of foam protective case
*Various eva cases of e-commerce websites

Many types of protective cases are available in the market, with vast differences in design, material selection, and size. Reading this article will provide a more professional understanding of various types of protective cases on the market, enabling you to quickly find the right case for your industry or specific product. For brand owners and users who need customized cases, this article also introduces some knowledge about protect case customization and procurement, as well as global protect case procurement solutions.

common style of protective cases
*Common style of protective cases
Protective case inner construction
*Protective case inner construction

The most important function of a protective case is to safeguard the product inside during transportation, storage, and usage, especially for fragile, expensive items or those used in harsh working environments. This can significantly reduce the impact of improper transportation and storage on the product or work progress.

2. The Development History of Protective Cases

When discussing various protective cases for equipment, we cannot overlook the Roadie Case, which is considered the pioneer of protective cases. The intricately designed and functionally sophisticated protective cases we see today can be traced back to the origins of the Roadie Case.

The Roadie Case, a transportation and protective container cleverly crafted from materials like wood, metal, and leather, is widely used in the United States, particularly for road trips. Its inception stemmed from musicians' need to protect and transport their band equipment during travel. In early England, touring artists began using wooden boxes lined with animal skin to safeguard their precious stage instruments and props while serving as luggage for personal items.

*Old-style roadie case with cloth
Roadie case loading
*Roadie case loading

Over time, modernized road cases began to emerge in the 1950s. In 1952, Chuck Vallas founded Anvil Cases in California, providing traveling entertainers with transportation cases made of birch plywood covered with fabric or Tolex. Chuck Vallas upgraded the early Roadie Case by adding plastic edges for impact resistance, fitting them with latches for security, and even installing rollers on the bottom. This marked the beginning of the modern Roadie Case.

birch plywood roadie case
*Birch plywood roadie case(modern replica)

As the US highway and railway systems rapidly developed, Roadie Case manufacturers realized that to maximize transportation efficiency, the cases' dimensions needed to closely align with the space in transport trucks. Consequently, standard-sized road cases of 21.5 x 30 inches and 21.5 x 45 inches emerged. These cases could be neatly stacked in truck spaces in rows of four, three, or two, resembling a building block system. Before breakthroughs in modern materials science, wood and metal were the best options for protecting large products during transportation. It's worth mentioning that even in 2024, these cases are still highly utilized and remain a preferred choice for many large-scale transportation protections.

21.5 x 30 inches Standard roadie case dimensions
*21.5 x 30 inches Standard roadie case dimensions
*21.5 x 45 inches Standard roadie case dimensions

Over the past 70 years since 1952, as the clientele diversified, various enterprises, schools, and governments began to generate procurement demands. Manufacturers and designers developed new protective cases tailored to different product uses. More materials like plastic, ABS, TPU, EVA, and others were introduced into the manufacturing process of these novel protective cases. The cases' appearances gradually became more refined, exquisite, and compact. Beyond basic transportation protection, these cases also offered additional features like storage, dust proofing, waterproofing, portability, personal travel, product display, and enhancing brand value. All these products and functions evolved from the realm of live music tours.

3. Characteristics and Advantages of Protective Cases

With the evolution of time, protective cases have transcended their original purpose and become invaluable assistants in users' daily lives. They are no longer just simple protective tools; they now possess multiple functions such as storage, display, portability, and enhancing product value. Let's delve deeper into the core characteristics of these protective cases.

  1. Durability of Protective Shells: As the primary role of protective cases is to safeguard valuables, durability is paramount. Protective shells exhibit remarkable resilience thanks to injection molding technology and the application of copolymer polypropylene. Polypropylene, as a thermoplastic plastic, boasts comprehensive optimization in physical, chemical, mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties, coupled with an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio. Additionally, its lightweight, stain-resistant, and non-absorbent characteristics ensure excellent resistance to compression and impact.
  2. Storage Capabilities: Many protective cases feature multi-layer storage compartments, providing an ideal solution for card collectors or household storage. This design not only facilitates space organization but also effectively safeguards items, preventing the loss of essential items during frequent use.
  3. Display advantage: For luxury goods and high-value personal care equipment, protective cases like EVA cases play a pivotal role in the display process. They vividly showcase products in both use and storage scenarios, demonstrating deep concern for users' valuable assets. This display method not only highlights the uniqueness of the product but also elevates its grade and added value. Especially in the context of online sales and express delivery, protective cases can effectively reduce damage during transportation, leading to higher sales success rates.
  4. Portability: For products with numerous components, such as military equipment, communication devices, photography gear, and outdoor equipment, a single Eva case can accommodate everything, ensuring safety during transportation. Meanwhile, its sleek and streamlined appearance adds to its stability and portability. For everyday consumers, compact and portable protective cases can house and carry multiple electronic devices or cosmetics, significantly enhancing travel convenience.
  5. Protective Interior Linings: Of course, a quality protective case must possess protective interior linings to ensure the safety of internal items. These linings, often made of customizable foam, mesh pockets, and straps, significantly enhance the stability of internal goods. Even in unexpected situations like shaking, vibration, or dropping, they can effectively safeguard your products.

For modern users, protective cases are not just simple protective tools; they are invaluable assistants and all-around guardians in daily life. Whether it's safeguarding valuables, organizing storage, showcasing taste, or facilitating portability, protective cases provide users with comprehensive and thoughtful services.

4. Industrial Applications of Protective Cases

4.1 Characteristics of Industries Requiring Protective Cases

A protective case provides effective safeguarding for products. Due to its high level of generalization and low customization costs, protective cases have been applied in many industries requiring precision. Gradually, they have become a new type of packaging solution, satisfying the high-end packaging needs of products. These industries that commonly utilize protective cases tend to have the following characteristics:

Drone packaging case
  • The products are fragile, such as glassware prone to breakage or high-tech products and electronic devices with numerous components.
  • The products requiring protection are of high value, such as various art collections, newly developed products resulting from significant investments in research and development by enterprises, each having considerable worth.
  • The products are important, and any damage would lead to significant losses in commercial or operational value, such as instruments frequently used by band lead singers or critical components in the aerospace industry.
  • The products have irregular shapes, making it difficult to fix and transport using conventional storage tools, requiring customized EVA or ABS linings to secure the products.
  • The operating environment is harsh, such as outdoor or military use, with high temperatures, humidity, uneven terrain, and high risks of dropping and compression.

4.2 Classification of Industries Where Protective Cases Are Applied

Protective cases are widely used in various industries. Based on the mainstream market classification, they can be roughly divided into the following four categories:

4.2.1 Industrial engineering, electronics, machinery and maintenance industries

Engineers and maintenance professionals use special protective cases to safeguard their tools from impacts, high temperatures, dust, and chemicals. Equipment such as pressure gauges, tachometers, calibrators, and data recorders can all be centrally protected within these cases.

    Engineer Work Inspection Toolbox
    *Toolbox for Engineer Work Inspection

    4.2.2 Professionals in the Event Lighting and Broadcasting Industries:

    Photography and electronic equipment require both storage and transportation protection. Flexible interior layouts and foam inserts allow for the safe storage of sensitive cameras, flashlights, lenses, as well as broadcasting and sound equipment.

    *Lighting industry eva storage case
    *Audio equipment cabinet case
    *Audio equipment cabinet case

    4.2.3 Scientists and Medical Experts:

    Large scientific research equipment and medical devices need extra care during transportation. Road cases, heavy-duty cases, and custom ABS cases can meet these requirements. For small tools and portable medical emergency equipment, convenience and portability are essential. Customizable EVA cases with adjustable internal structures are a great choice. You can trust these protective cases to safeguard sensitive laboratory equipment, scientific instruments, and heavy-duty communication systems.

    4.2.4Sales Representatives and Marketing Professionals:

    Protective cases are crucial for sales representatives who travel frequently, as they help protect company samples and products transported to sales meetings. Besides being an excellent marketing tool, professional protective cases are also a great way to store sample items during regular travel.

    Name-brand watch ABS packing case
    *Blancpain '70s limited edition Fifty Fathoms 5052 packing case

    5. Common applications of protective cases include

    For businesses that need to mobilize their products and services, the choice of protective cases is particularly important during transportation. However, people from different industries may not fully understand the specific needs of their sector when purchasing or customizing protective cases. They may also be eager to understand how similar businesses in their industry accurately communicate these needs to suppliers. To address this challenge, this article details 13 specific applications of protective cases across various industries and deeply analyzes the core requirements of each application. This not only helps professionals from different industries more clearly recognize the crucial role of protective cases in mobilizing products and services but also provides them with practical references to purchase or customize protective cases that suit their industry characteristics. This can enhance the user experience of products, strengthen brand image, and stand out in fierce market competition.

    • Medical equipment case
    • Test Instrument Carrying Cases
    • VR, Drones, Consumer Electronics cases
    • Luxury Storage, Watch/Jewelry Organizer Case
    • Home Organizer Case
    • Photography Camera cases
    • Cosmetics and Personal Care Case
    • Military Equipment Protects Case
    • Lighting industry Case
    • Outdoor Treasure Hunting and Exploration
    • Road Cases for Entertainment Companies
    • Aerospace/Aviation Industry: Heavy-Duty Equipment Cases
    • Oil and Natural Gas Industry

    5.1 Medical equipment case 

    Custom medical cases are packaging solutions specifically designed for displaying, organizing, and protecting valuable medical equipment. Their safety and idealness are widely recognized. For mobile medical equipment, the importance of protective cases is on par with the equipment itself. To ensure the perfect functionality and comprehensive protection of the equipment, every feature, pocket, and zipper of the medical equipment carrying case must be carefully designed. The case's exterior must be lightweight and durable, effectively protecting the internal equipment from external impacts. Additionally, it should remain simple and easy to use in emergencies, allowing medical personnel to access the equipment quickly.

    Considering the diversity of medical equipment, from implant sales kits to various instrument trays, and other expensive medical devices, each requires a targeted design. Special needs such as heat preservation and cooling must also be considered when transporting valuable medications, blood, or tissues. The material options for custom medical cases are diverse, including aluminum, EVA, plastic, nylon fabric, or wood. The interior is usually customized with foam inserts based on the characteristics of the medical products to ensure stability and safety. The exterior of the case is often imprinted with the company logo or other corporate identifications to enhance brand recognition. Sometimes, prominent medical reminder signs are also added to ensure quick identification in emergency situations.

    Common custom case reference projects in the medical industry include:

    • ADE Protect EVA Case
    • Diabetic Test Cases
    • Dialysis Testing Cases
    • Endoscope Cases
    • Hearing Instrument Cases
    • Hemophiliac Life Saver Cases
    • Laser Surgery Demo Cases
    • Medical Imaging Cases
    • Mobile CAT Scan Case

    5.2 Test Instrument Carrying Cases

    The primary function of a test instrument carrying case is to protect and transport various testing instruments, meters, and other measuring devices. These cases provide a safe, reliable, and convenient method for storing and transporting sensitive equipment.

    When selecting a test instrument carrying case, the type often depends on the size and shape of the testing instrument. For instance, electrical testing instruments may require a more compact case to fit their specific dimensions. Additionally, different materials are suitable for different application scenarios, with some materials better able to withstand extreme temperatures or specific environments.

    In the manufacturing of test instrument carrying cases, durable plastics or metals are typically used as the primary materials, and foam padding is equipped to cushion the internal instruments. The foam padding is precisely cut to fit the specific shape and size of the protected equipment, ensuring that the devices are properly protected during transportation.

    Test instrument carrying cases are widely used in various industries, such as electronics, manufacturing, engineering, energy management, aviation maintenance, automotive repair, and medical equipment testing.

    5.3 VR, Drones, Consumer Electronics Cases

    For VR product companies, it is essential to choose a high-quality portable case for the transportation and storage of their products. To ensure the secure and convenient transportation and storage of VR devices and accessories, here are several key considerations for portable cases:

    • Structural Quality and Security

    Portable cases must possess a sturdy and durable structure that effectively withstands dirt, scratches, and falls. They should be crafted with a robust shell, and the interior should be lined with soft material to prevent scratches and damage during transit. Additionally, to handle unexpected situations, portable cases should incorporate shock-absorbing measures to guarantee the safety of devices in all environments.

    • Appearance and Adaptability

    Portable cases should adhere to a simple and practical design philosophy, avoiding unnecessary embellishments. The aesthetic should be sleek and elegant, able to blend into various environments while maintaining a subdued style. Color and material choices should also reflect user preferences and practical requirements, ensuring the cases are both functional and visually appealing.

    • Portability and Travel Convenience

    Portable cases should be compact and lightweight, facilitating easy transportation in backpacks or handbags. They should also feature secure fixing mechanisms to stabilize devices during transportation. Built-in handles or shoulder straps further enhance portability, minimizing inconvenience during travel.

    • Ease of Storage and Organization

    The interior of the case should offer clear storage spaces to help users organize VR devices, controllers, and related accessories effortlessly. Thoughtful internal layouts and additional pockets can be used to store cables, batteries, and other small items, maximizing storage capacity. For users with numerous peripherals, portable cases should provide ample expansion space or customizable options to cater to individual needs.

    • Design Compatibility and Efficiency

    Portable cases must be carefully designed to accommodate various models of VR devices and their accessories. Dedicated storage areas within the case ensure parts remain in place during transportation, making it convenient for users to locate what they need quickly. Furthermore, the design should consider potential upgrades and expansion requirements, ensuring the cases are future-proof.

    5.4 Luxury Storage Case and Watch/Jewelry Organizer Case

    Jewelry storage case

    For enthusiasts of luxury goods, it is crucial to select a travel organizer case tailored specifically for watches and jewelry. An ideal case should excel in exquisite design, compact structure, and ease of portability, while also catering to a wide range of uses, from daily storage to long-distance travel. Small EVA protective cases are highly regarded in the luxury goods industry due to their unique advantages. Combining PU or TPU hard shells with molded EVA foam materials, this type of case boasts a sturdy and stylish exterior that is both robust and fashionable. It features a hardshell design, a soft velvet lining, and EVA foam, all of which complement each other to create a safe and comfortable storage space for luxury items. Furthermore, the secure zipper design facilitates smooth opening and closing operations while enhancing the sealing performance of the case. Notably, many luxury goods EVA cases come with thoughtful features such as specialized slots, compartments, and pouches, allow for the organized storage of necklaces, rings, bracelets, and other accessories, effectively preventing entanglement, loose parts, and scratches. When selecting luxury goods EVA cases, these attentive details are essential, ensuring that the chosen product offers exceptional protection while remaining highly portable.

    Jewelry storage case 2

    5.5 Home Organizer Case

    Home organizer cases vary in scenarios and product categories. Taking battery and small appliance storage boxes as examples, when selecting a suitable protective case for home organizer, the following features are essential considerations for picking the right case:

    Home hair dryer set storage case

    The storage box should feature a large capacity design, capable of accommodating various sizes and types of items. Whether it's batteries, USB cables, flash drives, or other small electronic accessories, it's best to have a multi-layer design that allows for sorted storage of different items, preventing confusion and making items easier to find.

    • Fixed and Independent Storage Design:

    The storage box should utilize foam pre-cut slots to neatly secure sensitive items like batteries, ensuring they won't roll or shift. This design also effectively prevents the contact points of batteries from touching each other, reducing the risk of short circuits and damage.

    • Reinforced Handles and Portability:

    The storage box should be equipped with reinforced handles to provide convenience in daily use, preventing the protective case from slipping or being damaged during use.

    • Easy to Open and Close:

    Home organizer cases should preferably adopt a smooth zipper design, making the storage box easy to open and close for quick access to items. This zipper design also reduces costs, giving it an advantage in the market competition.

    5.6 Photography Camera Cases

    In the photography industry, the importance of protecting cases is self-evident. As valuable assets for photographers, the safety and integrity of photographic equipment directly affect the quality and efficiency of photography. Therefore, choosing a suitable protective case is crucial for photographers.

    SLR lens storage case

    When selecting a protective case, photographers should focus on factors such as protective performance, capacity and compartmentalization design, portability, and durability. Firstly, the protective case should have excellent protective performance, capable of resisting external impacts, shocks, moisture, and dust, ensuring the safety of photographic equipment. Secondly, the capacity and compartmentalization design should be reasonable, able to accommodate various photographic equipment and provide sufficient space for classified storage, making it easy to locate and use. Additionally, the protective case should be portable, and convenient for photographers to carry and move, reducing the burden. Finally, durability is also an essential indicator of the quality of a protective case. Only a sturdy and durable protective case can withstand long-term use and challenges from various environments.

    5.7 Cosmetics and Personal Care Case

    Protect cases in the cosmetics industry, also known as cosmetic storage boxes or protective boxes, have a wide range of applications. Depending on the purchase and usage scenarios, they can be roughly divided into three groups: ordinary consumers, professional makeup artists, and cosmetic brands. Different groups have different needs for the storage, portability, and protection of beauty and cosmetic products.

    1. ordinary consumers-personal beauty case:

    Personal portable makeup case

    For ordinary consumers, protect cases are primarily used for the daily storage and carrying of cosmetics. They often pursue portability, aesthetics, and functionality.

    The case should fit easily into a bag or handbag for convenient carrying. It should have a stylish appearance and color scheme that matches personal preferences. It should have enough space to hold commonly used cosmetics, and it should be easy to sort and access items.

    2. Professional makeup artists:

    Makeup case by a professional makeup artist

    Professional makeup artists have more professional and detailed needs for protecting cases. They require a complete system that can accommodate various makeup tools, products, and accessories. Their requirements include

    Large capacity: ability to hold various makeup tools, products, and accessories.

    Reasonable compartment design: easy to classify and store items, quickly finding what's needed.

    Durability: sturdy material that can resist wear and tear from daily use.

    Waterproof and dustproof: ensuring cosmetics can be used normally in outdoor environments.

    3. Cosmetic brands:

    A custom-made makeup bag from a cosmetics brand

    Cosmetic brands often consider protect cases as important tools to enhance brand image and customer experience. They pay more attention to the presentation of the product or brand, investing more in the design of the exterior style. At the same time, they need to consider corporate image and demonstrate their environmental responsibility.

    Beautiful exterior design: reflecting the brand's unique characteristics and aesthetics.

    High-quality materials: using premium materials to enhance the product's texture.

    Customization: able to be personalized according to brand needs, such as printing brand logos, adding slogans, etc.

    Environmental friendliness: focusing on sustainability and choosing recyclable or biodegradable materials.

    4. Compare the requirements of different users for case:

    ClientPortabilityAestheticscapacityDurabilityAppearance designCustomizationEnvironmental protection
    normal consumerHighHighMediumMediumfashionLowLow
    Professional makeup artistMediumMediumHighHighpracticalHighLow
    Cosmetics brandMediumHighMediumLowexquisiteHighHigh

    As can be seen from the table, there are obvious differences in the requirements for protecting cases from different perspectives. Faced with different consumer groups, designers of protect case brand owners need to pay attention to the characteristics of the crowd and develop different cosmetics industry cases for different consumer groups.

    5.8 Military Equipment protects case

    In the military field, effective protection is required for various daily necessities. Military personnel often work in harsh outdoor environments, frequently conducting field training and relocating camps. In such environments, sturdy and durable military cases become crucial. These cases can not only be used to transport weapons but also as rack-mounted server cases and storage for field communication equipment. For the military industry, durability and reusable compatibility are the most important indicators, ensuring safety and improving efficiency, which can ensure smooth operations for military personnel in various complex work scenarios and provide stable support for equipment.

    Military weapons case

    Commonly protected products using military cases include:

    • Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
    • Ballistic Panels
    • Virtual Training Systems
    • Communications Equipment
    • Sensors and Radar
    • Rugged Portable Computers
    • Weapons Systems

    5.9 Lighting Industry Cases

    Lighting, especially high-end or special-design lighting, tends to be complexly designed and inconvenient to transport. Special protection is necessary during transportation, storage, and display. Lighting components made of glass, metal, or plastic are easily damaged due to impact or vibration during transport. A well-designed protective case can effectively mitigate this risk. A professionally and beautifully designed protective case not only safeguards the product but also enhances the brand image when displayed, communicating the company's attention to product quality and details. A unified protective case facilitates the uniform stacking and storage of lighting products, increases space utilization, and simplifies logistics transportation.

    Lighting industry storage Cases 2
    Lighting industry storage Cases 1

    How to Choose or Customize a Protective Case?

    When choosing or customizing a protective case, lighting companies need to consider several crucial elements:

    Size and Shape: The protective case's size should closely match the actual size of the lighting, avoiding oversize or undersize that may result in waste or insufficient protection. The shape design should also accommodate the specific shape and location of the lighting's fragile components.

    Material Selection: The material should be sturdy and durable, such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or polycarbonate (PC) for the exterior shell and EVA, foam, etc., for interior protection. The material should also possess fire-resistant and anti-static properties.

    Internal Structure: The protective case's internal structure should incorporate a reasonable support and fixing system to ensure the lighting remains stable and secure during transportation. Foam, air cushions, or customized supports can be employed to achieve this.

    5.10 Outdoor Treasure Hunting and Exploration

    Outdoor hunting tool case

    Outdoor treasure hunting and exploration activities often require bringing along important detection instruments and rescue equipment, which are usually conducted in rugged and inaccessible areas. In order to ensure that these precious equipment are protected from external impacts, pollution, and water damage during transportation, specially designed high-quality protective cases are of great importance. The size of these transportation cases needs to be tailored to the actual instruments used to ensure a perfect fit. Meanwhile, wheels and a retractable handle are equipped outside the case, greatly enhancing the convenience of transportation. For high-value instruments, the protective case also provides a compact design with a fixed safety lock, effectively preventing equipment theft during transportation, and providing outdoor explorers with all-around protection.

    5.11 Road Cases for Entertainment Companies

    Road cases are indispensable for entertainment companies. During touring performances, they serve numerous essential functions, serving as not only wardrobes and makeup tables but also dining areas, and most importantly, storage spaces for audio, lighting, and video equipment. Their name, 'road case', aptly reflects their purpose of meeting the practical needs of touring entertainment companies during their travels.

    Road cases are typically constructed using sturdy materials like metal or plastic, with their panels precisely joined by extrusions, molded plastic, or metal. Their modular design offers flexibility, often comprising double-walled panels with an outer layer of ABS or fiberglass laminate adhered to a lightweight cabinet-grade plywood such as birch, poplar, or maple.

    For higher-end cases, advanced composite materials are used to enhance the overall quality and lifespan. Inside, they feature carefully designed shock-absorbing fillers like polyurethane or polyethylene foam, which are tailored to the shape of the stored components to ensure stability and safety. Furthermore, the corners of the modular cases are reinforced with stamped steel plates, undergoing multiple surface treatments like zinc, nickel, and chrome to greatly enhance their durability and impact resistance.

    5.12 Aerospace/Aviation Industry: Heavy-Duty Equipment Cases

    Heavy-duty equipment cases in the aerospace industry serve as a crucial safeguard for protecting the industry's cutting-edge equipment. Standing at the forefront of global technological innovation, the aerospace industry requires robust and durable hard cases to provide top-tier protection for its professional tools, expensive and precise materials, confidential instruments, and highly sensitive equipment.

    Custom aviation equipment case
    *Custom aviation equipment case(with wheels)

    When selecting or customizing these heavy-duty equipment cases, due to the high precision demands of the aerospace industry, the external support and fixing structures of the product must also adhere to strict requirements to match various components.

    Moreover, higher standards must be met for various accessories such as stacking corners, edge and lid profiles, load-bearing straps, highly durable C-shaped fasteners, stainless steel hinges, and ergonomically comfortable spring handles, ensuring drop resistance, collision prevention, and durability.

    Common customized cases for the aerospace industry include:

    • Aircraft Auxiliary Power Unit or Cases (APU's)
    • Altimeter Cases
    • Avionics & Instrumentation Cases
    • Back-up Break Drum Assembly Cases
    • Black Box Transporter Cases
    • Cases for Engine Parts
    • Cases for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Equipment
    • Commercial Aircraft Flight Deck Electronics Cases
    • Drone Cases
    • Flight Deck Device Cases
    • Flight Line Cases
    • Gyros Cases
    • Military Aircraft Cases
    • Oxygen Storage Cases
    • Propeller Cases
    • Space Exploration Satellite & Telescope Cases
    • Space Shuttle Support Cases

    5.13 Oil and Natural Gas Industry

    Custom natural gas equipment transport box
    *Customized natural gas equipment transport box (customized for a natural gas company in 2022)

    The energy industry, represented by oil and natural gas, faces extremely complex working environments. It requires constant protection for specific working equipment and samples sent to the laboratory for inspection, preventing them from environmental and transportation hazards.

    5.13.1 Why does the energy industry need protective cases?

    Environmental factors: The working environment in the oil and natural gas industry is often harsh, including high temperatures, low temperatures, humidity, dust, and sand. These environmental factors can damage equipment, necessitating specialized protective cases to prevent such damage.

    Premium Tool case with combination lock
    *Drilling and Sampling Premium Tool case with combination lock

    Precision of equipment: Many devices used in this industry are highly precise and sensitive to environmental factors such as vibration, temperature, and humidity. Protective cases and EVA cases provide necessary protection to ensure the precision and service life of equipment.

    Safety regulations: According to industry standards and safety regulations, some equipment must be stored and transported using specific protective cases.

    5.13.2 Selection or customization requirements for cases in the energy industry:

    simple custom tool case
    *Simple custom toolbox, strap-based, simple protection, focus on compatibility.

    The energy industry is very complex, high temperature, high humidity, transportation bumps, resulting in new challenges in precision tool fall prevention, moisture resistance, and at the same time, there are additional risks of fire, explosion and other risks in the process of core preservation, water sample inspection, and gas inspection. In order to achieve safe production, it is necessary to pay attention to the influence of multiple factors when choosing to purchase or customize protection cases:

    Durability: The cases must be able to resist harsh environmental conditions such as extreme temperatures, humidity, dust, and sand.

    Shockproof performance: For high-precision equipment, the shockproof performance of the case is crucial. EVA material is widely used due to its excellent buffering and shock resistance properties.

    Size compatibility: The size of the case needs to be determined based on the equipment to be stored and transported, ensuring that the equipment can be securely placed inside the case.

    Portability: For equipment that needs frequent movement, the portability of the case is also an important consideration, including weight and handle design.

    Waterproof and dustproof: In some working environments, waterproof and dustproof features are crucial for protecting equipment.

    Compliance with industry standards: Select or customize protective cases that meet specific oil and natural gas industry standards.

    6. Classification of Cases - Based on Material

    There are numerous types of cases, and the previous sections have introduced specific examples from various industries. However, some industries may not have special requirements when choosing cases. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, versatility is a significant feature of cases, which means that for some businesses, it's unnecessary to pay extra packaging costs for additional performance. A basic understanding of the various types of cases can help find the visually appealing option. Let's briefly classify cases based on their material to assist businesses that only need simple protection or storage solutions in quickly finding suitable protective cases.

    6.1 Classification Based on Appearance Material

    Cases can be divided into hard cases and soft cases based on their appearance.

    difference outsite case material
    *Hard and soft appearance case

    Hard cases refer to those with a rigid exterior, typically made of wood, plastic, or other sturdy materials. These cases provide enhanced protection during transportation, preventing damage from impacts. They are often used to store large products or equipment. Representative products include Roadie cases, ATA (Air Transport Association) cases, Heavy Duty Cases, Workstation cases, Trunk cases, and Rack mount cases. Their sizes are usually customized to fit the products they need to hold or according to the transportation requirements of trucks or airlines. These sturdy cases are often bulky, and for convenience, many come equipped with small wheels at the bottom, allowing them to be rolled on the ground. Additionally, they often feature handles for easy carrying when road conditions are poor.

    Soft cases, on the other hand, have a softer exterior, commonly made of leather, TPU, PU, fabric, or other flexible materials. These cases prioritize the user's delicate experience and are more commonly used in consumer scenarios such as the consumer electronics industry, VR headsets, beauty and cosmetics, essential oil storage, luxury goods, watches, jewelry storage, and more. These cases are often smaller in size, and suitable for product display and travel. Most of them adopt zippers as closures for easy access to content.

    The following table compares the two types of cases based on their appearance:

    Product categoryOutside materialappearanceSizeWEIGHTClose methodportability
    ATA Cases/Aluminum Cases/Road Cases/roadie caseWood, plastic, aluminum, metalSquare, black, more grayLarge, some length up to 1.5mHeavyMetal clasp mainly, part with lock.with wheels
    Instrument Cases/Tool CasesEquipment Cases/Heavy Duty CasesPlastic shellMedium, generally medium flat cuboid,Medium, the general length is about 504020cmheavierClasp, rarely with lockhand-held
    Health case/Medical toolPU, nylon and other fabricsSmall rectangular box<30cmlighterzipperEasy to carry
    Luxury case/Hobby case/toy casePU, leather, nylon clothSmall square box<20cmlighterzipperEasy to carry
    Personal care/Beauty case/ cosmetics casePU, TPU, Nylon Cloth, Oxford ClothSmall rectangular box<20cmlighterzipperEasy to carry
    Electronic CasePUusually small flat cuboids<30cmlighterzipperEasy to carry
    Home storage caseNylon Cloth, Oxford Clothusually small flat cuboids<40cmlighterzipperhand-held
    *The appearance difference of common cases, and the comparison of main characteristics

    6.2 Classification of Lining

    If we classify the protective shells on the market according to the material and structure of the lining, most of the protective shells can be roughly divided into three categories: plastic molded lining, EVA die-cut lining, belt + mesh lining case.

    plastic molded lining case
    *Plastic molded lining
    *EVA die-cut lining
    *EVA die-cut lining
    *belt + mesh bag lining
    *belt + mesh bag lining

    The plastic molded lining is highly regarded for its excellent customizability and stability. This lining is mainly formed by mold-pressing plastic materials and can be precisely designed according to the shape and size of specific items. It is especially suitable for fixing precision instruments with irregular shapes that are easily damaged. For example, VR head-mounted displays, drones, and electronic beauty instruments usually have unique shapes and fragile structures, requiring specially customized protection. The plastic molded lining can provide tight and stable support, ensuring that these high-value devices are protected from damage during transportation or storage.

    The foam lining is known for its soft and elastic properties. It is particularly suitable for securing fragile and relatively heavy items such as glass essential oil bottles, high-end porcelain plates, porcelain bottles, and metal firearm accessories. The sponge material can effectively absorb shocks and vibrations, reducing possible collisions and friction during transportation. Meanwhile, its softness ensures that the items are not subjected to additional pressure or damage due to the hardness of the lining.

    The design of the strap + mesh pocket lining focuses more on organizing and categorizing items. This design is often used for storing items that need to be used together or belong to the same set. For example, power banks and charging plugs, makeup brushes and cosmetics, jewelry, and other small items are suitable for this design for organization and portability. The strap ensures the stability of the items in the case, preventing sliding or collision during movement, while the mesh pocket facilitates the categorization and quick retrieval of small items, greatly improving convenience.

    Different lining designs have their unique advantages and applicable scenarios, providing comprehensive solutions for the protection and storage of various items.

    7. Companies Purchase Suitable Cases to Protect Their Products

    In today's increasingly competitive market, companies that want to stand out among many competitors must make sufficient efforts in all aspects of their products. Among them, product packaging and protection are particularly critical, especially for precision instruments or fragile items, which inherently require additional protection from packaging. Finding suitable protective cases for products is no longer a difficult task for companies. There are two mainstream approaches:

    7.1 OEM: Direct Purchase or Light Customization of Protective Cases

    For companies that want to quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively obtain suitable packaging cases, directly selecting existing protective case models from the market is undoubtedly the best choice. This approach not only avoids lengthy production wait times but also rapidly meets the packaging needs of products.

    A convenient way is to directly contact trusted suppliers and request their product catalogs. Requesting product catalogs is actually an effective technique for assessing a supplier's strength and service level. Mature suppliers usually carefully organize their production cases and include market-responsive and top-selling product models in their catalogs to showcase to potential customers at the right time. In contrast, suppliers with limited production management experience or capabilities may simply upload some commonly available product models on their websites.

    In addition, companies can add their own branding to the selected protective case models through silk screening, sewing, or other suggested methods. When the purchase quantity reaches a certain scale, such as exceeding 300-500 or even 1000 pieces, the cost increase for such customization is quite limited, usually only adding $0.3-0.5 per piece.

    7.2 ODM: Tailored Unique Designs

    For some innovative products or companies that adopt protective case packaging for the first time, they may prefer customized and exclusive protective cases. The exterior design should create a unique look that distinguishes them from their peers, while the internal structure needs to closely fit their product characteristics to ensure the best protection effect.

    This customized demand poses new challenges for both customers and suppliers. Some companies may draw inspiration from the packaging design concepts of other competitors in the market and incorporate their own product packaging requirements. In this process, companies may need to provide product sketches, clearly inform suppliers of design concepts, product dimensions, and other detailed requirements. Of course, companies can also choose to directly send products to suppliers, who will be fully responsible for design and manufacturing work, while the companies are responsible for reviewing design drawings and samples. This way of working is called ODM protective case.

    Overall, whether choosing direct purchase or customized protective cases, companies need to make decisions based on their product characteristics and market demands. A suitable protective case can not only provide solid protection for products during transportation and storage but also enhance the overall texture of the product and increase consumer confidence and satisfaction with the product.

    8. Choosing the Right Supplier for Custom Case Manufacturing

    Selecting a suitable supplier for custom case manufacturing can be challenging, despite the abundance of case suppliers in the market. Finding the right fit requires effort and time.

    If you have a local connection to a case manufacturing plant or supplier, you can opt for in-person communication.

    For a wider selection of styles and high manufacturing standards, you can search for suppliers nationwide using Google if you're internet-savvy.

    If you're adventurous and have good online research skills, consider global sourcing. Compare suppliers from different countries to establish a genuine packaging advantage.

    8.1 Local Suppliers

    Due to physical proximity, local suppliers allow for on-site assessments. Many businesses with local resources prefer local manufacturers for direct communication and custom requirements. However, in some regions, limited local suppliers might offer restricted product styles. They may exclusively serve a few large local enterprises, leaving small and medium-sized businesses with limited support. These SMBs, needing small-scale customization, often face challenges from suppliers:

    • An arrogant attitude: Large case suppliers, with years of experience, often have a long-standing clientele, including government agencies, military organizations, and large chains. This might make them overlook new clients, especially if their order volume is small or profits are limited.
    • High prices: Many local businesses cater to budget-rich large enterprises, instinctively opting for pricey components, thus increasing the manufacturing cost of protective cases. While higher-priced components generally indicate better quality, this can lead to "quality overflow." Not all clients operate in harsh environments, nor do all budgets accommodate high standards in design, materials, and craftsmanship. Suppliers should assess user scenarios and habits to select cost-effective production options that meet client needs and conserve costs.
    • High minimum order quantities (MOQs) for customization: Customization is an additional service requiring collaboration between the supplier and the client. Sometimes, despite a brand's enthusiasm for customization, manufacturers set high MOQs, which can be daunting. Some businesses have MOQs as high as 500, 1000, or even 2000 pieces, even for simple customization like silk-screening or sewing on a logo. This poses a challenge for SMBs with limited budgets seeking to test the market at a low cost.

    8.2 Out-of-Town and Overseas Suppliers

    In today's interconnected global market, businesses often consider expanding their sourcing beyond local boundaries, even to global procurement, especially when facing unfair treatment from local suppliers. This shift provides a broader supplier base, helping businesses find better and more suitable products or services. However, does global sourcing really solve all problems?

    Firstly, global sourcing undoubtedly expands procurement channels. More suppliers mean more choices, enhancing a business's negotiating power and potentially securing more favorable terms. Whether it's price, quality, or service, the global selection brings unprecedented convenience.

    However, there's another side to the coin. Global sourcing brings its own set of challenges.

    1. Communication difficulties top the list. Dealing with distant suppliers often involves emails, phone calls, or video conferences. While efficient, this mode of communication can lead to misunderstandings or information omissions in certain cultural or linguistic contexts.
    2. Supplier credibility is another concern. An impressive website and promotional materials might conceal the supplier's true situation. Without on-site inspections, verifying a supplier's authenticity and reliability becomes challenging.
    3. Longer wait times are another consequence of global sourcing. From ordering to delivery, multiple steps like production, quality inspection, and transportation are involved. When products are shipped internationally, customs clearance adds to the overall wait time.
    4. Increased transportation costs, including domestic long-distance and international shipping, as well as additional expenses like import taxes for overseas orders, are also factors to consider.
    5. Finally, after-sales service is a crucial aspect. Negotiating returns or repairs with out-of-town or overseas suppliers can be significantly more complex than dealing with local suppliers.

    Even with these difficulties, numerous large brands, procurement agents, multinational importers, and wholesalers prefer to collaborate with suppliers from other regions or countries. Some local entrepreneurs also purchase products in bulk from China and sell them on their websites.

    The profit margins in these ventures can be quite significant. By closing information gaps and tackling the mentioned challenges, these businesses find commercial success.

    Take, small protective cases for instance, Comparing prices from local suppliers and overseas suppliers, you will be surprised by the huge price difference.

    DJ industry case

      *DJ industry case price compare, On the right are prices from overseas suppliers

      Beauty and cosmetics industry case

        *Comparison of quotations from suppliers in different regions in the beauty and cosmetics industry. The right side shows the prices of overseas suppliers.
        *The difference between the brand owner and the actual purchase price of its products

        It can be found that every industry has a very serious premium, and the higher the value of the goods, the higher the degree of specialization, and the more niche the industry, the more serious the premium is. Some even reach 1000% -2000%.

        In addition to the price advantage, many suppliers also have the advantage of customization and design. What's more exaggerated is that the minimum order quantity for many of these products starts at 1, while the minimum order quantity for adding logos is 50-100, and the minimum order quantity for independent design is 200-500. They support guaranteed transactions and credit card payments.

        No wonder those large brands, purchasing agents, multinational import companies or large wholesalers must overcome difficulties to purchase from China. The biggest advantage of choosing foreign suppliers is to reduce costs and obtain additional profits. For an enterprise, reducing costs is to increase profits, who can overcome the 1000% price gap?

        But for a novice in international trade, unknown procurement risks always make them uneasy, they have also been accepting all kinds of negative news from overseas suppliers, because those who have established a stable procurement channel, always do not want to have extra people involved, and do not want others to know how they contact with the Chinese and establish long-term cooperation.

        However, with the highly developed modern network, people skilled at using Google can always find those solutions in the corners of the network and summarize them into appropriate empirical results:

        • To solve communication problems, use English. English is a widely used language, and almost 95% of international trade is communicated through English. Both parties involved in international trade need to be able to express themselves in English via email. If participants' English proficiency is average, the ubiquitous translation software in the market will come in handy, as it can provide sufficient assistance. (Need more guidance? Here's a guide to communicating with Chinese suppliers in English.)
        User evaluation
        • To address trust issues, the best way is to cooperate through some trading platforms at the beginning of the cooperation,through the platform, suppliers can be quickly reviewed, and information such as the year of establishment, categories of products they are good at producing, brief introductions to cooperations with other suppliers, and evaluations from buyers around the world can be viewed. Additionally, credit card payments and guaranteed transactions can be realized, eliminating concerns about fraudulent suppliers. The exploration process should start with a small order of a few dozen or hundred dollars, beginning with products that suppliers are good at, small batches, and frequent purchases. After cooperating with suppliers multiple times and becoming familiar with them, larger orders, more product options, and more lenient payment terms can be attempted.
        Transaction protection
        • To solve transportation and customs clearance costs, most suppliers have established long-term cooperations with transportation agents and have many transportation options. Suppliers usually offer DDU or DDP options. DDU and DDP are international trade terms that mean door-to-door delivery. You can choose to pay the taxes yourself (DDU) or have the supplier handle the entire process, including taxes (DDP). It's as simple as shopping on Amazon: pay and wait for the delivery person to bring it to your door. This way, international procurement becomes simple enough. You only need to compare the total purchase price with local suppliers and make a wise choice.
        english inquiry
        *Oversea Suppliers can offer a wide range of shipping options
        • To address after-sales issues, it is almost impossible for major cargo damage to occur during transportation in the case of, well, cases, as they provide sufficient protection. The main risk to worry about is the supplier's intention to produce the wrong product during the production process, resulting in the inability to use the received goods. However, there's no need to worry. Brands and international importers have already summed up mature experiences. They avoid encountering such situations through two guarantees: 1. Requesting sample inspection at the beginning of the order before mass production and sending them to the buyer via express delivery; 2. Requiring suppliers to provide inspection photos and videos of the goods before shipment to verify again after the mass production is completed. If your order quantity is large and the order value is high, you can also choose to have the manufacturer provide a goods inspection report.

        With these four essential experiences, for cooperation partners far apart, it is necessary to communicate the production and transportation time required, and develop a production plan ahead of time. Then, one can quickly get started and embark on an international procurement journey.

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