What are the uses of carrying cases?
Cases designed to carry special valuables have been part of society throughout history back to the time of the Egyptians and before. Carrying cases are commonly found in any house stored in a garage, tucked away in a basement, or setting on a shelf. They are a universal transporting item that are used for a variety of purposes. In this day of laptops and pad computers, carrying cases seem to be everywhere especially at educational institutions. It is an omnipresent item that is easy to find but difficult to define.
In the time of the Romans, the elite of that era took the carrying case concept to the next level by having special bearers to handle and protect their valuables. These extraordinary servants served two purposes – gentle concern for the cargo and protection of it from thieves. It is unclear whether these transporters were specially selected or simply chosen at random. It is likely that their job was an honorary position.
The special handling of carrying cases has passed down through the ages regardless of the depiction in Disney’s Toy Story 2. When special items are shipped, customers are afforded the ability to ensure the contents for loss or damage. Scientific devices, grandma’s special antique, and other family and business valuables are placed in cases designed to handle the items being shipped as well as protect them from harm. The world of the 21st Century may not have special servants to carry valuables, but, there are measures available that fulfill the same purpose.
When approaching the topic of carrying cases, everybody has a different definition according to their perspective. Gun enthusiasts use specially designed portable cases to safely protect and carry a gun, rifle, or revolver. These expressly created cases have to meet certain specifications in order to be classified for any type of weapon. An interesting carrying case, in this day and age, is one that is designed for a samurai sword whose blade has to be treated with the greatest amount of care.
Though the definition of a carrying case can be quite expansive, in most instances, it boils down to the word "care". When a case to hold possessions is chosen, it is selected with the utmost concern for its ability to withstand environmental conditions and provide protection for valuables. Whether the case is for clothing or instruments, it has to meet a set of guidelines established by the person who will use it. The variation in the meaning of carrying case comes with the users, who vary from construction workers and football linemen to significant leaders and businessmen. In each case, the requirements are specific to the use and needs of the user.
The variety of carrying cases
The variety and types of carrying cases is endless and changes every day. Innovations, inventions, and prototypes are constantly being developed requiring fabricated cases to transport them. To gain a full understanding of the world of carrying cases, it is helpful to look at some of the common types that are available on the market and online.
These cases are used to protect technical equipment that could be a calculator or sensitive chronometer. They can be made using two possible designs. One type of design has a clear sheet of plastic that makes the instrument visible to the user but keeps it protected. Another form has an easily removed zipper cover that holds the instrument but allows it to be used while still in the case. Specialty cases are available at an extra cost that can exactly fit a precision instrument.
Heavy duty cases
Heavy duty cases, not made from metal or plastic, are built with double stitching and foam or plastic padding. For extra protection, they can have metal corners to support their structure. They are designed to protect fragile and delicate equipment while retaining their shape in the harshest of conditions.
Divider cases can transport several different items in the same case. Each portion of the case is divided into a padded section that can snuggly fit fragile or delicate equipment. This type of case is especially useful when carrying technical equipment that requires assembly.
Soft sided briefcases
This type of carrying case has become very popular in this age of laptop computers. Carrying a computer in a metal or hard surface case can do as much damage as dropping it. Though designed to protect electronic equipment, soft sided briefcases have the same type of organizational conveniences as normal briefcases with the extra benefit of padded protection.
Custom Foam insert cases
Foam insert cases are similar to divider cases with the exception that the dividing material is more firm and solid but pliable enough to protect any type of instrumentation. The design of foam insert cases depends on the desires of the user. Customers provide either the dimensions of what they wish to ship or a description. The foam is cut to the exact specifications and measurements. This is type of case is helpful when the case may have to endure rough handling
Many years ago, engineers and scientists would protect their pockets with pieces of plastic called pocket protectors, which protected shirt pockets from pens or pencils. The modern version of pocket protectors are pouch cases designed for small instruments. They can fit into a larger computer pouch or a briefcase and provide an extra layer of protection.
The traditional view of the backpack may not completely fit into the carrying case classification but has become a carry all especially for students. Modern education is quite different from the days of showing up in class with the text and a pad of paper. Students today carry a complete stock of multiple items in a backpack where everything they need conveniently fits. The use of a backpack is used by repairmen carrying their tools and businessmen for their computer and notepad.
A separate article would have to be written to cover all of the various types of purses which range from large handbags to small clutch purses. It is safe to say that purses, in some rudimentary way, fit into the classification of carrying case, when using a broader definition.
Gun carrying cases
The type of gun carrying case depends on the size and type of weapon being transported. This type of case can be soft sided with a foam interior or have a hard plastic or metal exterior with a padded interior. Licensed gun users are aware of the rules regarding this type of case and strictly adhere to those regulations. Soft sided padded cases are popular for carrying rifles and shotguns while small hard sided cases seem to be the choice for people owning pistols or handguns. Neither of these is a general rule. What is evident with all people who enjoy guns, handguns, shotguns, and rifles is the time and effort they take to ensure safe storage and carrying of their weapon.
Custom and specialty carrying cases
Commercially available carrying cases can easily be found online or in a retail store. In technical and certain manufacturing industries, cases available online are not sufficient to fit unique and unusual applications. These special situations require the design and production of a case that will meet exacting standards. When ordering a specialty case, it is important to carefully choose the manufacturer, which will require research and data collection. There are certain factors that need to be considered when making the determination of who will produce a specialized case.
Aluminum cases are lightweight, durable, and ideal for the storage, protection, and transportation of sensitive items. Due to its lightweight and its high levels of durability and resistance, many business and industrial applications have made aluminum the material of choice for their carrying cases. Due to the wide range of applications for which aluminum cases can be used, the majority of carrying case manufacturers offer varieties of aluminum cases. Aluminum cases can vary in size, from as small as a briefcase to large cases ideal for shipping.
ATA cases are also referred to as road cases or flight cases. They are built to protect motion picture equipment, production equipment, musical instruments, and any other sensitive equipment which must be moved between locations. ATA road cases come in a variety of sizes ranging from a small custom designed case for an individual, to a large case that caters to an entire production company.
Catalog cases with a hard outer shell are typically manufactured using a plastic injection molding process. The heated plastic is injected into the mold that matches the dimensions of each panel of the case, and after the mold cools and cures the various parts are assembled. In the final stages of the production process, handles and clasps are added. These finishing parts can be made out of metal or the same kind of plastic used to construct the case.
Computer cases provide protection for computers and laptops during shipping, storage and transportation. While many computer cases manufacturers provide stock sizes for computer cases with standard dimensions, industrial designers and engineers also fulfill requests for custom carrying cases created for specific items such as monitors and laptops.
An equipment case is used in many industries to store and protect valuable instruments during transportation. When the specialized piece of equipment is not being used, it is kept in the case to prevent damage or exposure to harmful materials. Audio and video equipment for concerts and performances is usually locked inside an equipment case while it is being transported to a venue. This keeps it clean which prevents the unit from malfunctioning, and the lock on the case deters people from stealing the device.
Out of all types of cases, hard cases provide the most protection. Hard cases can be made from materials such as titanium, wood, plastic, and aluminum. These cases are used for a multitude of applications, from travel and shipping to protecting everyday items. Hard cases are designed to house items such as cosmetics, tools, glasses, medical equipment, electronics, and instruments. Hard cases are highly recommended for the storage of fragile, valuable, or breakable items in order to ensure they travel from place to place without getting damaged.
Molded plastic cases can be custom-made for specific kinds of tools and jobs. When on the job, you want to be able to reach into your case and grab things quickly. This can only happen if they are laid out in a way that makes intuitive sense to you. Such an orderly system leads to greater efficiency, and in any cases cuts down on the amount of time you must spend rummaging around inside.
A portfolio case is a large portable case that can be used to carry pieces of art, posters, and other large prints that would not fit in a standard file folder or briefcase. Keeping these items in a portfolio case keeps them from being damaged or wrinkled during transportation. Another type of case that is used to hold a notepad, pens and business cards is also sometimes referred to as a portfolio case. This is usually made out of leather and may have the owner’s name or business name engraved on the front. These types of portfolio cases are used by professionals like lawyers and businesspeople to take notes at meetings or store small amounts of files.
Presentation cases come in many sizes and most are made with a hard exterior to protect the valuable contents inside. Latches are fitted on to the case so that it can be tightly sealed. An extendable handle and wheels may be added to make it easier to move the case by rolling it along the ground. The interior of a presentation case usually has some kind of lining or cushion to pad objects placed inside and protect them from being scratched during movement. The foam inside a case can even be custom designed to match the exact dimensions of the product inside so that there is absolutely no room for movement.
Road cases are a type of carrying case used to protect sensitive equipment or instruments as you carry them in transit. They are an indispensible investment for anyone who values their equipment or instrument. Road cases are also commonly known as flight cases or ATA cases.
A rolling case is designed for storage and transportation of various kinds of equipment. Small wheels are attached to the bottom to roll heavy items, and there is usually an extendable handle at the top. Musicians use rolling cases when they travel to move instruments and equipment like amps. These items are bulky, but a rolling case makes them easy to stack and move through an airport without damaging what is inside. Rolling cases are also a common accessory at trade shows for all kinds of industries because they can be used to bring products and large displays into the trade show venue.
Sample cases come in a variety of sizes, but most are made with a hard exterior to protect the contents inside. Latches are fitted on to the case so that it can be tightly sealed. An extendable handle and wheels may be added to make it easier to move the case by rolling it along the ground. Sample cases can be found in practically any industry which requires the transportation of products for showcasing purposes. These industries include the agricultural, construction, fashion, military, sporting goods, and engineering industries.
Shipping cases are containers that are designed to hold and protect a wide range of items as they are being transported from one location to another. They have the important role of protecting their contents from shock, vibration, moisture, dust and other potentially damaging factors. Shipping cases are manufactured in many sizes, shapes and materials because of the high demand and necessity for such cases.
A storm case is a heavy duty equipment case that is designed to protect valuable devices from various kinds of damage. These rugged cases are utilized in applications ranging from recreational photography to military device transportation. They are so widely used due to their durability and ability to protect fragile or sensitive equipment in essentially any conditions. During transportation or when not in use, sensitive equipment can be easily stowed in a storm case to keep off contaminants and harmful materials as well as to protect the item from scratches and large impacts.
Tool cases are designed to hold, protect and organize various tools and equipment. They are available in standard, specialty and custom designs, sizes and colors in order to accommodate a wide range of tools and requirements. Many tool cases have hard outer shells that protect the tools inside from water, dirt, drops and other sources of damage. The interiors may be lined with soft foam or they could have hard plastic inserts that hold the tools in place.
Trade Show Cases
To transport their products and displays to a show, company representatives use trade show cases. These cases come in a wide variety of sizes, but they are great for transporting large objects because their rigid exterior protects the content from damage. The exterior is usually constructed using heavy duty plastic or aluminum that can have a label or business logo attached to it. Small wheels are fitted to the bottom of the case so that heavy items can be rolled along the ground, and there are usually handles somewhere on the case to make it easier to lift or pull. If the objects inside could easily be scratched or damaged, a foam lining is installed to keep them from moving around during transportation.
Transit cases are extremely durable cases that are used to transport sensitive electronic, scientific or military equipment across rough terrains or through difficult conditions. Transit cases come in a wide variety of standard and custom configurations and are recognized by their hard, waterproof outer shell and their shock-absorbing interiors. These heavy duty cases may have a handle or shoulder strap for carrying.
A wheeled case is the perfect solution for all kinds of business-related travel. Wheeled cases are made in small, personal sizes, and they can be used to store electronics, like laptops, and important documents and materials on the way to a meeting. The wheels on the bottom make it easy to pull the case through an airport or along a sidewalk. An extendable handle on the top makes it easy to grasp the case, and another handle attached to the main body of the case enables you to lift it up off the ground when necessary.
The few carrying cases listed here cover only a small number of the types being sold. Variations in these specially designed cases covers a wide spectrum of designs, sizes, specialties, and requirements. For the casual retail customer, it is a simple matter of going to a store or online and choosing a case that fits their situation. For engineers, scientists, and technical people, the choice of a carrying case is more complicated and involves the consideration of multiple factors. Sophisticated carrying case users may have to have a custom designed case for each of their varying needs. It is highly unlikely that the term one size fits all applies in this instance.
How carrying cases are made
Depending on how specialized a carrying case is determines the specifications for its manufacturing. The Air Transport Association (ATA) was founded in the 1930’s by a group of airlines to set standards for United States carriers and support the air traffic industry. It established criteria for the manufacture and construction of acceptable cases, which includes the type of material, thicknesses, repairability, and latches. Included in the requirements is a set of tests that a case has to pass to meet ATA specifications. Though the ATA has established the conditions for permissible cases, most manufacturers produce their cases far above the basic requirements.
Carrying cases are made from a variety of materials that include aluminum, plastic, or certain light weight metals. Recently, soft flexible cases have become popular and are made from several different types of fabric, which include heavy duty fabrics such as nylon and neoprene rubber. Plastic cases are blown or rotary molded and may contain a cloth or foam padding as a liner.
Neoprene, or polychloroprene rubber, is waterproof and exceptionally sturdy. One of its outstanding characteristics is its non-conductivity making it perfect for the transport of electronics. Also, it is impermeable serving as excellent protection from wear and the weather. Carrying cases made from neoprene have a soft pliable exterior that is capable of taking abuse yet retaining its shape and protecting its contents.
Nylon carrying cases are made from industrial strength nylon designed to endure the type of handling associated with air travel. Most nylon cases are created to carry audio and visual equipment and have a padded interior to protect speakers, mixers, and other such equipment. Producers have a wide selection of sizes available and guarantee the case’s durability. Nylon comes in a wide assortment of colors and is perfect for the exterior of a case or as an interior padding. A couple appealing features of nylon is its tear resistance and ability to retain its shape after years of use.
Leather carrying cases are old and traditional. The value of a leather case is very dependent on the grade of leather being used to produce it. The best type of leather is full grained that has not been manipulated to remove imperfections or marks. It has its complete original thickness and retains its grain, which makes it very aesthetically appealing. The retention of the original grain enhances the strength and durability of leather. Cases made from leather last a long time and retain their shape but are expensive. There are leather cases made from lower grades of leather that are more economical but do not have full grained leather endurance, appearance, or quality.
This part of the selection process begins with the size and shape of the item to be carried. Every item for a specialty case has to receive special care. In essence, the interior of the case may be the first consideration. In most instances, the exterior is presumed to be a solid material since fabrics may not be sturdy or protective enough. An additional consideration, especially for electronics, is whether the case has any conductivity. Foam or rubber lining can serve as an added protection. Using a nonconductive material for the exterior would add additional protection.
Foam, rubber, or soft fabric are excellent materials for the interior of a case. For highly technical devices, rubber or foam shaped to the dimensions of the equipment offers extra protection and prevents movement during transport. Case manufacturers have several viable solutions to interior case construction and provide design kits to guide customers.
The designing of a case can go in several directions. In many situations, the customer may have an idea of how they want the case to look. Producers are more than anxious to take an ideation and make it a reality. It is the type of challenge that keeps them in business and stimulates their creativity. On the other hand, a customer can request a manufacturer to make them a case. The responsibility for the design falls to the manufacturer who produces a prototype for the customer to examine and adjust. This type of process may be time consuming requiring several discussions and changes.
There are certain aspects of case design that tend to be overlooked since they are minor and seem to be inconsequential. Some of these details may be the handle, types of hinges, locking mechanism, endurance of the fabricating materials, or other minor details that may seem unimportant. Case design is like any other business project where the success of it is envisioning the total picture.
The final word
Carrying cases tend to be things we overlook, because they are so prevalent, common, and easily available. For the normal retail consumer, purchasing a carrying case may not require much planning or thought. When cases become specialized to carry musical instruments, technical equipment, or precious items, thought and planning has to be put into the purchase. A well designed and solidly produced carrying case can save on the loss of irreplaceable items.