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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Which Type of Case is Right for Me?
  2. What is an Automatic Purge Valve, and Why Would I Need One?
  3. What Does ATA Approved Mean?

Which Type of Case is Right for Me?

Rotationally Molded - yields a very robust and highly durable case for all applications. This along with an injected molded case is the most durable shipping cases on the market and will provide you with the longest life. Rotationally molded cases are typically medium to very large in size and carry a medium to high price tag.

Injection molded - yields a very robust and highly durable case for all applications. This along with a rotationally molded case is the most durable shipping cases on the market and will provide you with the longest life. Injection molded cases are typically limited in their available sizes as compared to other types of cases due to their high tooling and equipment costs. Injection molded cases are small to large in size and carry a medium to high price tag.

Thermal Formed (Vacuum formed) - produces a strong yet lighter weight case as compared to the injection or rotationally molded styles. These cases are not as durable as the injection or rotationally molded cases but are still durable enough to be shipped anywhere. They come in a very wide range of sizes, colors and styles. They make for a very versatile case. Their price range varies as there are so many various styles, shapes and features available on these cases.

Blow molded - this is the most cost effective protective case style available. It is mainly utilized in light to medium duty applications. They are often used as storage cases and sample kits due to their cost effective nature. They are commonly small to medium in size and come in many different styles.

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What is an Automatic Purge Valve, and Why Would I Need One?

The automatic purge valve on a watertight shipping case is a valve that provides you the ability to release any built-up internal air pressure. A more accurate term would be a pressure equalization valve. These new Automatic purge valves use a one-way membrane that releases the built-up air pressure while keeping the water out. This is the key to being able to retain a water tight seal and maintaining an easy to open case. Without this valve you would have some real trouble opening your case the next time it had seen a drastic change in altitude. If the shipping case is airtight / watertight then it most likely comes with a purge valve.

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What Does ATA Approved Mean?

First of all, there is no such thing as “ATA approved”. There is no review panel, no sanctioning board or any other approval process that the ATA (Airline Transit Authority) provides. All ATA does is publish a manual that indicates the specifications that must be incorporated into a product for that product to be used by the ATA.

So what are the ATA Specifications?

Within the ATA 300 class for transport containers, there are two categories for reusable containers, and a third category for “disposable” containers. Following is each category’s specifications, and the durability definitions for each respective category. Categories I and II carry additional specification requirements that you should make sure your case meets if it is laying claim to being an ATA case. Those additional specifications include:

  Category I Category II Category III
Material Light weight metals and plastics. (including rubber) Leather, glass, wood, cardboard, fiberboard. (includes all material from category I) Not Specified
Usage Requirements Minimum 100 trips by air Minimum 10 trips by air Expendable

Temperature extremes: -40° F to 130° F

Fasteners and Hardware: Fasteners shall be flush or recessed. Straps and buckles are not acceptable. Hardware shall be flushed or recessed with replacements readily available for repair/replacement.

Handles/hand holds: Except for molded containers, where guarded handles are used, all handles handholds or grips, shall be recessed flush with the container. There are also requirements regarding the number of handles depending on the containers’ volume and weight. There are also technical specification requirements for Drop Test, Water Spray Resistance, Shock Absorption and Vibration Tests.

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