Shipping cases are typically meant to be reused to increase efficiency. They may be constructed from wood, aluminum, steel or plastics such as high density polyethylene (HDPE), fiberglass reinforced polyester (FRP), carbon fiber, rotationally molded polyethylene or linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE). Shipping cases have traditionally been fairly simple in design although custom and specialty cases are also widely used.
Many are boxlike and have packing material inside such as packing peanuts, heavy foam, special racks, shelving or a lining made of paper, foam, rubber, wood shavings, plastic or other materials. Most industries use shipping cases because the majority of consumer, commercial and industrial products needs to be transported to a retail location or customer.
Shipping cases are commonly used for electronic instruments, computers, monitors, screens, individual parts and tools as well as many other products. This type of case is particularly useful in safeguarding fragile items, such as medical, electronic and computer equipment.
Shipping cases can range from large basic crates to very customized and specific to the product. For sensitive, delicate or expensive items, the packing material inside is often custom cut foam that is specially made to fit securely around the item. Other available features include heavy duty swivel casters, twist latches, spring loaded handles, rubber gaskets around the doors for water resistance, recessed latches to meet military standards, molded lugs for secure stacking, shock mounts, enhanced and fortified steel or aluminum framing, buckles, straps, molded tracks for easy stacking or many other options.
Because of the variation in materials, many different fabrication methods are used to create shipping cases. Wooden cases are formed using wooden slats that are fastened into the frame. This style of shipping case usually does not have a door that can be easily opened and closed; instead, a top or side panel is nailed shut after the product has been loaded.
Metal shipping cases are made from thick sheets of metal that have been fastened onto a metal frame. The corners are often reinforced with steel to counteract pressure applied during transportation. Plastic shipping cases are molded through a number of processes; FRP plastics have fibers that are first woven, knit, braided or stitched together before bonding to the surface of the matrix, a tough plastic.