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.
Protection from shock and vibration as well as from elements such as moisture, salt spray, dust and water immersion are important functions for tool cases because they face rugged environmental conditions in various business, industrial, engineering and other applications. Tool cases are often fabricated from aluminum, high-density polyethylene (HDPE), fiberglass reinforced polyester (FRP), carbon fiber, rotationally molded polyethylene or linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE).
Some tools that must be especially protected from the elements or damage may be kept in specialized tool cases to meet particular needs. For instance, certain tool cases have zipper closures to provide increased protection from outside materials. Numerous compartments, shelves, and pockets can be included to house all different types of tools and equipment.
Tool cases may also include added features, such as wheels or pallets, to enhance portability. Weatherproofing features are also possible. Engineers, electricians, plumbers, telecom installers, the military, technicians, photographers, homeowners and many other individuals utilize tool cases on an everyday basis.
The fabrication methods used to manufacture tool cases have an impact on the performance of the material and therefore the case, especially in terms of strength, shock absorption and fracture resistance. Many general tool cases are paneled with fiberglass reinforced polyester or high-density polyethylene and reinforced with extruded aluminum or steel hardware.
FRP plastics have fibers that must be woven, knit, braided or stitched together before they are bonded to the matrix, a tough but still fairly weak plastic surface. Together the two materials form a very strong and stiff substance that is then molded through heat or compression into shape during composite molding.
Wet molding is similar except that the matrix is reinforced with fibers while also being molded into a form. The interior frames that securely hold the equipment and tools are typically constructed of extruded aluminum which is the result of a process in which bars or rods of aluminum are forced through a die to achieve the desired cross section.
They are then welded together and mounted inside the tool case to provide support and structure. For large or sensitive tools, shock mounts may be added to protect the frame by absorbing vibrations and transferring the energy away from the tools themselves.