Is it really 6 times stronger than standard flight cases?
Flight cases are one of the most established forms of protective case available. And they haven’t really changed much since their initial use of transporting band equipment whilst on tour.
That is until EXOCase™ arrived, however.
Providing the same dimensional flexibility as flight cases, but with claimed water resistance and strength comparable to moulded plastic cases (which puts it in the same category as Hardigg rota mould), it promises to revolutionise this section of the protective case market.
But are these claims accurate? Can it really provide the best of both worlds?
This guide takes a look at the extensive testing undertaken on EXOCase™ to examine these claims. Is it really the toughest flight case available today?
Please continue reading below for detailed analysis or jump straight to your particular area of interest using the contents section.
Quick Reference / Contents
What is EXOCase™?
The toughest flight case currently available?
But before looking at the various tests and results that this new “toughest flight case” has been subjected to, it is important to answer the question – what is EXOCase™?
With the original concept developed in 2009, and inspired by natures battle tank, the stag beetle, the idea for EXOCase™ involves the use of an outer skeleton for the case. This exo-skeletal design allows for the highest degree of strength and durability at the point of impact – with the aim of making the cases much tougher than standard flight cases.
The case uses specially developed stainless-steel bracing, aluminium box section frame, moulded PU corner joints, and ABS outer extrusions. This is combined with a range of panel materials, including light-weight polypropylene honeycomb or phenol faced marine grade panels for heavier duty applications.
This, in turn, also allows EXOCase™ to claim that it is the worlds first truly waterproof flight case system.
Of course, with full customisation options including exterior print (not easily achieved on Hardigg rota mould cases for example) and custom foam inserts, EXOCase™ can be used for a wide range of applications and industries.
This includes offshore oil and gas, military, motorsport, engineering industries, and many more besides.
01: EXOCase Testing
Extensive testing to military standards
So, in order to back up claims that it is the toughest flight case currently available, EXOCase™ has been subjected to a number of tests, carried out in laboratory conditions.
This aims to prove that any EXOCase™ you source can withstand extremes of temperature, impact, and heavy loads, all without loss of performance – something that traditional flight cases simply cannot offer.
The tests were carries out to military standards by TÜV SÜD. With over 50 years’ experience, TÜV SÜD Product Service is a leading international expert in providing testing, certification, qualification, training and consultancy services to a range of industries covering the Aerospace, Defence, Medical & Health, Radio & Telecoms, Rail, Trade, Electronics & Consumer sectors.
This made their testing perfect for EXOCase™.
Find out more about TÜV SÜD by visiting their website at www.tuv-sud.co.uk, or continue reading below for further information about the specific tests conducted.
02: IP Rating of EXOCase
A genuinely waterproof flight case?
Arguably the most important test that EXOCase™ underwent was to ascertain its IP rating – effectively how well it prevents the ingress of water and dust.
In these tests, EXOCase™ achieved an IP*6 rating.
The IP Code (or Ingress Protection Rating consists of the letters IP followed by two digits or one digit and one letter and an optional letter. As defined in international standard IEC 60529, IP Code classifies and rates the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects (including body parts like hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water in mechanical casings.
03: Dry Heat Test
Resistance to High Temperatures
A common complaint regarding moulded plastic cases is that at high temperatures their material can begin to soften and / or degrade. As such, it was important to see how EXOCase™ performed in such conditions.
In this test, the EXOCase™ was first acclimatised to ambient laboratory conditions, for a period of over 16 hours. The temperature was then increased to +55 degrees Celsius, at no more than 1 degree per minute. The temperature was then maintained at 55◦C for 48 hours, before the temperature was allowed to drop back to ambient conditions at no more than 1◦C/minute and held for 1 hour.
Upon completion of the test, the EXOCase™ was inspected both internally and externally. The top lid of the protective case was removed and re-located without problem, and the operation of the latch mechanisms also raised no issues. There was no noticeable binding of the latches either, and no overall degradation or damage was observed on any part of the item tested.
These test results suggest that EXOCase™ would be perfect for use in hot climates and industries exposed to high temperatures (e.g. certain manufacturing processes), and would provide a much greater level of protection than a traditional flight case.
Dry Heat Test Certificate
If you would like to see a copy of the “Dry Heat” test certificate for EXOCase, you can download this here.
04: Low Temperature Test
Attractive appearance when compared with vast majority of alternative protective cases
Another problem with some plastic cases (although not aluminium containers, which can withstand extreme fluctuations in temperatures) is that they can become brittle or difficult to operate in extreme cold (catches can be difficult or impossible to use, for example).
As such, the next test saw EXOCase™ acclimatised to ambient laboratory conditions. The temperature was then dropped to -13◦C, at no more than 1 degree per minute. The temperature was then allowed to stabilise, before being maintained for 16 hours. The temperature was then increased to original ambient conditions, again at no more than 1◦C/minute, and maintained at this for 1 hour.
Following this, the tested EXOCase™ was found to display no damage or degradation to any of its parts, including latch mechanisms (there was also no binding of these moving parts observed). The lid was also removed and relocated with no problem, as had been done before the temperature change.
A visual inspection both inside and out highlighted no problems.
This test indicates EXOCases’ suitability for use in cold climates, or in areas where it would be subjected to a drop in temperature overnight. This makes it a great competitor for similar aluminium cases, whilst also being the perfect flight case alternative.
Low Temperature Test Certificate
You can download and view a copy of the test certificate relevant to the above by clicking here.
05: Static Load Test (1,000mm)
How strong is EXOCase™?
One of the main claims of EXOCase™ is that is up to 6 times stronger than traditional flight cases.
One test to show this involved the use of load spreader with weights on a concrete floor, and saw a (top) load of 63kg applied to the EXOCase™ for a period of 24 hours. After 5 minutes of the test the height of the 4 corner load spreader edges (to the ground) was taken, and then again at the completion of the test.
Both internally and externally, there was no visual indication of any damage or degradation to the case tested. There was 1mm of displacement on 3 of the 4 corners, but none measured on the fourth. This however did not affect the moving parts (i.e. the latches functioned as desired) and the lid was removed and re-attached with no problem.
This test indicates the inherent strength of the EXOCase™, provided by the high level of engineering and unique design.
It also indicates its suitability, particularly when compared to standard flight and protective cases, for use in protecting products and/or equipment of a high weight.
Static Load Test Certificate
Like to view a copy of the Static Load test certificate issued for EXOCase? Please click here to download a copy (PDF).
06: Drop Testing
Vertical Impact Test (1,000mm)
Another measure of a cases strength and durability is how it performs in drop testing.
The final test therefore was to ascertain the strength and impact resistance of the EXOCase™, this time using a Lansmont PDT-56E precision drop tester onto a steel plate floated over concrete.
The case was tested from 1,000mm and dropped 6 times. These were to face 3/bottom, face 4/left, face 2/right, face 5/front, face 6/back and face 1/top.
Despite these 6 drops, there was no visual sign of damage or degradation to any aspect of the EXOCase™. It was still possible to remove the top lid and re-attach it with no problems, and the latch mechanisms still worked perfectly.
The passing of this test indicates the robustness of the EXOCase™, proving that it is suitable for repeat uses and can withstand continual handling and transportation with ease.
Drop Test Certificate
You can download a copy of the Drop Test certificate here.
So is EXOCase™ really as good as claimed?
Put simply, with this degree of time and investment spent on testing, you can be confident that EXOCase™ will out-perform – by far – any standard flight case solution. It provides greater strength, durability and resistance to water than previously available options.
However, it must be noted that there are applications, industries and equipment that will benefit more from using a stock waterproof case, an aluminium container, or even the supposedly “bog standard” flight cases (particularly where enhanced protection is not required, and / or budget is a key driver).
If in doubt, one of the expert advisers at GWP Protective will be able to provide free, impartial advice on the best case solution for your specific requirements.
All things considered though, EXOCase™ certainly makes a strong case for being the toughest flight case currently available.