Impact Case & Container makes lightweight, resilient cases for transporting aerospace parts.
By Jennifer Ferrero
Transporting technical aerospace parts requires tender care. The parts can be valued from thousands to millions of dollars and are transported throughout the U.S. and worldwide. For military applications, transport cases are shipped to the desert with high heat and sand exposure. With mission-critical cargo enclosed, ensuring delivery safety is more important than ever.
Impact Case & Container (ICC) of Hayden, Idaho, is ready to make a case for sturdy and reliable aluminum cases. They provide custom cases to aerospace OEMs, space companies, aerospace suppliers, and the U.S. military. In business since 2003, the business is owned and operated by Kevin and Regina Bailey, who purchased it in 2018.
The Bailey’s have been involved with the business since early on. Kevin Bailey had a financial background and worked as a financial planner for 10 years before entering the manufacturing industry. He and Regina have worked together for many years at Impact Case and at a sister business called Heater Craft. As a married couple, working together can bring challenges, but Kevin said, “We’ve worked together since the beginning. It’s what we know.”
Jeff Walter, the owner of SCS Cases in Chicago, is both a partner and customer of Impact Case & Container. He said they’ve been working with the company for 12 years. “Impact is the only supplier we use for fabricated aluminum cases and containers.”
He said the engineered cases are “second to none.” Walter enjoys collaborating with ICC to solve their customers’ problems for engineering cases. One customer out of Chicago provides portable runway lighting systems for the U.S. Military. They required specific, lightweight cases that could be shipped worldwide and re-used. Each order requires about six cases, about 6’x5’x5′ in size. The importance of this mission is that they can set up the runway lighting for taxiways and runways, which helps military pilots to land planes effectively.
A sister company of SCS Cases that operates in the Seattle area is Engineered Packaging Solutions. They also partner with ICC for projects on the West Coast, according to Walter.
ICC’s Business Development Manager, Steve Ferris, has been with the company since January 2022. However, he said he worked for many years with their sister company, Heater Craft, and conversely, with the Baileys.
Ferris likes their work because “We are a solutions provider.” He noted that customers call them to share what they must ship, and ICC comes up with a solution to “protect whatever will be on the inside of the case.”
He added, “I feel it gratifying to provide a solution. They know what they need, but not specifics. Our team provides a solution for containers.”
He cited one project: “We built a large aluminum container that housed a heat shield for a space company. They previously used a wood container, but it would only last several shipping cycles and would be prone to damage. We built an aluminum one that could last hundreds of shipping cycles and protected the product inside.”
While the company must be discreet about specific customer names, they mention Boeing, Northrup Grumman, and the Texas National Guard on their website, www.icc-case.com. As a solution for a Boeing project, they built a case with the following attributes:
“Impact Case & Container recently completed a custom aluminum case for our customer Boeing to safely and effectively transport their satellite equipment. This custom container was equipped with the following features:
- Bold hold pattern for easy and secure mounting
- Shock-resistant materials for safe transportation
- Grounding lug
- Charging port
- Humidity indicator
The end result was an aluminum case that would safely and effectively transport the contents inside while providing Boeing with a reusable aluminum shipping container.”
For the Texas Air National Guard, the case was made to “…store the parachutes and equipment needed for deployments. This case was also made available in the color red.”
Collaboration and meeting tight timeframes for delivery
Ferris said that one reason they are successful is because of the company’s collaborative nature. “Sometimes you go to a company, and people don’t work well together; everyone has their agenda and egos. We work collaboratively and well together; there is a history between many of us. The team collaboration is incredible.”
Kevin Bailey shared that one of the reasons that they cooperate effectively with customers is that “We are responsive; we take pride in listening and truly understanding their unique application.”
Bailey said that as a team, they can assimilate what is needed by what the container needs to accomplish. He said that customers are “pleased in general with how quickly (customization) can be done, and the final product received.”
Walter echoed that sentiment by saying they do get rush jobs with tight timeframes. He said, “Sometimes we have to work quickly to meet a product or shipping need.” He offered that in most cases, SCS and ICC would like to be involved earlier in the project to help design a solution to meet a product rollout or shipping need. He added, “We know the nuances and the possible fragility of a product, so that we can protect it properly from damage or mishandling.”
From laundry hampers to gun cases
The company started making gun cases for Cabela’s in the early years. That is a small part of the business, because Bailey said, “We focus on the custom side of things.” However, they can do aluminum gun cases and new foam inserts for existing cases.
One of those exciting custom projects was for the Seattle Seahawks. “We did a new run of laundry hampers – they are high end,” Bailey said. He explained that after the games, the players needed locking hampers to store their jerseys and gear. “They needed rugged, lockable (hampers) that secures the jersey, has the team logo and handles shipment, no problem,” he added. He said that because aluminum is lightweight and can be shipped repeatedly, it is a much better solution than plastic or wood containers.
Aluminum, lightweight and resilient
Bailey said that the aluminum cases could handle hundreds of shipping cycles, whereas wood can take 10-25 cycles, and cardboard can handle one to two processes. He shared, “Ours may be more expensive, but they last for years and years. It is an excellent ROI in the long term.”
He added that the foam inserts could be removed and modified as well. They charge the customer a nominal fee for repurposing or redesigning the foam, while the existing cases can continue to serve. Therefore, an aircraft manufacturer, for example, creates new parts to be shipped to a supplier for an assembly process; they can customize the foam insert repeatedly. The case can continue to be sent back to the aircraft manufacturer to house other parts in their process.
The aluminum is secured from local vendors like Coast Aluminum and Pacific Metals. “We buy it from folks with the coils and cut it to size,” said Bailey. But he said there are large mills throughout the country that make aluminum.
|— Benefits of building cases with aluminum o Unaffected by extreme heat or cold conditions from -238 F to +302 Fo Fully adaptable to any sizeo Aluminum is lighter than wood or plastic size to sizeo Aluminum is recyclableo Aluminum is corrosion resistant, good for sand, heat, watero Aluminum is impervious to the degrading effects of UV rayso Aluminum containers, unlike wood, are good for hundreds of shipping cycles|
In summary, Impact Case & Container of Hayden, Idaho provides customers worldwide industrial and custom case solutions. They have a resilient, reusable product that can be customized to fit the need of any manufacturer or aerospace supplier. They have 20 employees now but are growing and need welders and skilled assembly. Kevin and Regina Bailey and the team say that their family-like, collaborative culture is the key to success in the custom case industry.