Damage that is most common to a shipping carton and its contents are corner impacts, breaching of the exterior surfaces and internal G force or inertia damage from the contents moving inside the container. I have witnessed damaged shipping cartons that have fallen off loading platforms, trucks, conveyors, crushed from over stacking on pallets and radios punctured by fork lifts. I have seen vacuum tubes broken out of their sockets, shattered dial glass and power transformers pulled out of the chassis. A strong well designed carton is the first step in minimizing catastrophic damage.
COST AND GENERAL INFORMATION
I price my boxes on a time and material basis. I do not mark up the cost of my materials but do factor in waste for each box. My labor rate is $35 per hour.
Some boxes take just an hour to build like the Collins S Line, Kenwood TS-520/820 series, where a double safe box configuration for the Kenwood TS-950SDX, TL-922, Henry 2K, Icom IC-7800, or Yaesu FT-1000D takes 2 hours or more to assemble.
The typical solid state transceiver weighs 25 to 35 lbs. That amount of weight in free fall of just 4 feet can exceed the maximum rating of a double wall carton instantly upon impact. If the radio is not properly supported and the impact energy is not allowed to disperse correctly, damage is guarenteed!
By calculating dimensional weight, structural integrity of the chassis and cabinet, vulnearble areas and internal weight distribution a strong protective carton can be built.
I always recommend double boxing any transceiver or amplifier once it breaks the 25 lbs weight class. I have found that carriers prefer to push, kick, drop and tumble heavy cartons instead of handling them properly.
CONSTRUCTING YOUR BOX
The three levels of protection I use to protect your radio starts with a heavy duty, double wall corrugated carton with a ECT-48 rating, 275 lbs burst and 100 lbs gross content weight.
I use only quality corrugated cardboard panels, sheets and cartons that carry a true Burst (Mullen) Test rating and Edge Crush Test (ECT).
Next is proper shock absorbing material to transfer impact energy through the layers of foam. The foam must be able to compress enough to provide sufficient cushioning without bottoming out during an impact. A safe margin is a 25% compression rate. I construct a second box made of polyethylene foam inside the corrugated box. The function of this layer is to provide a physical barrier and distribute the impact weight across the corrugated walls by providing absorbing structural surface area.
I use a combination of polyurethane and polyethylene foam panels of different densities and firmness to hold your equipment firmly in place. The front and some rear panels have relief cut-outs to protect sensitive panel control knobs and rear panel fans, heat sinks and interconnecting plugs and jacks. These foam panels are removable for easy loading and unloading of your equipment. Included in each box is a plastic bag to place your radio inside. It will protect your equipment from moisture and act as a non-abrasive slip surface buffer between your radio panels and the foam. Your radio is under constant vibration when inside the carriers trucks.
The last step is applying proper "wall paper" to the outside of the carton. I apply enough labels so that your carton draws the attention of a handler. They may not read all of them but if they read only one they will know that your carton requires special handling. Also, in the event of a damage claim there will be no disputing that carton was not properly marked.
Our radio equipment is at the mercy of the carrier and your radio will be handled by a minimum of 30 people from beginning to end. You can only hope that it will be treated properly during its journey. Proper packaging is your best defense.
Always consider double boxing, it is a small additional cost for an enormous amount of protection.