What Is ATA?

What is ATA?

This is precisely why we call Star Cases the “Ultimate in PRODUCT Protection.”

Our cases are designed and built to protect their contents – your expensive and often irreplaceable equipment, products, works of art, fragile electronic devices, etc. However, your case is expected to get dirty, dented, scraped, scratched and gouged. Our primary concern is the well being of your equipment. After all, isn’t that why you purchased your Star Case(s) in the first place? Failure (damage) at a given point is highly desirable, especially if it occurs after forces exceed that which is expected or anticipated. Failure of the package around your equipment will typically dissipate and absorb the trauma to such an extent as to reduce or eliminate any damage to your payload. The alternative is to have a case that simply won’t “give” when forces become too extreme. The result is a container that doesn’t “give” under undo stress and thus a container that transmits the “normal & expected” forces to the contents therein (Not a good idea!).

Our cases are built in strict conformance to the ATA (Air Transport Association) specification 300, category 1 testing procedures that simulate 100 common carrier (air, land and sea) shipments. All “normal & expected” rough handling environments were taken into consideration when the ATA first evolved this specification and established its vibration test, drop test and moisture tests criteria guidelines.

Granted, a specificaton is only as good as the guideline testing from which it was established.

The ATA specification calls out “real world” scenarios such as:

  • Being dropped numerous times from heights up to 36” on all surfaces, corners and angles.
  • Vibration that would be experienced traveling cross country in the belly of an airplane or on the bed of a truck bouncing down the highway at 70 mph.
  • Or those situations where your cases are left sitting on the tarmac at the airport during a driving rain or snow storm.

The testing peformed does not cover damage that might be incurred following:

  • A drop from the third floor (or any other floor for that matter) of a building.
  • Handling by a forklift operator that’s pushing (not lifting, mind you) your fully loaded cases with the tip ends of his fork blades.
  • A vehicle mishap where your case & contents end up floating down stream in a flooded river bed.

Protection for Your Payload

Here’s what we do at Star Case, and have done successfully since our inception in the early 70’s. We design and build our cases as compactly as possible without sacrificing protection for your payload.

We design and build our cases to “give” at a certain level of stress such that the case will fail in a progressive fashion from the outside in such a way that your payload will remain safe and protected to the absolute last minute. After all, what good is a protective shipping case if IT survives the exaggerated mishandling (handling that exceeds what the ATA deems to be “normal & expected”) and the case contents don’t survive?

That reminds me of an advertising theme I saw once in an industry publication. Pictured in the ad was a large shipping case laying on it’s side at the foot of a theatrical stage. A gentleman was standing next to the case with his leg wrapped in a cast and bandages wrapped around his head.

I think he was supported on crutches as well. At any rate, there was a caption next to this fellas’s head that read something like this;. “While setting up for a stage production, I had to climb inside this case to retrieve some items that were out of reach. All of a sudden, the case that was teetering on the edge of the stage, fell, with me in it, to the concrete floor 5′ below. I’m so glad we decided to ship our valuable equipment in “XYZ cases” – just look how well it survived a 5′ drop from this stage?”

Needless to say, we focus on protecting the contents in the Star Case.

ATA compliant shipping cases

We take extreme pride in touting the fact that we offer thoroughly ATA compliant shipping cases. Every type and grade of ATA case we build has been tested (with payloads) by independent testing laboratories to all the testing procedures called out in the ATA specification 300, category 1. Performance of these tests does not come cheaply – believe me, they cost dearly. And, the majority of our competitors in the heavy duty shipping case industry simply claim that they are ATA compliant and have no substantiation to back it up (they haven’t spent the money in testing to prove their cases can survive the stringent ATA criteria, like we have, ask for proof of a Test Report. To compare please visit Star Case Testing Performed to review our results).

Just ask yourself, if it wasn’t a federal law that all manufacturers of electrical devices being sold on the U.S. open market be UL (Underwriters Laboratories) rated, don’t you think most (if not all of them) would forgo these very expensive product submissions and subsequent tests?

Unfortunately, the ATA specifications are merely guidelines established by the Air Transport Association to establish criteria for rating the airworthiness and level of shipping strength of various types of shipping containers. Testing to their parameters and suggestions is a requirement only to the commercial airline industry (spare parts, avionics, oxygen bottles, etc.) and not a requirement for the rest of us.

When selecting your next ATA compliant shipping cases be sure to think about what we’re saying here. In the following order of preference, when arriving at your trade show site, your product demonstration, sales meeting, field assignment or other destination:

  • Your case and all contents arrived safely and intact. This is the preferred, and most common, scenario.
  • Your case and contents arrived safely however the case was a bit worse for wear. This is the preferred, but after time, a common scenario.
  • Your case arrived damaged, however the contents were in perfect working order. In the real world, this scenario occasionally happens. Be satisfied you spent your hard earned money wisely in that your case performed to such an extent as to render your contents undamaged.
  • The case and contents were badly damaged. Sometimes, in transit, 3rd floor building drops, floats down raging rivers, or non-caring forklift operators take over and there’s nothing short of titanium and 6” of foam that will change the outcome.

NEVERTHELESS, STAR CASES are very, very cheap insurance, indeed!

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