Custom Instrument Cases: A Traveling Musician’s Best Friend

Whether you rock a Fender Stratocaster, a Stradivarius violin or perhaps a vintage clarinet, keeping it safe during your travels is crucial. Custom instrument cases can prevent damage and bring you some peace of mind.

In many cases, musicians will purchase a separate seat for their instrument, particularly if it is a rare, large or extremely expensive item. However, we’ve also read several horror stories of travelers that purchased tickets for their beloved instruments, yet the tickets were revoked because the flight was full or overbooked. Then your instrument ends up tossed around by baggage handlers, which is precisely what a musician does not want.

Additionally, if your instrument is damaged, it can be a huge hassle to receive compensation for these damages. In some cases, airline policy limits the amount of damage compensation they will provide, and it might be far less than the cost of repairs. If you have a vintage or antique instrument, there’s also always the chance that repairs won’t really undo the damage caused by transporting your instrument.

Your best defense is a good offense, and custom instrument cases from Bel-Air Cases can handle the rigors of transportation. Our heavy-duty shipping cases are built to meet or exceed ATA guidelines. These guidelines were created by the airline industry and specify how cases need to be constructed in order to handle the jostling typically inflicted upon them by the transportation industry.

The exterior of our custom instrument cases is built using highly durable the materials. Shells are built using tough polyethylene and the valances are crafted from sturdy aluminum. The case design as well as the materials we use ensure that case itself absorbs any impact and not your precious musical instrument.

Additionally, our custom instrument cases can include a custom foam interior that protects every centimeter of your instrument. We use the highest quality foam for these interiors and never simply stick a chunk of pick and pluck foam inside a case. Pick and pluck foam is a type of low-quality foam that breaks down quickly and doesn’t fully protect your instruments from damage. We never use this type of foam, and, when we design Bel-Air custom instrument cases, every bit of your case is custom inside and out.

Of course, we also can add a bit of flair to your case. We offer black and silver as our standard case colors, but you also can request us to build your case with one of our stock colors, which include white, yellow, orange, red, olive, green and blue. Additionally, we can add a molded-in logo to your custom instrument cases or add engraved plates or custom decals.

We also have many other custom options to consider such as handles, hinges, latches and locks. We can design a custom instrument case with wheels and a telescoping handle to make it easy for you to maneuver through airports, concert halls or wherever else you need to move your instrument.

Using our Bel-Air Custom instrument cases can be the best way to avoid enduring the heartbreak of a damaged instrument. Whether you book a seat for your instrument or check the instrument as luggage, you won’t spend your flight worrying about whether or not your guitar, cello, tuba, violin, clarinet, saxophone or perhaps your mandolin is safe. To start a custom case order, you can click on the Request A Custom Quote tab on our homepage or give us a call at (866) 235-2472.

Plastic Case Manufacturing: How It Works

For more than 50 years, the team at Bel-Air Cases has been providing our clients with custom plastic case manufacturing. In fact, we were the first company in the United States to design, produce and sell vacuum-formed equipment cases.

Our cases are formed using high-molecular weight polyethylene plastic, and we use this specific type of plastic because it’s lightweight, yet durable and strong and able to withstand the punishment the transportation industry may inflict upon it. How do we transform a sheet of plastic into a custom carrying case? It all begins with a conversation.

When clients contact us, we spend some time discussing the type of cases they need. They might need a light-duty carrying case for toting a sales kit or delicate items that won’t be transported as freight or they might need heavy duty cases that can handle trips around the globe with ease. Our first step is to learn everything we can about the items going into the case and how the customer needs to transport it.

Understanding how a case will be transported can be the most important aspect of our plastic case manufacturing. All of our shipping and expo cases are built to handle frequent handling and shipping, as well as our heavy-duty carrying cases. These cases meet exacting ATA standards and many military specifications. Our light-duty cases, however, are not meant to be transported as luggage or shipped. Our medium-duty carrying cases can be used occasionally as airline luggage, but typically, these cases also are better for use as carry-on luggage or perhaps toting items in the trunk or backseat of a car.

Once we’ve determined the type of case you need, it’s time for the next step in our custom plastic case manufacturing process. This includes the selection of case options as well as talking about a custom foam interior. We can create any type of custom foam interior you might need with custom cavities for each component you need to transport, as well as creating panel mounts, shock mounts, interior doors and much more.

We also discuss other custom options, such as case color. Black and silver are the standard colors we use, but we also offer optional stock colors and, with a minimum purchase, we can provide color matching or custom colors. We also can add a molded-in logo to the design or add engraved plates or custom decals.

Once we have a design plan in place, the real fun of plastic case manufacturing begins. We use sheets of thick gauge polyethylene, which are heated to the point where they become malleable. At this point, they are vacuum-forced around a mold or cast, which sucks out all of the air and transforms the plastic into one half of your custom case. The plastic cools and any excess plastic is trimmed away. This whole process actually is known as thermoforming, and it can be used to create thousands of plastic products, from our custom plastic cases to car parts, plastic cups, toys and much more.

Once both halves of your case have been created, we use durable aluminum valances to connect the two halves. Then we add whatever handles, hinges, latches and wheels you may have selected. At the same time, our team of foam experts will be crafting your custom case interior.

No matter what type of custom plastic case manufacturing you might need, the team at Bel-Air Cases is ready to help. Take a look at our different types of cases and then give us a call or fill out our custom quote form which can be found on our homepage. Simply click on Request A Custom Quote, and our friendly customer service representative will be in touch shortly to discuss your custom case needs.

Plastic Cases With Foam Inserts: 6 Fast Facts

At Bel-Air Cases, we’ve been creating plastic cases with foam inserts for more than 50 years for clients from just about every industry imaginable. Our clients tote medical equipment, musical instruments, camera equipment, computers, lighting equipment, sales kits, trade show materials and much more.

There’s nothing we love more than building custom plastic cases with foam inserts, except possibly for talking and writing about plastic cases with foam inserts. To that end, we’d like to share a few facts about our cases to help you understand a bit about our production process and to help you select the best possible case for your needs.

1. Plastic Is Awesome
Well, we certainly believe that to be true, but many people will ask us why we use plastic for our cases. There are many different types of plastic, and each type has unique properties. We’ve chosen high-density polyethylene for our cases because of its strength, durability and impact resistance. It’s also affordable, easy to mold, and lightweight. And, while your Bel-Air Case is meant to last for years, the plastic we use is even recyclable, so it’s a win for the environment, as well.

2. Aluminum: Another Amazing Case Component
We create the shells of our plastic cases with foam inserts out of polyethylene, but the valances are created out of sturdy aluminum. We chose this material for many of the same reasons we chose our plastic, it’s durable, lightweight and affordable, yet it can handle the rigors of transport again and again. Oh, it’s also recyclable as well, which is just another perk.

3. We Offer Tons Of Custom Features
Nothing about our plastic cases with foam is off-the-shelf, it’s all fully custom. You can add any type of handle, hinge, latch or lock you might want. We offer nine stock colors, but we can provide you with custom colors or color matching (minimum purchases apply). We also can personalize your case with molded-in logos and graphics, or add engraved plates or custom decals. Take a look at all of our case options, and if you don’t see exactly what you want, we can probably get it for you, it’s all about choice.

4. We Have A Case For Everyone
Some of our clients need lightweight carrying cases for sales kits or demo kits, while others need heavy-duty shipping cases that can handle 100 trips abroad with ease. Our light-duty and medium-duty carrying cases are perfect for everything from fragile equipment weighing under 40 pounds that won’t be transported as luggage, while our heavy-duty carrying cases are easy to maneuver yet can handle the rigors of transport.

If you have items that you ship frequently, check out our heavy-duty shipping cases, which have been designed to provide an ultimate level of protection. These rugged, lightweight cases can be created in any size you might need, and we add in molded protective corner bumpers and stacking lugs into each case, ensuring that the case absorb impacts, instead of the case hardware or your components.

5. Heading To A Trade Show, We’ve Got Cases For That
Trade show materials often come in sizes that aren’t compatible with most off-the-shelf cases. Our Expo Cases are the perfect solution, and can be used for wide, lightweight items such as graphics materials, framed pictures and tradeshow components. These cases include easy-roll wheels and heavy-duty spring loaded handles which makes it a snap to maneuver your case through a crowded airport or trade show floor.

6. And, Now, Let’s Talk About The Foam
When we talk about plastic cases with foam inserts, the foam inserts are a huge factor in the design. A foam insert provides an extra layer of protection for whatever you put inside your case, and we can create any type of insert that you might need. We use the highest quality foam and can create multiple cavities to fit each component exactly, as well as creating interior doors, windows, panel mounts and more. For the same price you would expect to pay for cases filled with low-quality foam slabs or diced foam, the team at Bel-Air Cases can create fully custom foam interiors.

Intrigued? Interested? Perhaps fascinated? To learn more about our custom plastic cases with foam inserts, head to our home page and you’ll find links to information about our shipping cases, carrying cases and expo cases, as well as our many custom case options. You also can click on the Request A Quote tab and we’ll get started planning out your custom case project.

Bel-Air Carrying Cases: Four Levels Of Protection

When it comes to carrying cases, our customers want something lightweight and easy to transport, but they also want an attractive case, and there’s no reason why your case can’t be both functional and fabulous. If you aren’t sure which type of carrying case to select, here’s some information about our four levels of protection.

Light-Duty Plastic Carrying Cases
These carrying cases are perfect for sales kits, medical kits and demo kits as well as delicate equipment that won’t be transported as luggage. A light-duty carrying case can hold items weighing between five and 20 pounds with ease. Our clients use these cases to hold everything from computer equipment to musical instruments to diagnostic and testing equipment.

Medium-Duty Plastic Carrying Cases
If you do have items that might need to be transported as luggage once in a while, you will want to upgrade to a medium-duty carrying case. If you have equipment or items that weigh more than 20 pounds and up to 40 pounds, but they won’t be transported frequently, a medium-duty case is the perfect level of case for your equipment.

Heavy-Duty Plastic Carrying Cases
If you have heavier items, such as those more than 30 or 40 pounds, or if you need to ship items frequently, but still want the convenience of a lightweight carrying case, our heavy-duty carrying cases are the perfect option. You can ship these cases either as luggage or cargo and they can withstand the rigors of transport, protecting your delicate equipment or whatever you pack inside of them. We create these cases using the same materials and components that we use for our heavy-duty shipping cases, but they are formed on our carrying case tooling, which makes them a bit easier to maneuver in tight quarters.

Custom Foam Inserts
Our fourth case “level” is not a type of case, but rather what goes inside the case. A custom foam insert is an essential component for any Bel-Air Case and we can create everything from a simple foam liner to a complex insert with custom cavities, plastic dividers, interior doors, windows, panel mounts, shock mounts and more.

We use the highest quality foam, and never simply stick in a chunk of diced foam, also known as pick and pluck foam. This type of foam typically is of poor quality and breaks down quickly. We also don’t believe that our clients should have to pick away at foam to make cavities for their equipment, when, for about the same price, we can create a completely custom interior design.

All of our cases include a shell built from durable polyethylene plastic and built with molded-in ribs which absorb impact. We also use steel hinges and a strong aluminum valance for each case. We also can include optional hardware, such as a telescoping handle and wheels, as well as many different types of latches and locks.

Your carrying case, no matter what “level” you select, also can include a molded-in logo or perhaps a custom decal. Standard case colors include silver and black, but we also have several optional stock colors, and, with a minimum order, we can provide you with color matching or a custom color.

No matter what type of carrying case you need, the team at Bel-Air cases can handle the job. We’ve been making quality custom carrying cases for more than 50 years, so just give us a call and we’ll get started on your project, and whether you need one case or 500 cases, you’ll enjoy the same level of quality workmanship and unsurpassed customer service.

Shipping Cases For Equipment: The Bel-Air Difference

When you’ve invested money into your equipment, you need shipping cases for equipment that truly can handle the rigors of transportation. At Bel-Air Cases, we build cases meant to last as long as your equipment lasts and beyond. There are many case manufacturers to consider, but there are several reasons why we believe you should join the Bel-Air family.

50 Years Of Experience
For more than 50 years, we’ve been creating custom shipping cases for equipment, so we know a thing or two about cases. In fact, we are the original innovator and producer of vacuum-formed plastic shipping cases and carrying cases. Vacuum-forming allows use to create cases in virtually any size or shape, which provides more options for our customers.

Unique Design
Each Bel-Air case is custom. We don’t have off-the-shelf cases in stock. When you order a case, we build it specifically with your equipment in mind. We use special tooling that add molded protective corner bumpers and stacking lugs in to each case. These features ensure that the toughest part of your shipping cases absorb impacts, and not your expensive equipment.

Durable Materials
The exterior of each case is formed using high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is one of the most durable materials on the planet. Not only is HDPE durable, it’s also highly impact-resistant, which makes it an excellent option for shipping cases for equipment.

Each case also features heavy-duty hardware as a standard feature. The most important component is our heavy-duty valance, which is crafted from aluminum. We chose this material for both its durability and impact resistance. The valance is the backbone of our shipping cases for equipment, and it’s built to handle frequent use as luggage or frequent shipping.

Custom Interiors
A custom exterior is crucial, but we also believe a custom interior is just as important. We never use diced foam, also known as pick and pluck foam. Instead we create custom foam interiors with specially designed cavities to fit around each centimeter of your equipment.

Pick and pluck foam typically is made from poor quality materials and then the customer has to pick away at the foam in order to create cavities. Not only will you end up paying for excess foam that just gets thrown away, you’ll find that this type of foam tends to break down quickly.

We Meet (or Exceed) ATA Standards
The Air Transport Association (now Airlines for America) is a group of major air carriers that set very specific and rigorous standards for shipping cases. Our cases are built with ATA standards in mind, so you can transport your shipping cases hundreds of times and rest assured that your equipment will be safe and secure.

What Can You Ship?
Through the years, customers have used our shipping cases to transport everything from delicate medical equipment to electronics. You can ship computers, lighting equipment, camera and film equipment, military equipment and virtually anything else you can imagine with ease. Our heavy-duty cases are perfect for heavier items (40 pounds or more), delicate items and valuable items, whether your will be shipping them frequently or not.

If you need shipping cases for equipment, contact us today. Just click on the Request A Quote tab on our homepage or contact our friendly packaging professionals at 866-235-2472.

Padded Equipment Cases: Custom Interiors Are Crucial

Padded equipment cases are a must-have item for any delicate or expensive equipment that needs frequent transport. At Bel-Air Cases, we’ve been designing custom plastic cases with foam for more than 50 years, and we’d like to take a moment to talk about the importance of custom foam interiors and a few facts about our services.

The exterior of our padded equipment cases is built to handle impact. We fully understand the realities of the transportation industry. Whether you are shipping your cases or putting them on an airplane, they will be jostled around, dropped and bumped into other freight. Our cases are designed to take the punishment of transportation again and again.

While, we use durable impact-resistant materials to create each custom case, we also highly recommend that you opt for a custom foam interior as this provides with the highest level of protection possible. The exterior design of your case combined with custom foam, ensures that your padded equipment cases can handle being dropped, banged or jostled without damaging what’s inside.

The team at Bel-Air can provide you with a simple foam liner or a highly customized foam interior with multiple cavities, interior walls, plastic dividers, panel mounts and more, protecting each piece of equipment perfectly. We can provide custom hand-cut or die-cut foam interiors, layers of foam slab or a foam liner to surround all of the inside walls of your padded equipment cases. What we will not do, however, is simply build your case and insert a large piece of diced foam inside the case.

Diced foam, also known as pick and pluck foam, is something many case manufacturers will pass off on their clients, particularly for stock cases, but sometimes even custom case manufacturers simply will provide you with a slab of diced foam rather than creating a custom foam interior. Often, this diced foam costs about as much as custom design, but the quality isn’t even close to what we would provide at Bel-Air Cases.

With pick and pluck foam, the customer has to pick away at the foam to create cavities for their equipment. Not only is this less than precise, this type of foam breaks down quickly and you’ll need to purchase new slabs to ensure that your equipment is protected. Additionally, you’ll end up throwing away a bunch of foam and you shouldn’t have to pay for foam that you won’t even use.

When it comes to luggage, cases and baggage, the airline industry transports hundreds of millions of items each year moving them along miles of conveyor belts, bumping across airports in trams and then loading them up into airplanes. While airlines are supposed to pay for damages to luggage and their contents, every airline has a policy that excludes many specific items and your equipment might be included.

You certainly can purchase travel insurance or shipping insurance to cover a loss, but our padded equipment cases are a kind of insurance all by themselves. Additionally, if your case is ever damaged, we can help! The transit industry is rough on packages, and while we can’t guarantee that your cases will never be damaged, we can assure that we will always repair the damages for as long as you own the case. So, if you purchased a case from us back in 1972 and it needs a little repair or two, feel free to give us a call.

If you need new padded equipment cases, you can give us a call or click on the Request A Quote tab on our homepage. We can provide you with a free quote, and whether you need just one case of 1,000 cases, we will provide you with unparalleled customer service.

Equipment Cases With Foam: 5 Crucial Facts About Foam

While the exterior of our custom cases provides a high level of impact resistance, we also design custom foam inserts for each case. Equipment cases with foam inserts provide a higher level of protection, ensuring that each of your components is as safe as possible. Here’s a quick look at foam in general, and some specifics about our foam inserts.

1. Foam Is A Thermoplastic
We create each of our cases using high-density polyethylene for the exterior, a highly durable, lightweight and impact-resistant thermoform plastic. When you order equipment cases with foam, this custom foam interior also is created from a thermoform plastic. Virtually all thermoform plastics, whether they are foam or rigid materials, are recyclable. So, while your custom Bel-Air Case is meant to last for many, many years, it’s nice to know that all of the components, inside and out, are recyclable.

2. Many Companies Provide Only Pick & Pluck Foam
There are quite a few companies out there advertising their equipment cases with foam, but many of these companies provide their clients with pick & pluck foam rather than a custom foam insert. This means that once you receive the case, you are responsible for plucking away bits of foam in order to create cavities to hold your equipment or components.

3. Pick & Pluck Foam Is Not Ideal
There are several reasons why we recommend avoiding pick & pluck foam interiors. For one thing, this isn’t a truly custom interior, and it’s highly possible that you will end up plucking away a bit too much foam and not really protecting your items adequately. This type of foam also tends to break down rather quickly, so it has a short lifespan. Additionally, you will be paying for a big chunk of foam, but you probably will use less than half of the foam you receive. Why pay for foam that you end up just tossing in the trash bin?

4. Custom Foam Is Your Best Bet
At Bel-Air Cases, we never use pick & pluck foam for our equipment cases with foam. You can either opt for a case with a foam insert or a case with a custom foam insert with cavities designed to fit every centimeter of your products or components exactly. We only use the highest quality foam materials to create our case inserts, and these materials, provide an extra layer of protection and impact resistance for whatever you need to place in your case.

5. Foam Insert Options
As stated above, some of our clients want a case with a basic foam insert, providing an extra layer of protection, but not customized for specific pieces of equipment or products. However, we can go well beyond a basic insert and can handle highly complex interiors with dividers and interior doors. To learn more, go to our Case Options page, which showcases a few pictures of our highly customized foam interiors. This page also highlights our many color options, as well as the wheels, handles, hinges, latches and feet we can affix to many of our cases.

For more than 50 years, it has been our goal to provide our customers with the highest quality custom cases at affordable prices. Whether you need equipment cases with foam inserts, heavy-duty shipping cases, expo cases or something else, we can create just what you need. Contact at us at any time via phone at (866) 235-2472 or you can click on the Contact Us page and fill out our quick contact form.

Pick and Pluck Case Foam Interior

We Advise Against Pick and Pluck Case Foam Interior

Many case manufacturers use what’s call Pick and Pluck foam in their interiors because it easily creates snug, special shapes and and can conform to many sizes for cases and packaging. At Bel-Air Cases we advocate strongly against using Pick and Pluck foam.

There are two reasons we don’t agree with using Pick and Pluck foam (sometimes called Diced foam too) in our case interiors.

The first reason is the quality of the foam itself. Pick and Pluck foam is die-cut foam that results in foam slabs with perforated cubes. The idea is that by being able to tear away (or pick and pluck) the foam cubes, you can easily create foam cavities for a case interior. It’s actually not a bad idea. However, from previous customer experience it usually results in a terrible overall interior solution. Mainly because a customer will pay for a case completely full of die-cut foam but will end up removing up to 90% of the foam interior. Adding to this problem the remaining foam interior has a bunch of tiny holes or slices left in it. Eventually, with use, it starts coming apart. From customer experience you’ll soon be replacing the case foam interior, if not the entire case itself. There is almost always a better solution than a diced foam interior for your packaging requirements. Bel-Air Cases works with our customers to find the best case interior solutions.

Last, but not least, the other main reason that we recommend against Pick-n-pluck foam is that as custom case manufacturers we associate this method as an easy and lazy foam case solution. Be cautious of any company that advises you to purchase a diced foam case, as manufacturing cases with diced foam requires very little effort, and that shows that they have very little concern for what you’re storing or transporting in your case. Besides that it’s just a bad and lazy design habit.

Benefits of Equipment Cases with Custom Foam Interiors

custom-foam-interior-bel-air-cases
Custom Foam Interior Cases at Bel-Air-Cases, Ontario CA.

Why choose a Bel-Air equipment case with a custom foam interior?

When you’re transporting expensive equipment, such as cameras and computers, you need the proper cushioning to protect their value and your investment. Because of this Bel-Air-Cases offers the option to construct custom foam sets for around the same price you’d expect to pay for cases filled with foam slabs or diced foam. We offer a variety of custom foam interior cases to choose from. We’ll even work with you to create a custom equipment case with foam that fits your specific needs. Our expert staff that will take the time necessary to understand specific requirements and design a custom foam interior unique to your needs.

We use foam-cutting machines to handle complex cushioning requirements. We can design and manufacture the interior of the case using a CAD layout, or if our customers already have a specific layout we can adhere to those guidelines. Our in-house tools and equipment make it extremely easy to turn a basic cushioned case into custom designed carrying or shipping case capable of protecting your valuable equipment.

Since Bel-Air-Cases manufacturers made-to-order cases for nearly every industry, we’re equipped with the latest technology to perform quality control and assurance, such as drop testing, to protect your valuables from unforeseen mishandlings and events. Our experts build and test a wide variety set-ups. You can be assured that our made-to-order equipment cases with foam interiors will provide the utmost in protection and durability for your equipment and valuables.

Looking for more information on our custom equipment cases with foam, or curious about our pricing? Feel free to give us a call at (866) 235-2472 for a personalized quote. You can also request a quote online: just fill out our Request a Quote form and one of our friendly customer service specialists will be in touch with you shortly.