Packaging & the Aerospace Product Development Process


aerospace product development process

Packaging design and manufacturing is often thought of as separate from the aerospace product development process. But in reality, the two should be thought of as one and the same. Ultra-sensitive aerospace products can only arrive safely and securely to their destination when their packaging is durable, fitted and compliant with industry standards.

Let’s take a closer look at how packaging and the aerospace product development process can (and should) work hand-in-hand.

The Impact of Durable Packaging

The delicate lens of a telescope. The electronic components of an aircraft auxiliary power unit. In the aerospace industry, the instrumentation/equipment that is shipped is often ultra-sensitive — from glass prone to breakage to electronics that extreme temperature fluctuations can damage.

The best means of prevention against these transit issues is packaging built to handle them. As a point of conversation in the aerospace product development process, you can be assured that your product packaging is designed and manufactured to provide durability in the form needed. 

For instance, if you have a lightweight but fragile instrument, you might opt for a polyurethane foam insert; whereas if you have a heavier, fragile piece of equipment (let’s say a 70-pound airplane brake), a better option would be polyethylene. If temperature is of concern, this is the time when you could define if phase-change materials should be integrated into the case walls.

Collectively, these decisions play an important role in the successful transport of your product.

The Impact of a Smaller Packaging Footprint

While humans appreciate extra space on a road trip or flight, the opposite is true for products. When there are bumps in the road or turbulence mid-flight, extra space in product packaging can cause products to jostle around, bumping into other products or the sides of the package. This can result in unforeseen damage to the products, especially sensitive ones in aerospace.

Extra space in a packaging design is often a result of companies opting for stock cases versus customized solutions. While large enough to accommodate the products from a size standpoint, the case interior often includes a standardized insert that does not fit uniquely shaped products. This gives items more room to move around freely when shipped from one location to the next.

Integrating packaging into your aerospace product development process ensures that you have the groundwork to fit your case precisely to your product's dimensions. This applies to both the exterior of the case, as well as the foam insert that cushions the product(s). While your products will stay protected in transit, they will be organized and easily accessible upon arrival.

The Impact of Compliant Packaging

In an industry driven by standards, it comes as no surprise that tight regulations surround the packaging of aerospace products. For instance, the ATA Spec 300 ensures that packaging is sound for the shipment of aerospace supplies — but under that umbrella are three categories: 

  • Category I: Reusable for a minimum of 100 round-trips
  • Category II: Reusable for a minimum of 10 round-trips
  • Category III: Usable for a minimum of 1 trip

Naturally, there are incentives for achieving a Category-1 level packaging design that can be reused time and time again. You’ll save the time and costs required to produce future cases, and create a more sustainable business that supports a positive brand image.

Cases By Source Can Help Meet Your Packaging Needs

You can think of Cases By Source as a turnkey partner for all your aerospace packaging needs. We have years of experience designing, engineering and manufacturing custom cases to keep a wide variety of aerospace equipment — a list that includes aircraft auxiliary power units, flight deck devices, drones, space exploration satellites and telescopes and more. Pairing our design expertise with diverse manufacturing techniques, we develop solutions that are durable, fitted and industry compliant.

To learn more about what we can do for your business, request a consultation today.


Leave a Comment