Designing a Specialized Custom Container for the U.S. Marine Corps: A Case Study


Universal Package, an industrial custom packaging leader, was approached by a purchasing service working for the U.S. Marine Corps in June 2013. They had a very specific need for a container designed to store highly classified equipment. This container had to meet stringent standards it needed to be:

  • Completely resistant to water
  • Resistant to ultraviolet rays
  • Hold a minimum weight of 3000 lbs
  • Have 4-way forklift accessibility.

The specified dimensions were 120″ in length, 48″ in width, and 25″ in height. Furthermore, due to certain undisclosed conditions, the container had to be made from plastic materials. However no such plastic product existed in the market that could meet these specifications. The longest factory-made plastic container was only 78″ long and could only hold a 1500 pound load.

Tackling the Unique Challenge: Overcoming Size and Weight Constraints

The challenges facing Universal Package were two-fold. The first issue was designing a plastic container with the unique dimensions required by the Marines. The second was ensuring that the plastic container could bear the required weight of 3000 lbs. The static weight was no problem. The dynamic weight was problematic because of the natural flex or bending of the plastic container due to its extreme length. The flexing would materialize upon the lifting of the container by forklift. Additionally, Universal Package needed to ensure that the container was resistant to water and ultraviolet rays. Without a solution to these challenges, Universal Package would not be able to fulfill the requirements of the U.S. Marines.

Thinking Beyond Factory Standards

custom container for marines with steel tubes

To tackle the size issue, Universal Package’s team proposed welding 2 extended length, 64” structural foam tubs together, after one end of each had been removed utilizing their custom hot plate welding equipment. This provided the exact dimensions required by the Marines.

The next challenge was to confirm a guaranteed weight capacity of 3000 pounds. The lengthy container posed issues of flexing when lifted by forklift.

For the weight-bearing issue, they opted for a system of two steel rectangular tubes, inserted into the fork strap holes. As the forklift tines were inserted into the tubes, the tubes then lifted the container. This gave the container the ability to hold more than the required weight and could be lifted with standard length forks – eliminating the need for special equipment.

Custom Container Results

Large custom container designed for the US Marine Corps, crafted from durable black plastic with metal latch closures. The container is rugged and spacious, suitable for securely transporting military equipment and supplies. The image depicts this container in a warehouse setting, with additional stacked containers visible in the background. The robust construction indicates it is built to withstand harsh conditions and heavy loads.

The custom-built container fulfilled all the requirements of the U.S. Marines. It was proof of the successful innovative thinking of the Universal Package team. The solution was so effective that it led to several repeat orders for these custom-made containers. Universal Package’s success story illustrates its dedication towards designing and delivering unique packaging solutions for its clients, irrespective of the complexity of the task. For more information about this innovative product, or other services provided by the company, potential clients are encouraged to reach out directly.