Where are Pelican boxes manufactured?
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  1. #1
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    Default Where are Pelican boxes manufactured?

    I've been buying small and very nicely made plastic boxes from Pelican for some time now. The ones I buy have tags attached with a "Made in USA" label, but the actual plastic moldings have nothing molded into them. Pelican is apparently based in CA, and I'm curious to know whether these are a product still really made in the US, of is it just the label?
    Someone must be making their tooling, so there is a good chance someone here will know.

    Thanks,

    - Mike -

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    Nice containers regardless. World class.

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    The boxes I have show a number of molded labels, one has "www.pelican.com", another is the triangular recycling label and the third is "automatic purge valve". The tag has a USA flag and "Made in USA", and if they are justly proud of their product, why not molded into the plastic? It is just the sort of thing I'd expect to be made in Asia because they require an amount of assembly, but the cartons they come in are made by Pak West in CA, so maybe they do originate from the US.
    Although I'm in Australia, I do like to think some industry remains in the USA - we have the same problem here of jobs, whole industries, being exported to Asia or China.

    - Mike -

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    Here, take a look:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgEefnTeOGU

    Look at the videos from Pelicanproducts

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    I've not said they aren't a great piece of design, because they are really good, and in the tests they show on YouTube they come out almost without a scratch and with the contents undamaged.
    Because they are so good is why I use them.
    Unfortunately they have changed the design of some of their boxes (1010 and 1020) so that the 1010 doesn't suit my purpose any longer. There is a problem that they specify the internal dimensions but don't say those are without the liner, and as far as I know they always do have the rubber liner. Last year they changed the shape of the rubber liner to give additional padding so that it is a nice fit on an iPod, but unfortunately the ideal box, the 1010 size, is now too tight in the box. For my purposes the rubber liner is part of their advantage.
    While I was following this up, I got to wondering whether they were really made in the USA.....

    - Mike -

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    They definitely have a plant in the US, but obviously that doesn't mean their smaller mass produced enclosures are made here. Even if they aren't doing ALL of their production here, at least they are doing some of it.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i06eZGOkKSs

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q94u7QiaLao

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    A recent article from June

    http://mpw.plasticstoday.com/imm/articles/tour0509

    "Pelican works with Chinese toolmakers to supply molds, but has several machining centers in the plant to perform mold maintenance, make tooling modifications, and create cavity inserts. A new Akira-Seiki Performa V5 working on a latch modification was purchased as part of the $6 million-$7 million capital budget that Pelican invested back into machinery last year."

    If they have that kind of money in their capital budget, how expensive is it to make your own molds compared to outsourcing to china?

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    Well, we occasionally read on PM of molds made in China because it is so cheap, having to be modified by PM members because they don't work for some reason. I wonder if any of those are molds from Pelican? It is surprising no-one from Pelican has put in a word, but maybe they don't have many machinists - now...........
    I guess my question about whether the boxes are made in the USA has been answered - the larger ones, definitely, the small ones, maybe, the molds - China.

    - Mike -

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    Quote Originally Posted by HelEx View Post
    Well, we occasionally read on PM of molds made in China because it is so cheap, having to be modified by PM members because they don't work for some reason. I wonder if any of those are molds from Pelican? It is surprising no-one from Pelican has put in a word, but maybe they don't have many machinists - now...........
    I guess my question about whether the boxes are made in the USA has been answered - the larger ones, definitely, the small ones, maybe, the molds - China.
    I have been on factory tour of the Palican facility in Torrance, CA. They were making and packaging their own product in the facility, even down to foil printing and clam shell packaging. The foams were brought from vendors. I did remember they mentioned the molds were made overseas. They use robotic arms to extract the finish product with human labor trimming and drill and assembling the latches. Just your typical American manufacturer. They started small, and grew big, then got bought out by private equity. . . . Let's cross our fingers and hope Wall St doesn't milk another American manufacturing brand to death.

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    So, the final note on this is, they are indeed still an american manufacturing
    company?

    Thanks - Jim (who thinks pellican makes the best cases around.)

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    ...but only if you are working as a plastic molding/ assembly process worker, or in design.

    If you are a mold maker/toolmaker, don't look there for a job, although it stands to reason someone, maybe a contract shop, does the mold maintenance.

    As an aside, don't always believe their dimensions listed in the catalog, if the box has a lining they quote the dimensions of the box without the rubber liner for those I know about - and you'd never use the box without the lining.

    - Mike -

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    Pelican makes some incredible stuff. I use them for housing all kinds of electronic instruments for marine environments, where they are hit with salt spray, splash, and occasionally dumped overboard. They have never failed to protect their contents.

    They even hold up to much more abusive forces--groups of kids! I periodically run classes for kids to learn model rocketry, and wanted a launch controller that would withstand abuse better than the cheap Estes units, and provide a real "NASA hardware" look and feel. So I put together a multi-pad launch controller in a Pelican 1500 case, using one of the panel frame kits shown in the OEM video above:
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails dscn2895.jpg   dscn2897.jpg   dscn2898.jpg  
    Last edited by N2IXK; 08-16-2009 at 04:34 PM.

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    Really sweet looking construction. I like the way, the various connectors cannot
    be incorrectly mated based on their pin numbers.

    Seems to be a small PID controller on the panel, what's that for?

    Jim

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    Not a PID controller, but a timer (Omron H5CX). Used for an automatic countdown (launch at zero), or as a stopwatch (start timing at launch, stopped manually) for timing flight duration.

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    Pelican is good, great company. Also check out Hardidge in Mass, they were making rotomolded cases, then got bought out by Zero and went into a line of injection molded cases to compete with Pelican. They look pretty good.

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    The video below has subtitles saying:

    "Made in USA"
    "Made in Europe"
    "Not made in China"
    "Sold in China"

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oju007_-r-M&NR=1


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