Thinking Outside the Box, or in this Case—Container

Thinking Outside the Box, or in this Case—Container

3 Minute Read

Many of Spacesaver’s unique and innovative storage solutions are the direct result of a problem or challenge presented by the customer—challenges such as more space, increased security or greater work efficiency. In the following story, three different military branches share a similar need—safety.

Parachute storage "before" in wire baskets.

Parachute storage “before” in wire baskets.

Imagine being responsible for up to 20,000 parachutes at any given moment—and, by extension, the lives of as many soldiers. As a Chief Rigger for an Army Quartermaster Company, the job of packing and repairing those chutes is a massive task. Riggers pack and store anywhere from 300-350 chutes a day, and how they are stored has a tremendous impact on the safety of the jumpers. One parachute that doesn’t deploy fully or correctly can result in a soldier’s life.

At the Army Quartermaster Company, chutes had been stored in heavy-gauge wire baskets. As the baskets would go through normal wear and tear, sharp edges and stray wire become a common occurrence. Additionally, the wire mesh on the undercarriage of the baskets couldn’t protect against wet days, when dirt, mud, and moisture would find a way to the chutes near the bottom. A makeshift piece of cardboard provided a less-than-ideal solution. In addition, the new T-11 parachutes the company had been supplied with were slightly larger than the T-10’s they were used to storing, creating another challenge in maximizing space.

Existing Basket Issue - 02A

Wire baskets prone to rusting, bending and breaking—compromising parachute safety.

Riggers at a State National Guard were experiencing a similar strain. The base was in the process of re-purposing a new storage facility, and their T-11 personnel chutes were currently being stored in cardboard boxes on a pallet rack. In order to transport the chutes, they needed to be able to be unpacked and repacked in a safe and secure container. Excess chutes were stored in metal lockers, which didn’t allow for chutes to breathe properly.

The challenge wasn’t just a stateside one. “The European Air Force Base was getting the new T-11 civilian parachutes to replace the T-10’s and didn’t have the means to store them,” says Jane Glass, Spacesaver’s Director of Vertical Strategic Markets. “They were using a system compromised of wire baskets with wheels the fit on a pallet rack. The wire on the baskets was bending and breaking, causing catch points where the chutes could potentially be damaged.”

After searching for a commercial container that would fit bill for the bases’ needs and coming up short, Glass turned to Spacesaver’s engineers to create a custom solution.

What could be created that could combine increased durability, ease of access, ventilation and transportation with the most important part of a bases operations—the utmost safety?

About Cover Photo: The Army 82nd Airborne Division, from Fort Bragg, N.C., performs a mass jump with 120 members during the 56th annual Department of Defense 2006 Joint Service Open House (JSOH) hosted at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., May 20, 2006. The 82nd Airborne Division’s real world mission is to within 18 hours of notification, strategically deploy, conduct forcible entry parachute assault and secure key objectives for follow-on military operations in support of U.S. national interests. Photo credit U.S. Army.

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