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Speedbox

Rugged Modular Container System

Industrial Design, Product Brand Language, Mechanical Engineering

Originally developed to solve a unique military challenge, Speedbox needed a redesign for broader appeal.

The incredibly rugged rolling container got an update that took a great idea and made it even better: tougher, more stackable, more versatile — despite tricky manufacturing constraints.

Shipping out on a Special Forces deployment poses plenty of challenges, including one that’s surprisingly familiar: getting your stuff loaded onto the plane.

After years of manually stacking and restacking loose gear and flimsy storage bins from Home Depot, founder Matt Summers hit on the idea of a heavy-duty rolling container, designed to stack securely on a standard 463-L transport pallet, and Speedbox was born.

The first Speedbox product — the Voyager-70 — was leaps ahead of anything on the market, with a 300-pound capacity, watertight seal, and nesting features that whittled pallet-loading down to a 10-minute task. But it was too big for much besides military use, and missed certain features and aesthetics that soldiers and civilians sought out in a ruggedized container.

In approaching the design of the second-gen Speedbox, the Endurance-40, the Bresslergroup team focused in on a few key constraints, like a slimmer envelope for broader application; a longer handle to help haul heavy loads over rocky ground; and lock plates to meet military security regulations. It also couldn’t shift in flight, even when stacked four high. More than just a plastic bin, the Speedbox needed to be a waterproof safe — an all-terrain hand cart and a giant LEGO, all in one.

Rotational molding, or “rotomolding,” is by far the best manufacturing option for big polymer products, used for everything from playground slides to kayaks. But rotomolding has a key shortcoming: it’s hard to dial in tight tolerances. And the redesigned Speedbox units don’t just rest on top of each other, they lock together in every possible direction.

More than just a plastic bin, the Speedbox needed to be a waterproof safe — an all-terrain hand cart and a giant LEGO, all in one.

Asymmetric crenellations on the sides fit together jigsaw-like, while four foot-like pads rest in pockets on the container below. The handle even folds out to lock into the lid of the adjacent unit. By designing so many redundant constraints, the team achieved the necessary stability without resorting to expensive external mating features.

The latches and lock hasp were rethought, too, to give a more secure closure while avoiding protrusions that could catch on clothes or gear. The team added a load-distributing bracket to rigidly tie the handle to the container body, ensuring it stays under control even on rocky terrain. And while the Endurance-40 has the same 300-pound capacity as its predecessor, the box itself is eleven pounds lighter to keep it under FedEx’s excess freight cost.

The first thing reviewers note about the Endurance-40, though, is how it looks: rugged, serious … a box that means business. Whether you’re Special Forces or a hunter or fisherman with lots of gear to transport, you associate certain visual cues with durability and function.

The first thing reviewers note about the Endurance-40 is how it looks: rugged, serious … a box that means business.

Products like the Hummer SUV and the Yeti cooler have proven the appeal of bringing military design into the consumer mainstream, and the Speedbox had an opportunity to leverage that. Every aspect of the Endurance-40 is deeply functional, from the run-flat tires to the recessed grooves for receiving tie-down straps. But in the hands of Bresslergroup’s designers, those features were shaped to look just right, reinforcing a sense of reliability in the users.

The Speedbox Endurance-40 went to market in early 2018, and immediately began to earn robust sales and resounding praise from military and civilian users alike.

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