Spotted at Holz-Handwerk: Here's a great example of chasing down every single design option within an object that is the very symbol of limitation. Bavaria-based Sortimo's signature product is, in essence, a box for carrying things. How many different ways can one modify a box, in order to meet the highly specific needs of the most possible people?
Tons of ways, as it turns out. Take a look.
Sortimo started out in 1973, producing cases in the material of the day: Metal. Today they still feature a Metal Suitcase for the safe transport of heavy-duty goods:
It consists of high-strength steel and a durable powder coating. The metal case can be fitted in four different heights and with inset boxes, nozzle inserts and dividers. The one-handed operation as well as the 120 degree angle stop of the lid is a great relief in [the user's] daily work. Locking is automatic [with the] dropping of the lid.
Metal isn't for everyone, of course, and the trend these days is towards plastic for lightweighting purposes. (Think about your fuel costs if you've got a van loaded up with these things.) For those in this camp that still want something rugged, they produce this beefy plastic HD Suitcase:
The HD case is made of sturdy plastic, which is designed with reinforcements, protectors and a highly stable grip for tough working conditions. The shoulder strap not only allows a joint-gentle transport, but also keeps your hands free.
Both of the above cases are opaque, but there are plenty of times when you want to quickly locate and access a small part. For this there's the transparent T-Boxx:
The T-BOXX guarantees order and findability firstly through the transparent cover on the other by the inset boxes that are securely locked in any size and position at the bottom and lid. Thanks to the base body made of polypropylene, the T-BOXX can be [laid atop] sensitive surfaces such as parquet or marble without hesitation. In addition, it is extremely robust and resilient - it maintains the rigors of a construction site without any problems.
For those times when you want to bring your storage bin over to the work--imagine it being filled with fasteners when you've got a lot of pre-drilled holes waiting for you, for instance--there's the S-Boxx, which is meant to slide into one of the company's storage. And the S-Boxx, despite its clean appearance, is designed for messy situations.
The S-BOXX works as a small drawer, but can of course also be removed if necessary. The contents of the drawer boxes can be further divided by partitions. A viewing window on the front allows sighting of the contents. The S-BOXX is resistant to oil, petrol and many chemicals.
The M-Boxx is a bit more multifunctional. It can also be slid into a storage unit to be used as a removable drawer, but has a center-mounted handle for toting heavier wares. The lid can also be removed for easier access.
The M-BOXX is easy to carry thanks to the generous handle and can be retrofitted on any shelf in Sortimo in-vehicle equipment. By inserting of dividers [contents can be] divided separately. For sensitive cargoes, foam inserts or inserts for bottles and cans are available. The M-BOXX is resistant to oil, petrol and many chemicals.
The L-Boxx and L-Boxx Mini most closely compete with Tanos' Systainers. The sizing options and stackability are similar, as is the ease of which they boxes are connected and separated, though Sortimo's design offers two handles for flexibility in carrying.
The quality and lightweight transport box offers enough space and security for various tools, supplies or customer samples. Through various ways of dividing the L-BOXX [provides] order. Also beneficial: the quick click system, by which the boxes effortlessly connect and can be separated again with a single [manipulation]. The L-BOXX has two carrying handles: a built-in lid handle and a front handle. It is available in four heights.
The LS-Boxx goes a bit further than the L-Boxx, adding bays in which the end user can slide smaller, transparent-lidded I-Boxxes (see below) for small parts storage.
The LS-BOXX consists of a base container and three different slots for i-BOXX or drawers. Thus, both large equipment and small parts can be neatly stored and transported safely. Like all Sortimo developments is the LS-BOXX aimed at facilitating the processes in the mobile working day of craft and service and to optimize in terms of security, safety and economy. It is clickable with all boxes from the L-BOXX family.
The i-Boxx is the way to go when you need to store a bunch of small parts that you don't want getting jostled around and intermingled in transit.
The i-BOXX is the small, cheap and smart way for the sort and the safe transport of small parts such as fasteners. Screws, dowels, etc. can be ordered in small quantities in the ideal inset boxes. The i-BOXX has a transparent cover, so that their content is always visible. It can be integrated in the LS-BOXX or the i-BOXX Rack.
The I-Boxx also has an alternate home option: They can be dropped into these sliding rack drawers when you need to travel with a bunch of them.
The i-BOXX Rack can be used as a shelf in the workshop as well as a mobile storage system. The rack is an element that can be integrated into the i-BOXX and LS-drawers and kept stacked and transported. Tools and materials can be quickly exchanged, whereby the craftsmen saves a lot of time. Several i-BOXX racks, one above the other, can be connected to a mobile vault. The racks can be clicked together with classic L-BOXX and LS-BOXXes.
Of course, not every tool fits neatly in a case. And I suspect a lot of people would prefer a more open-ended storage system that allows one to quickly dump large, heavy tools into it without precise placement. For that there's the LT-Boxx, which offers maximum access and again offers the center-mounted handle for heavy loads:
The LT-BOXX is a compact universal tool case with very fast access. It facilitates transport of bulky tools from the vessel to the end use [and the open design provides] easy loading and unloading. The toolbox is upward and downward fully compatible with other boxes in the system - whether L-BOXX, the LS-BOXX or the i-BOXX Rack. The LT-BOXX is available in four different sizes that vary in height. In addition, a model with drawers is available. As with the LS-BOXX they are optionally equipped with i-BOXX or drawers.
(By the bye, in all of Sortimo's press materials they never mention the material by name, instead saying only "sturdy plastic." I inspected the boxes up close and they appear to be ABS, while the transparent components appear to be polycarbonate.)
In addition to the diversity of designs, Sortimo has paid a lot of attention to where all of these boxes go. Specifically, they reckon they're the experts in mobile tool transportation, and have thus devised a comprehensive system for storing all of their wares inside of a kitted-out vehicle. You can see it in our piece on German Tool Van Organization Systems.
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Huge fan of the Sortimo system! Thanks for this awesome article!