Is Custom Crating Worth It for Heavy Machinery Moves?

Is custom crating helpful in heavy machinery moving? Absolutely. Is custom crating worth it for heavy machinery moves? In most cases, yes. But that depends on who is building the crates and what you’re crating.

Custom crating is a specialized service that involves building crates for a specific piece of equipment when it needs to be transported. It’s common for custom crates to be used when complex heavy machinery is moved. The builder will take many factors into account when designing the crate to ensure that the machinery inside arrives in perfect condition.

Why Custom Machinery Crating Matters for Industrial Equipment 

Moving industrial equipment requires a lot of forethought, planning and preparation. Part of that process is assessing the need for custom crating. When you do, there are a few things to keep in mind about industrial equipment that makes moving it a unique challenge, but one that can be overcome with custom crates.  

Industrial Machinery Can Be Highly Sensitive

Industrial equipment may look heavy-duty and work in harsh environments, but the machinery can actually be quite sensitive and fragile, especially when it isn’t in operation. There could be the issue of dust or other contaminants getting into the equipment. Or it may need to have heavy padding to protect the parts. Ultimately, the sensitivity makes custom crating a necessity.

Exact Calibration is Needed 

Often industrial equipment needs to be precisely calibrated to work properly at maximum efficiency. All it could take is one small bump to throw the calibration off to the point it won’t operate correctly after it’s moved.

Industrial Equipment is Expensive 

Custom crating is an investment as much as it is an expense because of the added protection it provides. Industrial equipment can cost tens of thousands of dollars or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, and repairs can be extremely expensive. In the end, having to repair or replace industrial equipment costs much more than using custom crates.

Industrial Machinery is Complex 

Industrial machinery isn’t a piece of furniture. It’s a complex piece of equipment that may need to be disassembled with each part packed separately. There could also be special needs like blocking out all UV exposure or weatherproofing to prevent exposure to moisture. The complexity often makes custom crating a necessary.

Industrial Equipment is Usually Heavy, Bulky and Oddly Shaped 

All you have to do is look at industrial equipment to know standard packing isn’t going to do the job. Industrial machinery tends to be very heavy, bulky and oddly shaped. You may find that the only way to package up the equipment is with custom crating that’s purpose-built to handle certain dimensions and loads.

Why is Custom Crating Important for Heavy Machinery Moving? 

Why is custom crating worth it for heavy machinery moves? Because heavy machinery moving is a complicated process that can be made easier, safer and more secure with custom crating.

Easier machine moving

Custom crating is going to make moving heavy machinery easier all around. It makes the equipment easier to handle, load and unload. The crates can even be designed to easily fit into the transport vehicle.

Security of heavy machinery equipment

Another reason you’ll want to use custom crating is the enhanced security. When equipment and components are sealed into the crates they are extremely secure. You can even request that additional measures be taken to make the crates as secure as possible.

Safety of heavy equipment and machine movers

Moving heavy equipment can be dangerous. One big reason why custom crating is important for heavy machinery moving is increased safety for both your equipment and the movers. Because equipment in a custom crate is much easier to move than machinery that isn’t contained, it makes the process safer.

Safety is always a top priority for Able Machinery Movers. When we build custom crating we always consider which materials, design and construction methods will be the safest option, not the easiest or cheapest. At the end of the day, an injury or damage to the equipment will cost much more than a custom crate.

Advantages of Custom Crating in Industrial Machinery Moves 

Improved security and safety are important benefits that come with using custom crate services, but there are other advantages that add value when you’re transporting heavy machinery. 


Custom crates are typically more durable than pre-made containers. The quality of the materials and construction tend to be better, and you’ll have more control over those decisions.


Because custom crates are more durable they offer superior protection for the equipment inside. Custom packaging can include added support and padding in just the right places to ensure nothing moves and everything is properly protected when transporting equipment.

Cost Effective

Custom crating may seem like an added expense, but it can actually be more cost effective compared to forgoing custom crates. The reduced risk of damage alone can make custom packaging worth it.

Specific to Your Equipment

Dimensions and weight are just a starting point when you’re moving heavy equipment. Custom crate builders will visually inspect the equipment so they know how the weight is dispersed, what type of materials are best to use and where there needs to be reinforcement or extra padding.

How Crating Services Fit Into the Heavy Equipment Moving Process 

Custom crating plays an important role in the supply chain of moving heavy equipment of any kind. Crate builders will need to work with other personnel to determine what type of custom crating will work best and coordinate moving the equipment so it’s as efficient as possible.  The crating can also impact what shipping services are used, so crating services need to be considered right from the start of the moving process.

Deciding on Crating Service Needs With Owners, Equipment Operators and Manufacturers 

Crating professionals can figure out a lot of their own, but it’s best practice to consult with the owner, equipment operators and/or manufacturers to determine the crating service needs. They can provide detailed information and specifics that may not be obvious with a visual inspection of the equipment alone. This is a first step for the crating team since it will dictate the construction of the custom crates. For example, the equipment operators may tell the crater builders the machinery needs to be disassembled and transported in several crates as opposed to a single crate.

Prepping Prior to Crating

Often heavy machinery needs to be prepped by the manufacturer or movers before it can be crated. Prepping the equipment can involve taking it apart, removing certain components, draining fluid or locking parts in place. This could affect how the custom crates are built as well as the timeline for crating the equipment.

Crating Design and Transport Decisions 

It’s a good idea to have the custom crate design figured out before transportation is arranged. The size, weight and shape of the crates can dictate what type of moving vehicle or mode of transport is used. Another consideration is whether storage for crated equipment will be needed before being transported to the new location. The craters should work with the shippers to ensure that all of the crates can be safely moved, loaded and unloaded to avoid problems during transport.

An advantage of working with a full-service machinery moving company like Able is that we offer end-to-end services. Our different service teams are accustomed to working with one another to seamlessly coordinate a move from start to finish. Custom crating services can easily be incorporated to make the whole moving process smoother and more efficient.

Custom Crating and Logistics: Evaluating the Cost-Effectiveness of Customized Crates

There are a lot of logistics involved when you’re moving heavy machinery. Those logistics heavily influence what moving services are needed and how much they are going to cost. In the long-run, many businesses find that custom crating is cost-effective because of the advantages that it provides.

Below are some questions to ask to help you evaluate the cost-effectiveness of using customized crates to move machinery.

Do crates need to be built on-site?

Custom crates can be built on-site or off-site. Generally, on-site crate building is going to cost more because everything has to be brought to your location. However, for some equipment on-site crating is absolutely necessary. If that’s the case, then logistically custom crating is going to be needed.

How far is the equipment being transported?

The farther the equipment has to go the greater the risk is for damage. It also means there’s a greater need for custom crates that can be built with the journey in mind to prevent possible issues during transport that could increase the cost of the move.

Are there special requirements for transporting the machinery?

Custom crating isn’t just about boxing up the equipment. There can be special requirements that also have to be factored into the design and build. The more requirements you have, the more expensive custom crating will be. Extras like moisture barriers, vaper corrosion inhibitors and reinforcement increase the cost of custom crating, but it also decreases the risk of damaging the equipment.

Building Custom Crates for Specialized Machinery 

The process of building custom crates that are tailored to the specifications of each piece of machinery takes time. Once the builders have a better understanding of the equipment they are working with, where it is located, where it is going and how it is getting there they can get to work building the custom crates. 


First a design will be created based on the weight, dimensions and special needs of the equipment. The design phase allows the builders to not only create a blueprint for construction but to also identify any potential issues and ways the crate construction can prevent them.

Material Selection

Once the design is done materials for the crate can be selected. The materials have a huge impact on the security of the machinery inside and how well it’s protected from the elements. Where the crate is going is also important. If crates are being shipped via boat, then controlling moisture is a must. And if the crate is being shipped overseas, ISPM-15 certified lumber is often required for crate construction because it has been treated to eliminate pests, fungi and mold.


With the design and materials decided construction can begin. As already noted, custom crate construction can happen onsite or off site. This is the biggest variable during the construction phase. Other considerations are weight distribution and ideal surface area at the base of the crate.


An important final step is properly marking the crate. The machinery movers might not be aware of what’s inside the crate if there are no markings. This can lead to improper handling that causes equipment to get damaged. Custom crates need to be marked with information about the type of machinery inside, how the crate should sit and special handling instructions.

Building custom crates isn’t a standard service that’s the same with every client. At Able Machinery Movers we work with clients in many different industries. We’re able to build custom crates based on the type of machinery that is being transported, which is an essential first step in the construction process. 

Recent Innovations in Packing Heavy Equipment 

Advanced technology is transforming many industries, including the heavy machinery moving industry. Recent innovations have made moving heavy equipment safer, more efficient and more cost-effective. A few innovations that are improving equipment transportation include:

  • Load sensing technology that prevents overloading and helps adapt moving equipment.
  • Safety features like emergency shut-off controls.
  • Real-time data logging that tracks temperature, load tension and more with better accuracy.
  • Improved materials that are more durable while being lighter weight.
  • Telematics technology that allows for improved remote monitoring.
  • Electric and hybrid trucks that are more eco-friendly and cost-effective.
  • High-tech tracking and security tools such as geofencing and RFID tags.
  • Self-leveling systems, remote-controlled hydraulic systems and other advanced lifting equipment.

This is just a short list of how heavy machinery moving services are being innovated to improve efficiency and safety. Autonomous vehicles and other innovations promise to make heavy machinery moving even more productive in the near future.

How to Select the Best Custom Crating Company for Industrial Equipment Moving 

Numerous equipment movers offer custom crating services, but handing over your expensive industrial equipment to just any mover isn’t the best solution. Before you select a crating company make sure they:

  • Have experience moving industrial equipment, ideally within your industry or a similar industry.
  • Incorporate the latest technology and innovations for improved safety and efficiency.
  • Have positive reviews and ratings from past clients and professional organizations like the Better Business Bureau.
  • Offer both onsite and offsite crate construction.
  • Owns or has access to specialized equipment for building and moving custom crates.
  • Are fully insured and licensed.
  • Have required certifications for crating your type of machinery.

Opting for a full-service equipment moving company is also highly recommended. While this isn’t a must, working with full-service machinery movers that offer custom crating is going to make the entire moving process much easier and improve cost effectiveness.

Able Machinery Movers’ custom crating services check all of the boxes. If you’d like to discuss the specifics of your heavy machinery that needs to be moved our team can provide more information on how to get it done. Contact one of our five locations by phone during business hours or contact us online any time.