Only 299 More Steps To Go
Before we take an in-depth look at the manufacturing process, it is important to note that this process is quite involved. The Chenbro Xpider/Gaming Bomb case that was in production during most of our visit requires nearly 300 steps to build a complete case. This is not a typographical error; that number is 300 individual steps to build just one case.
Since nearly 300 steps are required to build just one case, due to space considerations it isn't possible to show each and every step. If we did show you every step, it would take most of an entire day just to read this article! Thus, we have tried to cover the major processes in detail, while at the same time pointing out the most important things. Did we have to leave anything out by doing this? Not really, since within this article we managed to include all of the major steps that go into building a case.
What is most important to explain is that many of these processes happen at the same time, and this is why Chenbro requires such a large campus to handle their production. When fully cranked up, Chenbro can produce over 5,000 cases per week. Again, you read correctly - 5,000 per week! This huge production number is the reason that Chenbro prefers to use the hard tooling process, rather than soft tooling. While they have the ability to use soft tooling, and they do manufacture some products using the soft tooling process, these products are low volume products that are more expensive, as they are unable to produce soft-tooled products at run rates that are comparable to hard tooling production rates.
You will notice in some of the pictures the employees are not wearing proper protective equipment. This is most evident in the paint booths and in spot/projection welding processes. This was the employees' choice, as they wanted to be "seen" in our pictures without their masks or goggles. Once my camera appeared, everyone wanted to be included in the photos for this article, and my presence generated a lot of attention and excitement. Chenbro does provide proper safety equipment for their employees and they are required to wear it - except when an American with a camera is snapping their photos. We were all over the factory with a camera for two days, so the "word" spread that it was a photo op. As you can see, the Chenbro employees loved having their picture taken.
So, let's begin our tour to see how a Chenbro case is manufactured. It is a very interesting process, and it may not be what you expect at all.