Shipping Damage: Happened To You?

I noticed this yesterday when FedEx dropped off our robot in the rain with no announcement whatsoever(At least they put half of it under the awning.). Just as a note, we DO take some responsibility for it for not putting a FRAGILE sign on it. Anyways, here’s what I discovered upon removing the robot from the box.

  1. Our second layer, which housed the pneumatics and RC, broke from it’s supports and collapsed onto the drivetrain and electrical housing. The supports were completely destroyed(ripped off the bolts).
  2. The above mentioned caused the radio cable, which had accidently been left connected to the RC, to stretch beyond the limit, tearing the port off of the RC, with no real hope of repairing it.
  3. The compressor was found wedged next to the right drive motor in the drivetrain.
    [3-EDIT]. the chain that the comressor hit is now really loose (According to one of our mechanics).
  4. The cords for half the Spikes were torn off the lugs or disconnected.
  5. Several PWM cables were disconnected and bent.
  6. One of the speed controllers had a crushed fan.
  7. The battery box (made from aluminum parts bolted together tightly) was smashed.

I think that encompasses all of the internal damage. there was no structural or outer damage. Now, I could be looking at only part of what happened. It may have been that our supports had come loose, though I highly doubt that. Our top layer’s crossmembers may not have held…I dunno. Basically, it’ll take a couple weeks of overhauling to get it running again. Luckily, the Bayou Regional was the only event on our list, and it happened on the return trip. I was planning on using the robot for demonstrations, though…

[EDIT]: I mean this with not the least bit of complaint, just rather annoyed that it happened. Our own faults, more than likely.
Any other teams out there had shipping damage happen to them?

:confused:We had problems when I crate was returned also. The driver just forced our crate into the building and knocked one of the 4x4 legs off of it and just left the wood behind. As with the other team we were not notified by fedex that the delivery would occur when it did and wehre not available to collect the crate and ensure its safe arrival at our school.:confused:

Wow! :eek:

I have never seen anyone have damage like that. It looks like someone took a sledge hammer to it… I’m sorry to hear that. Luckilly that happened on its way home…

We did have damage to our crate in 2006 on it’s way to Atlanta. The forklift guy somehow put one of the forks into the side of our crate. They said that they would fix it while they had the crates “backstage” during the competition, but they didnt. They basicilly handed us a sheet of plywood on that Saturday so we had to fix it…

Luckilly we didn’t have any damage to our robot.

Oh the nightmares will never end:ahh: Reading your description brought back the horror of what we found inside our crate in Atlanta in 2006. We are nearly 100% certian that our tragedy is the reason that FIRST now has standard crate construction rules in the manuel. Our crate was destroyed by the damage and then the unknown party rebuilt our crate concelling the damage within. We got the robot back together in one day but that shot all of the time to work on autonomous code.

our robot got lost it was in north carolinia instead of south carolina we only shipped it from georgia to south carolina

Fortunately most shipping experiences are positive… but wow… when they go sideways, do they EVER go sideways.

Our experience with shipping was completely the opposite… in Portland a couple years ago we left a 2’x3’ piece of foamboard on top of our crate by accident. We discovered it when we met up with our robot in Toronto, basically unmoved from where we left it. So we left it on top to see if it would make it home… and there it was, across the continent and back, through the border and who knows how many warehouses, and this little piece of board never even moved.

This year, though, we had the ideal packing material… the trackball! Given the design of our robot we were able to load it up with the trackball and squeeze it in to the crate with the ball fully inflated. Since we only had to remove one bumper to fit into the crate, I’m willing to bet that we were the only team whose robot came out of the crate fully FRC legal, loaded and ready to score a hurdle. (Okay… we DID have to attach batteries first.)


In 2006, our rookie season, we got to competition to find a fork lift hole in the side of the crate. I don’t remember if it was VCU or the championships. Upon internal inspection, half of our victors were damaged and the frame was cracked.

It’s ok though, our robot didn’t perform as intended that year anyways and a few spare victors later we could at least drive around. Something tells me that Rookie All-Stars isn’t about robot performance at all because we definitely did not have the best rookie bot that year, heh.

From some one in the freight business when you receive your delivery no matter what it is you can always sign the bill of lading (delivery receipt) “received subject to further inspection’. I think when it is transported to different events the drayage company should be responsible for signing off on the delivery. When you sign off subject to further inspection you are saying the out side of crate, box or container looks fine but there may be concealed damage.

We received an “exception” notice yesterday from FedEx that noted damaage to our crate. Is there a method to determine the extent of damage or do we just have to wait until uncrating at Atlanta? It would be helpful to at least have a photograph.

Has anyone else had this experience?


Our crate is almost totaled. I would be surprised if it is more than a pallet when it gets back from Atlanta. (That said, that crate has been through a lot this season: already four trips, with two more scheduled.)

Team 612’s great local partners from Virginia 2068 had their crate dropped before they arrived to VCU this year. They had a solid robot ready to go for the competition, but ended up spending all of the weekend fixing various parts on their drive system that shattered. Also taking time to fix their once great mechanism that no one at the competition got to see. Sadly they couldn’t get their mechanism back to it’s full potential and had to scratch all of its components and run laps for Friday and Saturday.

They showed up to the competition to find out their robot was dropped…It’s sad this hasn’t been an isolated incident, the numerous times this has happened in our competition is unbelievable.

we found our crate in NYC today with a nice looking forklift hole in the side

no damage to the bot, so no foul

that happens to us EVERY year and we end up making a new side just because of it.

Well, our crate actually suffered minimal damage. Just a few of the screws on our back panel had come loose, and the plywood back there was cracked. We had the robot locked in chocks, chains, and bungee cords, but still we suffered the damage I listed. I’ll get some pics up of the internal mess, minus the compressor (which took almost 15 minutes to unwedge from the drivetrain.).

We lost our pallet that was attached to our crate this year. It looked as if it s completely sheered up from the bottom.

In I think 2000 or so a couple crates from local teams in the Bay Area actually literally fell off the back of the FedEx truck.

Every year I hear horror stories and see pictures of crates with forklift holes in the sides, or situations where a crate clearly ended up on it’s side, top, etc. Luckily it has never happened to us.

I mean, forklift holes in the side due to careless driving, thats one thing (but teams should also know to build the sides thicker at the bottom, since we know this happens alot). But cases where there is SEVERE robot damage, and/or SEVERE crate damage, consistent with dropping from more than about a foot, or falling off the back of a truck is just wrong. There was a story a while back about a team who received their robot shrinkwrapped to a pallet. the other 5 sides of their crate were gone, completely. Never mind that the robot was destroyed.

No damage was done to the robot, but when we got to BMR this year, our crate had been damaged to the point that we can barley open and close it. Something ran into it and torn the bolts that hold the sides together through the wood. This is a first as this crate is quite a few years old (1999 I think) and it has held up to this point.