Manufacturing parts can be a difficult, time-consuming process. It can be even more difficult and resource-intensive when you don’t have the right tools for the job.
Here, a lot of people tend to think of having the right metal-shaping equipment, welding tools, or parts finishing machines. However, there’s one more thing that can be highly useful in speeding along a production process efficiently while minimizing waste: a parts or materials handling container to hold items through your production processes.
Many pieces of high-end manufacturing equipment (such as ultrasonic parts washing machines) might come with stock baskets to use with them. However, there are reasons that you might want to use a custom parts cleaning container instead.
Some examples of why you might want to use a custom-designed parts cleaning basket or tray include:
1: To Prevent Scratching of Parts
In many cases, the surface condition of a part is critical to its ability to function.
For example, scratches on parts for heat shielding on a space shuttle can create stress points, leading to an increased chance of the heat shielding failing during orbital re-entry. Or, divots in a ball bearing can cause it to catch on other surfaces rather than rolling smoothly.
Parts can become scratched in a stock container if it lacks sufficient measures to prevent parts from impacting one another during your finishing process, or if the basket has a significantly higher hardness than the parts it is holding.
Custom parts cleaning baskets and trays counter this in a variety of ways depending on your specific process.
For example, a soft coating of PVC or another shock-absorbing material can be used to prevent parts from getting damaged by contact with the container, or dividers can be installed in a basket to keep them from colliding during your finishing process.
The solution that is applied will change depending on what would work best with the part and the process you would be using the container with.
2: To Enable “Cradle to Grave” Processing
When you’re trying to minimize your time and labor spent on each part you make so that you can complete orders faster, having to move parts from one container to the next can be a surprisingly large time sink.
Think of it this way; if it takes 2 minutes for a worker to move parts out of one basket and into another one, then 30 changes would be an hour of labor lost to container swapping.
How many times do your parts have to change baskets to finish the production process, and how many loads of parts do you make each day?
Since the act of swapping parts containers doesn’t provide any benefit to your process beyond allowing parts to be put through the next process, wouldn’t it be better to find a way to eliminate the need to change containers in the first place and save time?
In many cases, it is possible to create a custom tray or basket that is compatible with more than one type of equipment that you use for manufacturing parts. This saves time on switching containers. It also saves on factory floor space used for storing baskets since you’ll only need the one type instead of stocking multiple baskets that are each used with a single machine.
3: Improved Useful Life of Containers
One of the benefits of using a steel wire basket or sheet metal tray that has been customized for your manufacturing process is that a well-designed container will have a prolonged useful life.
There are a few reasons why a custom container might last longer than a stock container:
- Corrosion Resistance. The choice of materials used in the basket can significantly influence its resistance to any corrosives that might be used in your cleaning process. Stock baskets might not be designed to be resistant to the specific chemicals that your manufacturing process employs.
- Tensile Strength. A stock basket will be designed with a generic load limit in mind. However, your parts might exceed this limit, or place a significant amount of weight on a single point. Custom baskets can be designed to exceed the minimum tensile strength necessary to hold your parts, reducing the likelihood of a stress fracture occurring.
- Temperature Tolerance. While most forms of steel have a relatively high melting point compared to certain polymers, not all steel alloys will be able to safely hold parts through a heat treat process. A stock basket designed for general materials handling can lose its tensile strength when heated to a high enough temperature, causing the basket to weaken or deform. Custom baskets that take into account the temperatures your manufacturing process is run at can minimize this risk.
Even if you were to use a stock basket only for the specific piece of equipment it was built for, these baskets are not designed for maximum longevity. Instead, they’re often built to provide you with a basic container option for your new piece of manufacturing equipment without driving up production costs for the OEM.
Longer-lasting baskets can end up being more cost-effective than cheaper commodity ones if you factor in the cost of replacements over several years of use.
These are just three reasons to use a custom parts cleaning container over going with a stock model. Check out our other blogs to learn more about custom parts cleaning conteiners.