The aerospace parts manufacturing industry can be incredibly demanding. When parts have to operate perfectly in aircrafts moving faster than the speed of sound thousands of feet in the air, the slightest flaw can prove to be catastrophic.
This naturally leads to high parts rejection rates and long lead times on production projects as parts are continuously reprocessed or even remanufactured until they can meet the industry’s strenuous requirements. The aircraft parts cleaning process can be especially make-it-or-break-it for aerospace companies. From large-scale parts such as turbine blades to small-scale parts being washed in ultrasonic cleaning tanks to remove tiny pieces of debris, there is a significant risk of damage to aircraft parts and of contaminants being left on them.
Marlin Steel’s engineering team understands how tough the requirements for the aerospace parts manufacturing industry can be—and how to best meet or exceed those requirements. With years of practical experience in meeting the industry’s needs using custom steel wire forms, Marlin’s engineers can create the perfect custom basket for nearly any aerospace manufacturing application.
How do aerospace manufacturing companies benefit from using Marlin Steel’s custom wire baskets? Here are a few ways:
1: Reducing Parts Rejections
Marlin Steel manufactures custom wire baskets using advanced factory automation tools. Because these robots never get tired, sick, bored, or injured from doing the exact same motions repeatedly, they can make custom wire forms with a level of precision that manual labor simply can’t match. Every wire is bent at a consistent angle, cut at a consistent length, and welded perfectly in place.
This allows Marlin’s steel wire baskets to meet incredibly tight parts tolerances—which is incredibly important for baskets meant to hold aircraft parts in a specific layout. With millimeter-precise tolerances for baskets, an aerospace company’s own automated equipment can be used without worrying that one basket will hold a part an inch or two out of place (causing the machine to damage the part).
Also, Marlin’s engineers take surface condition requirements into account when making custom aircraft parts washing baskets. So, they will add semisoft coatings, dividers, and other design features as needed to prevent damage that leads to parts rejections.
2: Saving Floor Space
Many of the custom stainless steel baskets that Marlin makes for different aerospace companies are specifically designed to help save space on their factory floors. Marlin’s engineers can accomplish this in a variety of ways, such as:
- Making Baskets That Stack or Nest Together. One of the most common ways Marlin’s engineers ensure that a basket can save space when not in use is to make them able to stack on top of or nest within other baskets. The stacking option is most popular for baskets that need to sit while loaded with parts, while the nesting option is preferred for empty basket storage.
- Making Baskets Useful for Multiple Processes. Another way that Marlin’s engineers help clients save space on their factory floors is by making custom wire baskets that are useful for multiple processes. So, instead of having to stock three different baskets, they can use a single basket for three processes. This also helps to save time that would otherwise be wasted on transitioning parts from one wire basket to another for specific processes.
- Making Stainless Steel Carts to Carry Smaller Baskets. For smaller aircraft parts cleaning baskets, Marlin’s engineers often make stainless steel carts to carry the baskets between processes and store them when not in use. This not only saves some space by storing baskets vertically, it also makes them easier to move between processes.
With reduced floor space consumption comes more room for other equipment that can add more value to the manufacturing facility. Or, it could be left as open space to make traversing the factory faster and easier.
3: Getting Custom Wire Baskets Delivered Quickly
Marlin Steel’s engineering and manufacturing teams pride themselves on delivering “Quality, Engineered Quick®” to all of Marlin’s customers. Traditionally, manufacturing a custom metal form for aircraft parts cleaning or other applications would take months to complete.
The traditional process looks something like this:
- The engineer would design a basket—often based on a vague understanding of the application;
- The manufacturing team would make a prototype;
- The basket prototype would be shipped to the client for testing; and
- The next few weeks would be spent checking if the basket would meet their needs.
This process is slow and clunky. Plus, if the prototype didn’t work for any reason, the whole process would have to start again from scratch. Obviously, the months-long lead time this creates is less than ideal. So, Marlin worked to find ways to reduce the time needed for manufacturing and testing.
There are a few things that Marlin uses today that help to vastly reduce lead times for custom wire basket manufacturing:
- Custom Basket Questionnaires. Rather than building a basket with only a vague understanding of the process, Marlin’s design team asks specific questions about how the client’s manufacturing processes work and what their requirements are. This includes operating temperatures, dimensions of any equipment used to handle the basket, what chemicals the basket will be exposed to, and how the basket will be moved between processes. This information helps Marlin Steel’s engineers build a more compatible basket for clients’ aircraft cleaning supplies, tools, and processes.
- Finite Element Analysis (FEA) Software. FEA software allows Marlin’s engineers to put basket designs through a virtual physics simulation of the client’s aircraft parts cleaning and manufacturing processes. This allows the engineering team to evaluate the effects of different stress factors before ever committing a single inch of wire to the manufacturing process—and it only takes a few minutes, not a few weeks to complete. This allows Marlin’s engineers to complete several iterations of a design in mere hours instead of taking months. The engineering team will keep making revisions until they make a design that can take the stresses involved in the client’s process.
- Automated Manufacturing Robots. Once the design is finalized, it’s passed along to the manufacturing team, who then use that information to program a series of robots to handle the making of the basket. These robots can assemble the baskets in a fraction of the time it would take for manual labor alone while also meeting tight parts tolerances. This allows Marlin to make baskets faster while minimizing parts rejections that cause delays.
All told, Marlin Steel is often able to go from starting on a new design to shipping out a completed product in under two weeks—far less time than traditional assembly methods can match. Also, because the baskets are tested using FEA software prior to shipping, aerospace companies can rest easy in the knowledge that their baskets will have a long useful life.
Do you need a custom aerospace parts cleaning basket ASAP? Reach out to the Marlin Steel team today to get started.