Scratches can be the bane of any manufacturing company’s existence. You’re at the factory, watching your assembly process go through its final phases, and when you inspect the parts load, it turns out that fully half of them have some sort of value or performance-ruining blemish or scratch on them that will prevent those parts from being fit for market.
Scratches on parts is a major contributing factor in the creation of manufacturing scrap, and can add a significant amount of cost to your manufacturing process, not to mention delay the time-to-market for your high-precision parts.
So, how can you reduce the occurrence of scratches on your ultra-delicate parts that cannot afford to have scratches?
Here are a few ideas to help you prevent scratches from occurring:
Keep Parts Separated During Finishing/Cleaning Processes
One of the most common causes of scratches to delicate precision parts is that they are left to float or rattle around loosely in their container during a parts washing or finishing process. This is particularly prevalent in the use of ultrasonic parts cleaning processes.
Picture the following scenario:
Parts are laid in a large, open basket with no dividers, the parts are laid out in a single layer so that no two parts are touching. However, once the ultrasonic cavitation process begins, the vibrations cause the parts to rattle around their container. The parts bounce into one another, and the contact, combined with the intense vibrations, causing the parts to damage one another.
While this type of damage isn’t exclusive to ultrasonic wash processes, it is more common in such a cleaning process.
Using parts washing baskets with dividers or that are custom-formed to hold parts securely during your parts finishing process can eliminate part-to-part contact scratches.
Check how Parts are Being Held in Your Cleaning Baskets
Keeping a part safe and scratch-free throughout your parts finishing/cleaning process takes just the right touch. Parts that are held in the basket the wrong way may develop problems.
For example, say that you have a set of parts that is being held too tightly with a lot of excessive material in the basket. Your cleaning solution won’t be able to reach the covered surfaces as easily, creating the risk that spots will develop in the finish where the parts was not thoroughly cleaned.
On the other hand, if parts are too loosely held, they run the risk of falling out of the basket and getting damaged.
This is why the way in which a basket holds parts is just as important as the material of the basket. With the right method for holding them, parts will remain securely in place inside the basket without keeping them from getting properly finished and without becoming damaged.
Use Automated Parts Finishing Machines
One of the best ways to eliminate minute surface flaws and ensure that a given part’s surface finish is as close to flawless as possible is to employ automated deburring equipment to polish your products.
For example, here at Marlin Steel, a Bütfering wide wet belt sander is used to provide a smooth, even finish for wire and sheet metal forms. With a large contact roller and two oscillating steel brushes, this machine excels at polishing the entire surface are of a parts, leaving nothing to chance.
Compare this to the way in which a manual laborer might work to finish parts. Instead of giving the whole steel form an equal, even polish, the manual laborer is more likely to simply pick and choose where he or she will apply effort on a form, leading to missed spots and scratches.
Using automation to regulate processes and make sure that each part you produce is treated equally can help to make sure that you have consistent, scratch-free results.
Rethink Your Parts Washing and Finishing Baskets
One of the common problems with any parts washing process is the stock baskets that came with the machinery you use to wash your custom parts. These baskets are often of a “one size fits all” design mentality, and cannot possibly account for all of the unique requirements of your parts or process as a whole.
To make sure that your parts can make it through your finishing process safely, it may be necessary to go back to the drawing board with your parts basket design. With the right basket, you will see a large reduction in the number of scratched parts coming off your production line, saving you time, money, and materials.
So, how can you optimize your parts washing basket to better serve your needs? Well, the answer is dependent on what your needs are. Here, seeking the assistance of a dedicated, experienced custom parts washing basket manufacturer can be a huge help.
Learn how others have protected their custom wire baskets by checking out our ebook below.