Many manufacturers have to employ caustic chemicals as a basic part of their manufacturing processes. Acidic baths can help to sterilize parts and clean off tough manufacturing residues.
However, chemicals such as nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, and sodium hydroxide can be incredibly tough on your parts washing baskets. Plain steel simply won’t survive repeated exposure to acidic environments. Stainless steel can survive exposure to some corrosives, depending on the specific alloy used.
Extending the Useful Life of Wire Baskets by Choosing the Right Coating
To increase the survivability of parts washing wire baskets, many manufacturers employ specialized coatings for their baskets. However, choosing the right coating for your specific needs can be tricky.
Some coating materials are too porous to provide much protection for the basket frame; others might not be able to withstand the temperatures of your process.
The right coating can help improve your parts washing process and increase the useful life of your wire baskets by protecting them from the chemicals you use.
An Example of a Parts Washing Environment
Marlin Steel’s engineers frequently field questions about what options are best for parts washing baskets in different environments.
One question that a client had recently was:
What coatings would be suitable for baskets placed in the following environment?
- Nitric acid at 42 deg balm 3-5% mixed in methanol
- Hydrochloric acid 20 deg balm 4-6% mixed in methanol
- Sodium hydroxide min 12 pH 50% mixed in water
These solutions can corrode plain steel fairly quickly, and may even eat away at some stainless steels after prolonged or repeated exposure.
So, what coatings would be appropriate for manufacturing environments using these chemicals?
The answer is, “it depends on the temperature.”
For processes where the temperature does not exceed 300 degrees Fahrenheit, Chemours’ Tefzel® ETFE and Halar ECTFE are perfectly acceptable coating choices to protect against these chemicals.
Another choice that works well as long as the temperature never goes above 500 degrees Fahrenheit is perfluoroalkoxy, or PFA.
One popular coating that would not work at all here is nylon, especially because of the use of methanol in this environment.
Protecting Parts and Baskets in Different Environments
The above example is based on a single set of chemicals in a given wash process. Other manufacturing processes might introduce other chemical solutions that may place different stresses on your parts washing baskets.
Alternatively, there may be other environmental factors not directly related to your parts washing/finishing process that can affect your wire baskets and any coatings you use to protect them.
For example, Marlin once received a request for custom parts washing baskets from a manufacturer located in a seaside factory after the salt-enriched air had corroded the baskets they had ordered from a different manufacturer.
This is why it’s important for your custom parts washing basket maker to consider all of the environmental factors present in your manufacturing process when recommending a particular design. Without knowing the conditions on your manufacturing line, making the best basket to fit your needs is difficult.