Creating a Many-Chambered Basket for Ultrasonic Parts Washing

January 16, 2018 | Custom Wire Baskets, Wire Forms, Marlin Steel Case Studies, Parts Washing

This multi-chambered basket was ideal for washing large numbers of ultra-delicate parts at once.In ultrasonic parts washing, the design of the basket can have a significant impact on the efficacy of the whole process. A poorly-made or ineptly-designed basket can result in increased damage to parts in the wash process, less thorough cleaning (requiring rewashing of parts), or even parts getting lost in the ultrasonic cleaning equipment—which can damage both the equipment and the parts. Another potential issue is that ultrasonic parts washing baskets themselves may wear out after just a few uses because of the strong vibrations and surfactants that different ultrasonic cleaning equipment may use.

Numerous manufacturers that use ultrasonic cleaning processes have come to Marlin Steel in the past to get a new custom parts washing basket designed because of the above issues.

Recently, one customer came to Marlin Steel to get a custom ultrasonic cleaning basket to replace a previous design that was negatively impacting their parts.

What the Client Needed

In many ultrasonic cleaning processes, the parts are delicate enough to need to be kept separate from one another. This is because two parts in contact with one another during the intense vibrations of the cavitation process can cause scratches or even chipping as part surfaces repeatedly impact each other.

What was unique in this case was the sheer number of individually-stored parts that needed to be processed at once—56 parts in each basket. This meant putting many different divided sections into the interior of the basket.

The challenge here is that the more material there is between the ultrasonic transducer and the parts being cleaned, the less effective the ultrasonic cavitation process will be. Also, because the parts being washed were delicate and had a no-scratch requirement, the interior surfaces of the basket had to be coated in soft, absorbent PVC—which meant that more material had to be added over the frame.

Meeting the Client’s Needs with a Custom Wire Basket

Knowing the client’s biggest requirements (namely high capacity, no scratches to parts, and the need to maximize wash cycle performance), Marlin’s design team set to work creating a custom wire basket for ultrasonic cleaning.

The placement of the ultrasound transducer in the client’s cleaning system put it directly below the basket. So, the dividers separating the 56 chambers of the basket did not impair the ultrasound waves as much as they might have if the transducer was placed lateral to the basket. Because of this, the design team was able to minimize interference by using a fine wire mesh along the bottom of the basket that maximized open space.

Since the parts had to be absolutely protected from contact with hard surfaces, including other parts, the Marlin team decided to add sheet metal dividers to prevent parts from bumping into one another. The soft PVC coating covering the dividers and the frame of the basket itself would also help to prevent scratching during the cleaning process.

The same open space between the wires at the bottom of the basket would also allow the runoff from the cleaning process to drain away quickly and efficiently. This helped to prevent contaminants from resettling on the parts and facilitated quick drying after the wash cycle finished.

Because the weight of the held parts was so minimal, the wires used for the basket could be kept thin—the thickest wires were only 0.063” thick, while the sheet metal that made up the frame’s exterior were only 0.075” thick. This helped to minimize the thermal mass of the wire basket so the PVC coating wouldn’t be too thick and interfere with the ultrasonic cavitation process.

Once the design was completed, Marlin’s engineers put it through a battery of virtual physics simulations to make sure it could withstand the rigors of the client’s ultrasonic cleaning process.

Creating the best wire basket for any task requires detailed knowledge of the process the basket will be used in and what the primary goals of the process are. This is why Marlin Steel’s engineers begin every custom basket engagement with a questionnaire that asks for specifics like what the process is, what chemicals are being used, and other information specific to the client’s needs.

Have a parts finishing process with exacting requirements? Get a custom wire basket quote today!

Marlin Steel Ultrasonic Cleaning Baskets FAQ Guide